Debunking the “Effortless” Myth

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Sarah G. Schmidt's home


I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Her style was so effortless,” before. Typically one imagines some Parisian “it” girl looking put together walking around confident AF. When someone says that expression around me, I tease, “Oh like a crazed woman at a drug store, at midnight, sick as a dog getting cough syrup and couldn’t-will-herself-to-get-dressed kind of effortless?” My humour rarely lands well.

Joke aside, how can one assume that a person who is well dressed and confident got that way with no effort? That notion is ludicrous.

Learning to dress and carrying oneself with confidence takes work. Work is good. I love work. Work is worth it. Why do we shy away from work? Off the top of my head, I think it’s partly because it takes effort. I rarely hear that people are bored and have extra time on their hands. Noted and understood.

I will say that we all get the same twenty-four hours in any given day. Being busy is not the same as being productive. You, for the most part, get to decide how to use your time. If you’re feeling stretched take a minute to ask yourself, “Do I have space in my life to welcome in fresh, wonderful moments or things? Or am I maxed out?”

I am over the idea that not trying is desired or cool. We’re not in middle school in a 90s sitcom. Work > Lazy. Let me clearly state that work, preparation, and effort is sexy. Also, those three behaviours help to create the confidence we all admire and so desperately want for our loved ones and ourselves. By working in and on ourselves, we get to know what we want out of life. That sense of knowing leads to increased confidence. Should you, too, want to get a little more effort in your life, here are a few things you can do to get on your way.

Simplify Dressing By Creating a Short-Term Capsule Wardrobe

Pick a set amount of items, twenty or less, and mix and match them exclusively for thirty days. Taking the time and effort to choose wisely based on your upcoming monthly schedule will ensure you pick items you love to wear. If you are able, get everything else – ie: not in your twenty items or less - out of that dressing room for the thirty days. The upfront effort before you start day one will save you oodles of time, stress, and worry knowing that what you are wearing fits, flatters, and makes you feel good. After the thirty days, reevaluate the rest of your closet and consider how much you really “need.”

Read a Self-Help Book

We all can use a bit of help in becoming or reminding ourselves to be the best version of ourselves. Pick a book that’s on your list – or reread a favourite – and give your mind a little pep up. Often when we spend a moment to learn and reflect, we are more open to making a self-directed change in our life. If the term, “self help” turns you off, think of it as a self-awareness tune up. In this intense time, I think we could all serve to increase our emotional intelligence. To hammer it home, I remind myself that if I’m feverishly looking around a room for that dang asshole and eventually I’m the only one left in the room… well you know.

Declutter a Space and Feel The Purge

Pick an area of your home – wardrobe, office, linen closet, kids outgrown toys overflowing in that bin, whatever – and take an hour or two to re-organize. I suggest getting all like things together in one room so you can really take a hard look. Pick a category and go through your home, top to bottom, and gather it all up. Next, I strongly recommend you designate a single home for each category or thing. For instance, keep all your towels together in one closet or bin. Keep all your coats in one closet. Find every last flip flop around the house and put it in the same place as the rest of your shoes. By putting all like things together and giving it a single, designated home, you’ll want to edit down to make it fit. Need more proof that it’s time to purge? Read this and this. Donate your unneeded items to your favourite local participating charity.

Treat Yourself To a Fresh Look

Take some time for yourself and get to the salon, makeup counter, or have a spa day. If you’re on a budget why not use up a coupon, gift card, or offer and go get a makeover at your favourite spot. If you’re doing you at home, try a new YouTube tutorial to mix up your routine. For those going out you could choose something low risk like getting your nails or makeup done in a new way. I encourage you to ask the professionals for their recommendation. Let them play rather than falling back on your regular shade or style. You may be pleasantly surprised. If not, simply take it off at the end of the day.

Dress Up and Have a Special Night

Make a date with a loved one – your spouse, a friend, your cousin, your kid – and make it special. Make a plan to get dressed up and do something together. That could mean a dinner and a show out on the town. You could arrange a potluck and have a dressing theme. Or have a PJ party at home, build blanket forts, and binge watch movies. Whatever you choose to do, make it special by putting in a bit of effort.

Make some time in your life to get rid of unwanted things, bad memories, and negative energy. That way you’ll have room in your home – and heart – to welcome in those fresh, wonderful moments or things. Yes it will take some work, but work is so in right now.