This week it’s all about ACCEPTANCE, and specifically SELF-ACCEPTANCE. I’m returning to the all important topic of how we OUT LOUDERS express ourselves, particularly through our appearance. This is because I’ve just been to see the wonderful documentary film hopefully showing at a cinema near you called ‘Advanced Style’
This movie should be required viewing for anyone who wants to understand what being OUT LOUD is all about.
So basically there’s this cool, very kindly, youngish guy who started photographing all these fantastic older ladies (many in their eighties and even nineties) in New York a) because they look so stylish and b) because everything about them flies in the face of convention.
And guess what? People loved it, couldn’t get enough of it; so the photos grew in to a blog and the blog grew in to a book and the book is now a film. And the whole thing now is like a movement!!
What’s it about these women that people are fascinated and inspired by?
For me it’s their refusal (and possibly inability), to be anyone they’re not combined with a serious lack of interest in ‘acting their age’. On the contrary they make a conscious choice every day to get up and express themselves. AND it seems to me, it’s not merely about dressing up – it’s more to do with creating art through their own style (they’re a bit like mobile installations) and very much about taking a stand against what society dictates older women are meant to look and behave like.
So they cut their hair short and funky and die it shades of orange and blue (hmm, thinking about it …). Make sure they wear delightfully eccentric hats with every outfit. Dress in bright, primary colours or cool, delicate pastels, mismatch wild fabrics and prints and adorn their wrists with colourful bangles made from the inside of toilet rolls. Show off the boldest of necklaces and the chunkiest of rings. They are uniquely themselves and most importantly – in fact this is the key – they fully accept themselves (one even said this was her philosophy for life – yep, these women are full of natural wisdom).
They simply don’t care if people disapprove of them but of course for the most part, people do not disapprove. They love them for their daring, insouciance and sheer joy to be alive. Not for these ladies, a cosy armchair, pair of comfy slippers and endless TV – these babes are having the time of their lives at vintage shops, bars and parties where they’re the guests of honour. One even collapsed on the front row of New York fashion week and subsequently died (but as one of her mates said, better that than being hooked up to a machine for weeks).
You don’t need to dress outrageously if that isn’t your thing of course – just be who you truly are, express yourself in a way that’s true for you. I’m sure there must be some folk who think those old ladies should dress more sedately (but maybe secretly wish they too had the confidence), and I daresay there’ll be some detractors for you as well. You better get used to it. Of course some people are going to be critical, think you should tone yourself down or you’re too much.
In fact, my advice is (and this is something I’ve found to be very helpful, deeply empowering and lots of fun), be more outrageous, laugh and talk louder, be more joyfully original, extravagant, extreme or provocative. Or if you’re an introvert or the quiet type, please, go further in to your shell, be quieter, more monosyllabic – what do you care if some people believe being quiet means being boring and unsociable? They just don’t understand how deep and interesting you are.
Bottom line is do your thing OUT LOUDERS, do your thing – accept yourself for who you are. And don’t apologise for it. Life is far too short for that kind of nonsense. And in the end no one will thank you for it.
Now over to you – are you ready to break out and do your own thing? What would that look like? Or maybe you’re already out there, busy being OUT LOUD and fully self-accepting. Tell us your experience, share a photo on the OUT LOUD Facebook page. The best one will win a free OUT LOUD coaching session where we can explore how to really push the boundaries and fully own who you are.