Since the beginning of February, I’ve been involved in another challenge. (no, not surviving the weather, that is a circumstantial challenge, I mean one I chose for fun.) It’s an Instagram closet/wardrobe challenge called Style Me February, (you can follow the hashtag #StyleMeFeb) hosted by Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society.
Hilary is a Broadway performer turned personal stylist and entrepreneur in New York who is classy, practical, sweet, creative and has mega hustle to make things happen. Or, to pretty much sum it up in two words, she embodies her sign off from all her blog posts and emails - Grace & Gumption.
I was introduced to Hilary a few months ago through working with Sarah Jenks, and the more I learned about Hilary, the more impressed I was at how she did things. I admit at first I was a little skeptical. At very first glance, I presumed she was only about “Fashion”, a concept that in my head in the past has seemed like maybe a nice idea but some sort of combination of unreachable, unpractical and kinda fake, as well as being some big corporate scheme to make me feel bad about myself for not being able to fit into, afford and/or keep up with the latest styles.
Quickly I realized that Hilary is all about fashion in the sense of wearing what makes you look and feel good, that you can afford. She’s about investing in your self worth and not forgetting to have a sense of play and adventure when it comes to getting dressed. When you look good and put together, you feel that way. It’s fashion for empowerment as opposed to trying to fit in.
Plus Hilary is super smart & brave in business, and generous with creating community and sharing what she has learned. And sometimes she even dances! :)
So every month she hosts a Style Me challenge on Instagram, with little prompts for each day and the idea not to go out and buy things to meet the challenge (unless the daily theme points out a hole in your wardrobe you’d really like to fill), but really to use what you have and see if maybe you can remix your closet, or if you don’t have something that fits the prompt, to even choose perhaps to do the opposite for that day, or just skip it.
I’d seen a few of my Instagram friends doing the Style Me challenge in previous months, and yet still kind of thought it wasn’t quite my thing. I did a Gratitude challenge on Instagram during the month of November that I absolutely loved, and a little bit of a winter self-care style one in December that kind of fizzled out for me with holiday stuff but I still enjoyed the days I did. Somehow by the time February rolled around it seemed like maybe, what the heck, I’ll give this Style Me thing a try. While February has the least number of days, it feels like running a marathon to get through the worst part of winter, so having something fun and different to do seemed like a good idea.
I didn’t do every day of the challenge, but I did a lot of them! And a funny thing happened that I didn’t at all expect. At first I was feeling a little awkward about posting photos of myself, afraid that maybe it was too vain. But somehow between the encouraging compliments I got, both online and from people out and about who didn’t even know I was doing the challenge and also just actually seeing myself on a daily basis, something shifted in my mind. To more of a “Oh hey, maybe I am kinda put together and pretty. Even on the days I’m just wearing my Target t-shirts and Wal-Mart work pants. I still choose them and my accessories with awareness.” On the day I wore red lipstick to work with a really old t-shirt and head scarf I’ve worn a million times, I got SO many compliments about how I looked radiant, pretty, glowing, etc. And I swear, the only thing different about that outfit was the lipstick!!
So I went in thinking it was going to be a fun distraction for the month, and I came out with a major boost of self confidence! I call that powerful stuff! Style Me March starts today, and I’m thinking that I will definitely be participating again, if not every day, at least on the days that I need a little extra boost! Thanks Hilary!