Style principle - remember the "toos"...
I was listening to a Facebook Live the other day where my good friend and stylist colleague E'Beth Goad (currently residing in Washington DC) was being interviewed about a wide range of style topics, one of which was holiday dressing.
During the interview, E'Beth shared a style principle that I hadn't heard outlined this way before, but with which I agree wholeheartedly. I believe she referred to it as the "too" principle.
Here is the gist:
Try not to wear anything too short, too tight, or too busty.
You get the idea. Actually, you can fill in the blank and add your own response after the too...
While I think this is good to have on our radars any time of year, it is particularly helpful when planning outfits for holiday soirees (particularly if they are work-related!).
We are all so different. So, what may feel short to one person might feel completely fine to another. Same applies for the other toos.
But, here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to this principle to help stay on track and be our most confident in what we wear:
If that voice in your head EVER wonders, "is this too...?" - then, chances are, it is!
We all have that inner voice that we rely upon when making day-to-day decisions. Our gut feeling or intuition. This is also important to be in tune with when it comes to getting dressed. If you find yourself wondering "is this too...?" when it comes to a particular garment, the answer is probably yes. Trust your instinct.
But what if I want to hi-light one of the areas that fall under the "too" principle?
I tell my clients all the time that getting dressed is about creating optical illusions. We can easily distract from areas that aren't our favourite and draw attention to those we feel good about. Love your legs? Then go ahead and wear a short skirt. But, then maybe consider keeping the remainder of the look more covered up. Like the look of some cleavage? If the environment suits, go for it. The rule isn't saying none - just be careful to to tread into the too zone - you will know it when you are there, because you'll start to ask yourself (or your friends, significant others etc.). Work hard for your figure and want to show it off with a form fitting garment? You deserve to - but maybe consider balancing out by having one part of the outfit be less structured. Or, make sure the fabric lends itself to a flattering look.
I also tell my clients that what we wear should make us feel happy. So, remember, these are just guidelines. My #1 goal is for you to LOVE what you wear - and then you will feel (and exude) confidence.
If you are already questioning or fiddling with a garment in the store or at home - it's probably a no.
Guaranteed if you are feeling uncertain about whether a piece falls within the "too" zone, you are going to feel a little self-conscious. We've all been there, so I know you know what I am talking about! If you are feeling uncomfortable, you are likely to fiddle and pull at what you are wearing. That is not enjoyable - and it's a tell-tale sign that you aren't feeling confident.
Have a piece that you adore but feel it is looking too short? Consider pairing with opaque tights and a flat boot (such as combat or knee-high style). Love a top but when you look in the mirror you realize it's more cleavage than you are game to share? There are so many layering options. I am not suggesting you get rid of everything if it is in or straddling the "too" territory, but it might be time to get creative so you can wear those pieces with confidence.
My own "too" example:
My "too" area that is always on my radar: too much cleavage. If you know me, you know I go to great lengths to ensure that this zone is well concealed as I feel I am fairly busty for my frame. So, keeping that in mind, when I purchased this new top; I opted for a shimmery blouse with a neck tie detail to add some extra coverage to that area. I feel so much more comfortable (and also have the lace cami for backup), yet enjoy that there is an illusion of some skin being shown and a sense of lightness in the fabric. Like I said, getting dressed is all about creating those optical illusions for ourselves so we can feel our most comfortable and confident.
It's important to note that my version of "too much" cleavage for me, might feel completely too covered up to someone else styling the same top. They may tie it differently or skip the cami. It is all comes down to our own personal style and that gut feeling as to what feels most "us".
Keep listening to that inner voice/intuition and I promise you'll keep yourself from wandering into that dreaded "too" territory far less often!
PS: I was so lucky to finally meet my stylist friend E'Beth in person this past summer in Philadelphia - for more fun tips/principles like this - be sure to give her a follow, you won't be disappointed!