Can confidence come from the outside in?

Thanks so much for chatting with us today! Now, most of us know you as Melanie of The Confident Closet, but can you give us a little insight into what led you to writing it and doing what you do today?

Thanks Kat! So happy to be here chatting with you! Yes! I actually started my career as a costume designer 17 years ago and noticed the importance of what feeling confident in clothes can do for someone! Actors and Actresses would walk, talk, and act differently if they loved their costume. This really stuck with me as I got into the world of bridal, and then especially when I transitioned into personal styling and cleaning out women’s closets (my true passion!). It didn’t matter if you were a famous actress, a bride on her wedding day, or a stay at home mom wanting to add more pep to her step, there was always one common theme.

Women all have insecurities and hang-ups, but if we used our wardrobe to boost our confidence, our possibilities of what we can accomplish are endless.

Then once I had my own children and went through a major transition I realized that I needed to shift my own closet to gain more confidence in my new body and new role as a mom. I took my years of experience and the process I used to transform my own closet and turned it into a book and an online course both with the name The Confident Closet!

You come across as such a confident, authentic and positive person — have you always had such a great relationship with yourself and your body? And did being so real on social media come easily to you or has it been a journey?

Photo: Merrill Melideo

Oh my goodness! I adore this question and that is SO nice of you to say. I genuinely strive to come off as authentic as possible and so the fact that you noticed that means a lot to me!

I was definitely not always as confident as I am today. I think that is why I do what I do. I know the feeling of being insecure and feeling uncomfortable in your skin. I also always remind myself how those thoughts and feelings (that of course, still pop up from time to time) don’t have to play a part in my day or in what I can accomplish. I think of confidence as a muscle. The more you practice and work on it, the easier it becomes to have a positive relationship with yourself. I also shut down negative self-talk REAL QUICK. haha

As for social media, I truly try and speak from the heart and not overthink it. If someone is going to judge or not be into what I’m all about then they are not my people! I like using social media to help as many women feel great about themselves, and that’s the kind of tribe I want to grow. You know?

Speaking of social media, what kind of advice do you have for women who constantly feel inadequate, depressed and self-critical every time they scroll their feed (or turn on the TV or read a magazine… the list goes on!)

Oooooh. Ok, good one. Honestly, you need to do a huge social media audit. Start by looking at hashtags of things like #bodypositivity and #loveyourself and powerful messages like that. Follow the people that resonate with you and unfollow the rest! Also, I think in order to have a healthy relationship with social media there needs to be boundaries. I have to constantly check in with myself and make sure I’m not mindlessly scrolling. I got too many amazing things going on in my life to scroll and read things that don’t lift me up. Don’t ya think?

We’ve been raised to believe that what we wear must be “flattering” on our bodies (aka make us look as thin as possible) — what do you think of this? As someone who teaches other women how to discover their style, how can we make peace with wanting to look stylish and feel good about our bodies?

I have actually been confronted with this often with my clients (or as I like to refer to them Style Blazers). Here is my take on it. You should always wear things that make you feel good, and if knowing a few things about shapes and silhouettes that flatter you help you to feel confident in your decisions when getting dressed, by all means, learn those things. But ultimately, they should be guidelines.

I have a larger bust and technically that means I should wear v necks and sweetheart necklines…things like that. And to be honest, I barely use that as a suggestion when I go shopping. I can feel JUST as confident in a high neck because what makes me feel confident are bold prints, high-quality fabric, and making sure I’m wearing a head to toe look. Flattering is lower on my list so I don’t give it too much weight. Take the information about body types and what is “flattering” and use what you want and forget the rest.

I speak to a lot of women who struggled after having kids because of all the changes their body (and even face, skin and hair) went through. What are the main differences you experienced pre vs post kids and how did affect you?

One thing that I wasn’t expecting is just how much I actually enjoyed my body when I was pregnant. I was always self-conscious of my stomach and I just LOVED having a bump. It made me have such a new relationship with my body. After having both of my kids I felt a real disconnection. I was so connected during my pregnancies that afterwards, I felt like my body was just… not my own. Especially when nursing and in that initial postpartum phase.

Also, I had two c sections so that recovery both times was extra rough for me. That being said, both times I made it a priority to find pieces that made me feel good in that stage of life, and I never tried to squeeze into clothes from before kids too soon. That doesn’t do any good for your confidence level! You know?

I also wanted to mention that I had some skin issues with hormones and some hair loss that threw me off guard. I had to switch up routines and listen to my body to find a solution that worked for me.

Being that you’re so busy juggling kids and your business, I’m guessing you don’t get a lot of time to yourself! Do you have any daily self-care rituals that help keep you feeling your best despite the chaos?

Oh, you have no IDEA how much of a juggle I have to do to find time for myself and self-care. But honestly, I’m not just a better mother when I have the time, I’m a better human being! So I make it a priority and schedule it in. I make daily to-do lists and include self-care right on those lists with things like “write blog post” and “put laundry away”. Some of my favourite self-care rituals include a weekly face mask, taking art classes, and a massage for a special treat!

And for fellow jugglers, what are some tips you have for creating a beauty and style routine that makes them feel good in as little time as possible?

I teach two practices that make getting ready quickly and easily so much more streamlined. One is knowing your “Beauty Basics”. Knowing the beauty practices that make you feel your best means you have an easy confidence booster in a pinch. Also, I always say to have two to three “go-to” outfits that you know you love. So when you have a limited amount of time you know you have something that makes you feel your best, ready to go.

Finally, what does “putting on your game face” mean to you?

To me, putting on your game face means showing up for yourself. It means wearing something that showcases who you are. It’s putting on makeup or doing your hair in a way that makes you feel amazing so you can confidently show up for yourself. When your style is in alignment you can accomplish anything you put your mind to!

I love that! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us. Where can people find you if they want more of that positivity in their lives?

I’d love to connect and get to know you more! I’m always sharing tips, tricks, and advice on how to have more confidence through your style. Also, make sure to check out my best selling book The Confident Closet, and keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming online course with the same name!

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All photos thanks to Merrill Melideo @merzydotes


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