Monday, 26 December 2016

Confidence and Style

I hope those that celebrated the recent holidays have some beautiful memories to take with them into the new year, and I would like to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas!



With 2016 coming to an end, I wanted to end the year with a reflective post, on a topic that is very close to my heart. Character and confidence.

Body confidence is a beautiful thing, and I love seeing how many lovely pinups advocate for it. I support them whole-heartedly, but it's never been something I myself can speak out for as it is an area I still struggle with sometimes. There is an area of confidence, however, that I can speak out for with all of my being. Character.

In the retro community it is all too common to see women saying that they have been mocked and put down by strangers and even friends and family members. Sometimes these comments run along the lines of "nice costume" or "why are you so dressed up?" accompanied by a sneer. These comments are no doubt painful, and I am sorry to every lady out there who's experienced that nonsense. There are deeper comments that I've seen flung around though, and those are the ones I want to address today.

"Attention-seeking", "slutty", "showy" and "conceited" are all comments that are sometimes hurled your way when you truly make an effort with your appearance every day. It's funny, too, because to me, putting an effort into your appearance is actually a sign of respect. It says, you were worth the extra couple of minutes I took to do my hair and pick out my outfit.

I dress how I dress for me, and it's definitely not for random men or the cashier at the supermarket that I apply my daily swipe of red lipstick for. But I find that dressing well gives you an inner self confidence and is also pleasant to look at, no matter what your style may be, and is therefore respectful to those around you. It's the same reason why we don't show up to the office in flip-flops and why we dress up for special events - respect.

With the pinup style, you will probably find your character questioned often. Everyone takes selfies nowadays, but if you do it with a striking pose and some red lipstick, you must be conceited. If you post daily outfits for inspiration within the retro community, you must be up yourself. If you develop a love of baking and post photos of it, you must be seeking attention. When these comments are made, it is your character that others are calling into question, far beyond your appearance. And it hurts.

I've seen women say that their partners accuse them of trying too hard. That random men come up to them and ask them if they wore what they wore just for them. That women whisper they are trying to tempt their partners (what even is this line of thinking?!).That family members poke fun of them and accuse them of being "up themselves".

Gossip is something I've dealt with since my teenage years. I lacked confidence as a teenager but had a love for theatrical dress. I would dye my hair bright colours and apply deep lipsticks because I loved those things, but had trouble opening up at all with my peers. I also developed curves very early, and found I would end up with cleavage and a shapely rear in most things that I wore. Due to this combination of apparent stand-offishness and unique dress, "slut", "conceited" and other choice words were whispered behind my back and sometimes to my face. Teenagers can be awful. Hell, the parents of other teenagers can be awful too. This even continued into my adult years when I left my country for the man that I love and entered a completely foreign world with even less confidence than before.

You know what I held onto? My character. I aim to be loving, kind. and reliable. I will go out of my way for almost anyone. I love my children unconditionally and I strive to be humble. I put the needs of others before my own. I love science and philosophy. I try to learn something new every day. I question every one of my own actions and ask myself how I can improve and if I am being warm to others. I am the first shoulder to cry on and the last person to leave your side. And of course I mess up - oh do I mess up. Like we all do, because we are all human. But overall those are the characteristics I strive towards and constantly try to improve myself with. And that's something gossip can't touch, even when it tries to.

I grew into myself, because moving away from my family at 18 was hard, and it is through hardship that you grow. I have several beautiful friends whom I can rely on and be myself with, I am confident more days than not, and I know who I am as a person - and I went through a lot of pain and worked damn hard to get here. I am pleased to say I now get gorgeous people coming up to me and kindly complimenting my style. I have an inkling it's because I have children now, and they are able to see me interact with them and are therefore able to see beneath the dressy, high-heeled surface that is my everyday style to the person beneath. I find it humbling when people take the time out of their day to comment on what I thoughtfully put on that morning, and I've always paid these compliments to woman as well. Because we all love a little pick-me-up and every single woman deserves to hear something good about her :)

The fact of the matter is, the style of dress is largely artificial. There is nothing natural about it, and anyone can slap on false eyelashes and fluffy dresses. And I think in the retro community, we are well aware of this.
So I urge you ladies, as we head into a fresh new year - be kind. Be loving. Be true to yourself and let your depth of character shine. Make that your focus and please, don't let others tear you down. Wear your red lipstick. Post photos of the outfits you work so hard on. Go all out with your style whenever you damn well please. And through it all, reach out to others even when they are unkind, because you are an important human being and you are more than a style.
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4 comments

  1. Thank-you for sharing this blog post Miss Betty Doll!
    I myself at time lack self confidence at times and I'm a quite/reserved person, but dressing pinup/vintage inspired makes me feel happy and good about myself and helps with my confidence on a day to day basis. I don't "dress-up" for no-one but just for myself! :)

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  2. As one who was bullied growing up, both in school and at home, I related so much to your blog. I am lucky no one has been mean to me or said anything unkind, at least not to my face, but yet now being 50 my own inner voices have kicked into high gear...but that's a whole other subject. I truly enjoyed reading this. Thought provoking.

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  3. You are absolutely gorgeous, Bethany, and your little girls are so precious. You have such poise and grace, and you wear all of these designs so perfectly. Your photos are flawless. Thanks so much for sharing. Megan Lewis. xx

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