One of my favorite nuggets of fashion wisdom came from a magazine (Allure, maybe?) years ago, when a model-of-the-moment was asked for her best piece of advice for looking confident. Her answer? “Never look in a mirror.” It may have been intended as a tongue-in-cheek statement, but what if it were taken literally?
If there’s one thing Paris taught me, it’s that looking effortless goes hand-in-hand with feeling effortless. And after a month of being mirror-handicapped, I think there might be something to be gained from losing the mirror. I’ve always considered it an integral part of the daily dressing routine–hell, I even named my blog after it. But what I’ve often found is that relying on a mirror is a slippery slope that leads to nitpicking every detail of an outfit, and it isn’t too long before you wind up with the sartorial equivalent of an overly botoxed face.
Now that I’m back in the presence of a full-length mirror, I’ve found that I’ve gone right back to seeking its approval before heading out the door. I’ve kind of even considered getting rid of it. I’ve tried self-imposing a ban on using it, though like a toxic on-again, off-again relationship, I inevitably find myself right back in front of it again. And you know what? My outfits haven’t been that great, or at least I haven’t felt as great in them as I did when I was dressing without a mirror. I think this might be because the mirror shows all of the possible worst case scenarios. Having scrutinized my outfit from every angle, I know all of the things that could go wrong with my outfit, like if my shirt comes untucked here, it’ll look more Hannah Horvath, less Hanne Gaby Odiele.
Dressing in front of a mirror is, quite literally, dressing to be seen. But if style is all about confidence, and confidence comes from within, shouldn’t feeling good in an outfit be enough to take that blind leap of faith out the door? And really, what does a mirror know about style, anyway? Does it have pattern-clashing credentials? Does it even know how to pronounce Balenciaga? After all, if the end goal is effortless, I can’t think of what action throws caution to the sartorial winds more than saying “To hell with it!” and heading out the door with none of the usual visual affirmations a mirror provides, but with all of the comforts of knowing you feel good in an outfit fully intact.
I trust my gut to make most of my decisions, anyway, so why shouldn’t some of that same responsibility carry over to dressing?
As per usual, this post contained more questions than answers, and now I have one (or two) for you: do you rely on a mirror to get dressed in the morning? Or, have you made like Samantha in the first (and what arguably should have been last) SATC movie and eschewed them from your routine entirely? Tell me–I’m dying to know your morning routine. How you like your eggs, fried or fertilized?