Dressing Your Sovereign Self

I opened my email the other day to find a substack article by Elise Loehnen that stopped me in my tracks. It was titled ‘On Beauty. Do you feel invisible?’  (Here’s the link to her substack account)

Within it was the following …

“When is our appearance self-expression and when is it a coerced performance? Do I dress for myself, or for everyone else?” ~ Elise Loehnen

Such wise questions from a wise woman. Yes, I have an author crush on this woman. If anyone hasn’t read her book On Our Best Behaviour, the price women pay to be good, I highly recommend it. It resonated so strongly with me and felt like she was pulling out the deliberations in my mind and exploring them as if we were in conversation together.

The question of ‘performance’ in what we wear comes up a lot in the Wearing Your Worth® work I do with women in their wardrobes. I am curious, have you ever thought about whether you are dressing to express yourself or do you dress to perform for others?

When we use our clothes in a performative measure, we give our power away to the perceived daily audiences we are tailor ourselves to. We may look for acceptance, to fit in, to stand out, to belong.  We will all have our own versions of these. And it puts our power outside of ourselves. It diminishes our own sense of self, and makes other’s responses to us vital to our own self-acceptance.

Why do we do it?

We are constantly surrounded by messages of how we need to look and what beauty is. Highly questionable ideas most of the time, if you ask me, with standards set by those who are placed to prosper from our insecurities and hankering to adhere to an attractiveness, that we are encouraged to use as a currency for our worth in this life.

Beauty is not something that we get out of a homogenised vending machine, or it shouldn’t be. It is a personal expression that we can celebrate as we shines our light out into the world.

What if we were to come back to what true beauty is … it ignites a feeling in us, like seeing the beauty of a sunset, you know that feeling inside? Now that is beauty … the feeling of love within as we witness our own or others true nature.

When we dress to fully embody our sovereign selves from the inside out, then dressing is a self-honouring and empowering artful experience that celebrates and expresses our authentic and abounding beauty.

So, how do we disentangle from this outward perception of beauty and dress to embody the beautiful essence of who we really are?

  1. The most effective and reliable way of doing this is to use the Wearing Your Worth® method and dressing in your Style Essences (three aspects that describe and embody your own personal style attributes). These Style Essences reflect your heart and soul. They are unique to you and go beyond the subconscious imprints and stories you’ve picked up along the way. When you combine each of your Style Essences into your outfits, kapow! You come alive and aligned in your clothes and beauty like never before.

*If you haven’t done the Wearing Your Worth® method yet, the next couple of points are designed to help you explore patterns that may be keeping you stuck in dressing for others.

  1. Bring awareness to the patterns that have lodged within your psyche, governing the choices of what you wear. Try this: standing in front of your wardrobe, as you are about to get dressed, become still and super quiet. Listen to the voices within as you think about what to wear and take note of any common themes. Are you looking to hide in your outfits? Are you looking to play small so as not to intimidate others? Are you hoping to be seen and looking for items that will make you stand out? Is the major commentary about the shape or size of your body?

It’s important not to make any of the voices you hear wrong. That would only give your ego more ammunition to disconnect further from your own self-love. You are just looking for information.

  1. Ask yourself … who’s voice is that in my head? Where did it come from? Have I borrowed it from someone else’s viewpoint, or have I ever questioned its validity?

Note what your answers are, and I suggest writing them down. Allow yourself to be curious about what trickles in to your thoughts. If you are up for it, challenge yourself to go beyond the inner murmurings and choose something that might feel like it is reaching beyond one of the pesky voices.

Let me know what you discover.


Sarah x