Stories from middle America

It was a Monday, and Mondays are my day to work from home. Working from home usually equals me makeup-less in my PJs, sipping coffee at my computer. So you can imagine my surprise when I received a compliment from a stranger when I ran an errand to the post office on a Monday. In drop-crotch sweatpants, no less.

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“Can I give you a compliment?” the man asked. “You are beautiful.” Of course, that simple statement took my breath away, but it also sparked a whole lot of thinking. Thinking about my style, my life and my fashion.

I believe a stranger complimenting me on a day I chose a mediocre outfit is the direct result of small steps I’ve been taking lately to really, truly like the person I’m dressing. Purposeful steps to make my style so much more than fashion.

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Let me elaborate a bit. I’ve always been one to stay up on trends in the fashion world. Not too terribly long ago, I used that as a shield. You know, “if I have that particular dress I will feel better.” But at the end of the day, the dress never really made me feel better. It was a Band-Aid.

I’m not exactly sure what sparked things in my mind to align toward loving myself. But something’s changed my North Star. My point. My point is now to be wholly myself and live my life with the intent to be exactly that. So dressing myself has become a decision to express myself, not my fashion knowledge. I’m growing into a better version of myself and the need for that dress just isn’t there. Because my point is different.

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Life is good and hard and confusing and often frustrating, but what amazing discoveries it asks us to unfold. So I’ll be damned if I’m remembered for my outfits. I want to be remembered for the style with which I wore them.

I can’t sum it up any better than Caroline de Maigret in a recent Harper’s Bazaar interview:

“Fashion gets boring to talk about after five minutes, but style is so much more. I can go on about style for hours. Style is everything — culture, your personality and what you do — that’s what makes style. It’s who you are and how you want to be perceived by others.”

Photos by Amanda Rucker

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