Carolyn Hax: Trusting her style after lifetime of dressing for others

Tailored from a web-based dialogue.

Expensive Carolyn: How do I determine what *I* like? Rising up my tiny-sized female mother purchased garments for me that didn’t work for my plus-size physique or my masculine tastes. As a teen I attempted to do my very own factor however obtained instructed my look would give folks the mistaken concept, make academics hate me, and so on. In faculty I needed to gown proper to get an internship and a job. At work I needed to gown to make shoppers belief me.

So now I’m 45, one hundred pc working from dwelling. For the primary time in my life, I can gown solely to please myself, however I don’t know the way to do this. Any ideas find out how to determine for myself what works, choose what I like, and (the actually laborious half) belief the selections I make? Possibly that is actually a confidence drawback?

Nameless: It might be, certain, while you’ve had it drilled into you that you just and your tastes are mistaken or don’t matter, it may be laborious to tune that voice out, even while you wish to. Plus, there’s a cascading impact: You study to doubt your self, so your ear is skilled to select the messages that verify how mistaken or inappropriate you’re. Possibly you bought encouraging messages, too, however couldn’t consider these compliments or belief their supply.

Consciousness is Step 1 to counteract this brainwashing. For Step 2, I counsel emotional and retail assist from remedy, which could take a while to arrange, and an expert stylist. The latter contains too many choices to checklist, and I feel the emotional assist is paramount, however on-line companies, some departments shops, native professionals and punctiliously filtered social media all could be assets.

Possibly begin in particular person, although, for the arrogance enhance from somebody who sees the way you look. And nevertheless potential, make this enjoyable. Discover somebody who will play dress-up with you: the particular person all of us want generally.

· Oh, I want we had been associates, I’d like to buy groceries with you! Please don’t stress your self to seek out The One True Type for the remainder of your life. I just lately transitioned from very conservative work clothes to one thing extra enjoyable, and had some hits and misses. Do you’ve a trendy buddy whose opinion you belief, who desires that can assist you discover what YOU like? May you wander by a division or thrift retailer and simply attempt random issues on?

Expensive Carolyn: How can I determine if issues I’ve skilled qualify as “trauma?” I used to be (fortunately) by no means assaulted or abused, however I’ve had some whammies that rocked my world, and never in a great way.

I don’t wish to dilute the very actual traumatic experiences others have had by claiming one thing in my historical past was traumatic when it doesn’t stay as much as that description. I additionally don’t wish to dismiss a number of the experiences I’ve had as mere difficulties, since they nonetheless have an effect on me. Sure, remedy has helped me with plenty of it, however there’s at all times extra lurking.

Traumatized?: Trauma just isn’t comparative or zero-sum. That somebody endured one thing worse doesn’t imply you didn’t undergo one thing unhealthy. If you’re struggling, then get the assist you to suppose you want. No definitions or self-diagnoses crucial: “X occurred, and I nonetheless really feel Y.”

Preventively, I might urge staying off social media until you’re extra assured in your plan to unrock your world. Its “How are you going to say X is unhealthy when Y is so clearly worse!!!” tradition is hard on the rattled soul.

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