By Maria DiLorenzo, Founder & CEO of MFD Style
As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, I’m reflecting on the powerful opportunity we women have to leverage our wardrobe to strengthen not just our rightful position in the world, but how we express and feel about ourselves, too.
As a wardrobe consultant and personal stylist, I have spent countless hours with women who are facing the conundrum of what to wear and how to make their wardrobe work for their lives. I have discovered the missing link in that equation often is the disconnect women feel between understanding who is their authentic self and the expression of that self in how they dress. Far too many of us are walking around with the weight of others’ expectations on our shoulders.
We get dressed for how we are “supposed” to look under any given circumstance: in the boardroom, out to dinner, with our friends, or among our families.
I see the social norms that place pressure on our wardrobe choices so that we may fit in, be accepted, and ultimately not cause too much of a ruckus wherever we go. Many women know the feeling of playing small so we don’t take up too much space in a room- whether that’s physically speaking or in the attention we command. It’s no wonder that women often feel not good enough about who we are.
Women have faced centuries accommodating norms, especially in our wardrobe choices. And there is a great bias against women especially in how we dress. Dressing as our authentic selves, in whatever expression of that identity we rightfully own, means that we have to let go of how we are “supposed” to look and claim our individual expression. That might mean releasing any feminine and masculine constructs that exist about clothing, and seeing how we dress as an opportunity to reflect our truest selves.
It also means we give ourselves permission to be who we are created to be.
When I meet with my clients, I try to help them see the power and responsibility of sharing their unique, beautiful, individual selves with the world. Women need more space to demonstrate our vibrancy and impact. Imagine if we could break this bias of “shoulds” and reveal a society of women who leverage their clothing choices to reflect their authentic selves. This kind of authenticity breeds confidence and belief in self, which opens the doors to new, powerful ways we can contribute to society as a whole.
This year, instead of placing the power in the hands of someone else to decide how you should show up in the world, take control of your choice.
Find and wear a wardrobe that fully expresses YOU so that we can experience a world of women who know and love themselves. And if you ever need help in this process, I am just a message away.
About the Author, Maria DiLorenzo
Maria DiLorenzo is the Founder and CEO of MFD Style, a Boston-based wardrobe consulting business. For the last 15 years, she has educated and guided those who seek to make a stronger connection between their self-presentation and self-love, and with her intuitive styling approach, she has helped hundreds transform into the best version of themselves by leveraging their wardrobe to reflect this insight. After nearly 20 years of leading a wide variety of public gatherings, workshops, seminars, webinars, and trainings in both nonprofit and corporate settings, she now speaks about the intersection of psychology, spirituality, and style in her podcast, Above & Beyond Style. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Loyola University, New Orleans and a M.A. in pastoral ministry from Boston College.
See her business website here.