I’m not even sure how I came to follow Stasia Savasuck on Instagram. Maybe because she also enjoys thrifting? Or she’s a mom? Or she sees the world though a haze of positivity? I like her posts and how she approaches life. I like her style, which is a combo of fun, pretty and comfortable. I like that she feels confident in a bikini.
Back in August, she mentioned in an Instagram post that she was practicing for her upcoming Ted Talk. I made a mental note to check it out… and now that I’ve watched it I must ask you to check it out too.
So now I want to take you on a little ‘personal style’ journey of my own.
I remember trying SO HARD to fit in with the cool kids when I was in middle school and high school. I would meticulously choose a ‘cool’ outfit, but then feel like an imposter all day long. I’d be scared to dress too different. Too shy to overdress for an occasion in case I was teased. Or accused of trying to be ‘all that’ or thinking too highly of myself. Which is kind of hilarious in retrospect, considering we all probably felt like outcasts. I basically lived in jeans, t-shirts and a flannel.
It was the early 90’s, a flannel was practically mandatory.
In college I did a total 180 and dressed to be different. I streaked my hair with crazy colors (my favorite was purple), wore homemade red glitter Birkenstocks or big black Doc Martens (which I still have), pleather pants (which I do NOT still have), miniscule tops that showed off my flat tummy (RIP flat tummy). I didn’t fit in, but it was on purpose. By the way, in case you were wondering… pleather pants are not comfortable. FYI.
When I first started working in an office after college, I remember being really confused on what to wear to work. My first job was a casual office, so that was pretty easy. T-shirts and jeans. Boring, but effective.
From there, I went to work at a government-ish job, where I was the Director of Communications and Marketing. It was a great position and I even had my own office with a window. The only mentors I had to look up to were men. Men in suits. Most of the ladies I worked with dressed very conservatively. So I also dressed conservatively. I wore a lot of Banana Republic. My boss at the time would pit me and another woman of a similar age and position against each other. It was exhausting. She was more ‘finance’ to my ‘marketing’… so I felt like I had to tone down any kind of personality in my outfits to better compete with her.
Then, I served as the Marketing Director at an accounting firm for 6 years. Every single partner at the firm was a man. A man in a suit. A BORING suit. I wore mostly trousers and blouses, because I felt like I looked professional without drawing too much attention to myself. I had to fight for every ounce of respect I could at that job and wearing a pretty skirt or dress was like putting a target on my back. Being a marketing brain where everyone else has an accounting brain sucks. I can’t tell you how many meetings I’d have where I’d present an idea and basically get a pat on the head because girls are cute when they use big words. I overcompensated by keeping any happiness under wraps. Which included my wardrobe. They wanted me to be a peppy cheerleader, so I doubled-down with being as professional and closed off as possible.
Getting laid off from that job was probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me – both personally and professionally.
For the past almost 7 years I’ve worked in higher education. My job is in Part Time MBA admissions with a focus on external marketing and social media. Working at a university is awesome… people are open minded and supportive. I need to dress professionally, but I’m no longer squished into a conservative box.
Only over the past few years have I gotten confidence in my style. Ironically that was after I became a mom. Or maybe being a mom helped me realize that I’m setting an example for a little person.
I finally understand that I am a happier person when I wear something that I love. Sure, sometimes that is jeans and a t-shirt with studded motorcycle boots. But if I have a big presentation at work, you’d better believe I’ll have on a dress. I feel confident in a dress. I feel professional in a dress. And at the age of 41, I can say I also feel smart in a dress. And if someone wants to underestimate me because they think me wearing a dress makes me flighty or dumb… well, that’s their problem.
It’s freeing in a way.
Perhaps a part of it is age. I’m confident in my abilities and happy with myself. It also helps that I finally figured out what looks good on me and my body shape. It’s not about changing myself to fit into a particular item. Now, if something doesn’t work for me… it’s just not for me.
The point is, it doesn’t matter if you wear a dress, jeans and a t-shirt, or a button-up shirt and bow tie. Wear what makes YOU feel happy and most like YOU!
So if you haven’t already, set aside 17 minutes to enjoy Stasia’s Ted Talk.
And I’ll leave you with this:
“Style isn’t really about the clothes. It’s about who you are on the inside and how you choose to show up in the world” – Stasia Savasuk