Listen to Isaac and Yourself, Come As You Are


Photo of inside Isaac Mizrahi's How to Have Style book..."This is the best style advice I can give."

Isaac Mizrahi has a great quote (as well as fantastic advice and makeovers) in his book How to Have Style – “Be comfortable in your own skin.  That’s the first rule.”  I love this quote because it has everything to do with developing one’s style.

After years of avoiding Mary Kay parties, a friend of mine decided to become a consultant.  In support of her pursuit (and her upcoming vacation), I attended her first party and opted to host a party.  I walked away with two great things – the discovery of their eye shadow, which comes in a huge array of colors, goes on like butter and stays on and in place all day, and the incredibly simple and effective “policy” of only saying nice things about ourselves.  This policy immediately connected with me and another practice I have been trying to honor for several years, which is to only project positive things about myself.

I wish I could remember who gave me this idea about being more conscious about how we project ourselves.  It was a woman, of course.  And I want to say it was a comedienne…  Regardless, when I paid attention, it was surprising how many times I would catch myself about to casually say “I’m so stupid” or “I can’t believe I almost did X…” or “I feel so fat today.”  The woman’s theory about this is that we weaken ourselves when we say these things – to ourselves and to others.  This was a huge revelation and has not only made me conscious of myself, but has made me sensitive to when others do it.  It almost makes my ears bleed when I hear women do this to themselves.

On the one hand, you might think this forces us to mask ourselves, like a veneer.  But I look at it as focusing on the positive allows us to be more inclined to be proud of who we are and where we’re at (a.k.a. acceptance).  And hopefully, by looking at ourselves in this light, we’ll be able to look at other women with the same mindset and be happy for who they are and where they’re at.

The other aspect I naturally relate to Isaac’s quote is clothing size.  It’s SO easy to wish we were a smaller size.  But when I think back to when I was much thinner – I distinctly remember being able to fit into a size 3 skirt from Express in high school (it was black with huge red flowers and white polka dots…I wore it ALL the time) and a great pair of size 4 lined linen green pants from The Gap I fit into when I worked at Fallon – I never thought I was thin.  Did you catch that?  NEVER.

Currently I have and wear a mix of three numeric sizes.  I like that I can fit into the smaller size but it’s also important to remember that every brand is cut differently.  When I go into the dressing room nowadays, I usually bring in two sizes of everything.  Sometimes because I feel more confident and sometimes because I’m not as confident.  By doing this, I know if a certain piece of clothing will definitely not fit because if I can’t get one of two sizes to fit, it’s not going to happen.  If one of them does fit, I’m satisfied.  And if one is large and the other fits, hooray!

You may think I’m playing mind games..I like to think of it as setting myself up to be successful.  When I can focus on whether something fits, the size factor falls away.

I feel like we need to set up meditation mantras with things like “size is just a number” and a non-creepy/desperate version of SNL Stuart Smalley’s “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”  On that note, have a great day as you are!

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3 Responses to “Listen to Isaac and Yourself, Come As You Are”

  1. teahon Says:

    Your comments about women putting themselves down strikes a chord with me. I had the same revelation recently when watching the TV show “Chopped” on the food network. After watching several episodes I noticed that almost all of the female contestants pretty much talked the judges out of voting for them. They would say things like, “I know it’s not my best…,” “It didn’t turn out how I wanted…,” “I’m glad you like it but I really meant to do something else…,” etc. It drove me crazy and I would find myself yelling at the TV, “Don’t sabotage yourself!” And most of the male chefs would defend the worst pile of unfinished crap with unflinching bravado.

    But then at work I started catching myself putting myself down or prefacing my ideas with, “maybe this is stupid but…”. Argh! My new mantra is: Don’t be one of those female chefs on “Chopped”.

    But it’s really hard to stop doing it because it’s so second nature. Where does that impulse come from?

  2. Jen Says:

    I try to catch myself saying these kinds of things, and it’s remarkable how many times I do it considering I work at home, alone. I still talk myself out of myself{(if that makes any sense) see, I did it again}. I’m all for affirming ourselves but I refuse to act like Stuart Smalley or Al Franken for that matter.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. fabuliss Says:

    teahon: The impulse likely comes from everywhere – the movies, the people around us, the tv, how we were raised… I really hope that we can take ourselves more seriously and think it’s tremendous that you are ahead of the game in terms of being aware of it and listening for it!

    Jen: Agreed, no veneers, no fakey-fake, no apologies. See how you feel when you hear others do it to themselves. Then consider an approach that works for you. Feel free to stop back and tell us about it…or better yet, tell your readers (which includes me!).

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