One day, about nine years ago, I was browsing through a local boutique and I discovered a gorgeous backless dress. It fit me beautifully and was totally stunning.
I wasn’t sure where I would wear it, because back then, my usual wardrobe was mom jeans and cardigans. But I just knew, “I need this dress.” So I bought it and tucked it away in my closet for “someday.”
On the night of my husband’s annual company Christmas party, I decided: “Tonight’s the night.” I pulled out the backless dress and slipped it on.
Short version of the story: my husband Scott had a CORONARY. He did not want me wearing “that dress” in public because he thought I looked “too sexy” and would attract unwanted attention from the other men at the party.
I wore the fucking dress anyway and I told my husband that I was wearing the dress FOR ME and not FOR MEN.
Because… there’s a big difference.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting your partner to think you are sexy as hell. There’s nothing wrong with wanting complete strangers on the street to think you are sexy, for that matter! But first, you must be desirable to yourself. You have to like you. You have to want you. You have to dress to delight yourself, first.
If your self-esteem is based solely on male admiration and other people’s approval, there’s going to be a problem. Self-esteem has to be anchored deep inside of you. Admiration from other people is just icing on the cake.
Here’s a visual that I love:
Imagine that your self-esteem like a glass of champagne. You can fill the entire glass up to the top by yourself, for yourself. Then if other people praise you, admire you, think you’re cute, sexy, beautiful, etc., then whoo hoo! Bonus champagne for you! Now your glass is overflowing. But it was already completely full before. You didn’t “need” external admiration in order to fill up your glass. You did that for yourself already.
All of this is to say… ladies: please feel free to wear whatever the hell you want. Wear baggy jeans, yoga pants, a low-cut top, a button-down blouse, a completely over the top evening gown, high heels or your old, cozy Ugg boots. Dye your hair, or don’t. Wear glossy lipstick, or don’t. Get a boob job, or don’t. Get tattooes, or don’t.
Decorate your body any damn way that you like.
But however you decide to adorn yourself, first and foremost, do it for YOU.
P.S. I will NEVER FORGET the day that my teenage daughter Emily got scolded by an older man (her friend’s dad) for wearing red lipstick. “You’d be so much prettier without it,” he told her in a condescending tone, obviously trying to be “helpful.” She looked him straight in the eye and said, “I am not wearing it for YOU.” Ohhh snap! That’s my girl!!! #SoProud