By: Allison McClintick
The other night over cocktails, my friend and I were discussing how clothing can change how you feel. Interestingly, she almost fell out of her chair — gushing over the glorious power trip of a perfectly tailored suit. She smiled slyly at me, sharing her glorious secret; that the suit made her feel like a bad ass.
I really couldn’t share her enthusiasm.
There are few things in life I detest more than wearing a suit. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration. But not by much. What you wear, should be an extension of your personality. If you feel powerful in a suit, it should follow that it fits your personality (and you are not trying to compensate for something else).
The suit “thing” just does not follow for me.
One thing I have learned, when it comes to clothing that helps you feel confident and empowered — it is not a one-size fits all solution.
I have spoken in front of thousands of people. Once or twice, I have been criticized for not wearing a traditional jacket (ironically, by other women). I intentionally stopped wearing them because when I did, I felt uncomfortable — a little like a fraud. I was actually physically uncomfortable, like a child trying to pass as an adult. It totally threw me off. My brand and my message said something totally different than what I was wearing.
Formal career wear? It just doesn’t suit me. I’ve instead opted for dressy jeans and a much for forgiving form of the “jacket” (No complaints yet. See a couple of anti-suiting options below). I let potential clients know this is how I present myself, from the start.
It is no surprise that formal suiting doesn’t work for me. I’ve been an athlete all my life. I’ve played soccer for 30 years and when exercising, I’m already planning my next workout. I practically live in yoga pants — immediately putting them on when I get home. You can only imagine my euphoria over “athleisure” earning a permanent place in the trend world.
For those of us who are dedicated athleisure fans — we know that it isn’t just a trend — it’s a lifestyle. It represents active living, a casual sense of adventure. I like to think it represents a natural sense of confidence. However like anything, there needs to be balance. In my Atheleisure efforts of yesteryear, I may have looked a bit too casual. In the last few years, I’ve evolved to choose functional, flattering options.
Flattering and functional do cost more — just as it would with a well cut suit. If your mid-weight jogging/errand jacket gives you hypothermia in a rain shower in late June, you’ve missed the mark. Brand up. I have my favorite, classic brands. However, there are many new brands jumping into the mix — many with a social conscience — that will help you feel better about spending $100 to knock around town.
Bottom line: Choose what you wear for every situation with intention. Whether at work or play.
Explore quality options that fit you and serve you well. Be mindful of your contextual expectations; however, compromising your unique brand should not be an option. You won’t feel right, you won’t “seem” right and life is too short to feel uncomfortable.
If you’re feeling the Atheleisure vibe (as I do), I’d like to share a couple of favorite brands to try. Those mentioned, qualify as brands you should love & respect.
Be your own woman. Be yourself. Feel empowered to be you.
Athleta. With a refreshed commitment to sustainability, fair trade and empowering women, Athleta provides a wide array of items that could be worn at work or play. We’ve picked a couple of jacket alternatives. They also have a travel line — that can take you just about anywhere. Find it here.
Sweaty Betty. I love this brand’s versatility and classic sense of style (with an edge). A real plus — they support the Movemeant Foundation, a non-profit designed to address women developing a positive body image. Find their site here:
Have a favorite athleisure brand that gives back? Share it in comments.
Allison McClintick is a seasoned coach & speaker — specializing in influence and consciousness development. She’s a Mom of 2 (20 years & 6 years), a ridiculously talented house painter, lover of quantum physics and is currently pursuing a PhD in Psychology. To balance all that life, work and play — she’s attempting to “think” more effectively with practiced meditation. She’ll keep us updated.
Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from running a company — to the perfect gift. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.