Remember the iconic catch cry of the 90s used by make-up brand Maybelline, ‘maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline?’. The catchy jingle was everywhere, cementing the brand in the minds of a generation. Along with the blue eye shadow caked on our lids even after days of frantic scrubbing.
If you’re too young to remember (go step on a Lego bless your cotton socks), today’s equivalent would go something like this – ‘maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s a filter’.
Either way, it simply means that “she might be naturally beautiful, but it’s probably make-up.”
While I have a problem with the underlying notion that a woman needs make up to be beautiful (for the record she doesn’t) when I apply the tagline’s main idea to style it makes a lot of sense.
One of the first questions I ask a new client is ‘what’s your biggest style challenge?’. I swiftly follow with a comprehensive list of ‘here are some I prepared earlier’ options for her to choose from. I also live for stay-at-home evenings when I can whip my trusty label maker out just for funsies.
Right then, moving on.
What is the answer that comes up time and time again when I ask this question?
Why can others achieve that put together look (that Maybelline look) when it seems so utterly impossible for me?
This is known as being StyleStuck (formal fashion physician diagnosis). A condition where you throw your hands up in defeat with anguished cries of ‘this style malarky is clearly not my bag and nothing I do will ever change that!’ while simultaneously shredding every useless copy of Vogue you’ve ever bought.
In her book, ‘Don’t Overthink It’ (which I highly recommend for all of my fellow over thinkers, who let’s face it, probably also own label makers), Anne Bogel explains that we won’t look for a solution to a problem if we don’t think one exists. Being StyleStuck means that you believe there is nothing that can be done to improve your perceived lack of put togetherness so that you give up on developing your style, instead thinking that you’re doomed to a life of sartorial sorrow.
Applying the Maybelline thinking however, my response to such woeful cries is this; maybe others are born with style, but it’s much more likely they value style as the life tool it is and have therefore spent time, money and effort creating a style and wardrobe that reflects them beautifully and serves them well.
Thinking like this, your mindset shifts from that of lack; lack of innate style, lack of ability, lack of solution to recognising that you have the power to change. You might lack the ability to be put together stylish right this very second, but you can do something to change that. You understand that style isn’t some unattainable superpower possessed by otherworldly fashionistas. Instead, you know that getting your style unstuck is not only possible but absolutely guaranteed, if you’re prepared to do the work.
And that my lovely is where the magic happens. Once you know you can get the Maybelline look, you can begin to explore how.
Now that might mean working with a personal stylist (pick me, pick me). Or it might simply be:
- taking the time to check in with your wardrobe (ideally separating warm season clothes from cold season clothes) and discard 5 pieces you don’t wear;
- asking yourself what role you want colour to play in your wardrobe?Major or minor? Perhaps for some occasions and settings only? Same goes for print and pattern; or
- choosing 2-3 outfits/looks you adore (taking inspiration from the ‘put together’ set) and shopping intentionally for one of them (yes that includes shoes and accessories).
Big or small, the next step you take is the one that will move you from feeling StyleStuck and lacking the ability to find your personal style and wardrobe solution and wholeheartedly believing in your undeniable style potential.
You might even find that by adopting this approach you’ll experience something like Maybelline’s current day tagline (makeup that works as hard as you do) as it applies to your style and wardrobe. Bring it!
Hi, I’m Nicole, and I’m a personal stylist obsessed with helping women in business and corporate roles to experience effortless, stylish dressing, allowing them to stand out for all the right reasons. I bring strategy, solutions and expertise to my clients. I fully understand the challenges women face when trying to achieve a wardrobe that actually works and I take the pain out of shopping for clothes and deciding what to wear. I transform something that feels fraught and complex into a streamlined solution expertly tailored to you.
Cover Image credit: Fi Mims Photography