Deep down, I am not sure I believed that I was pretty, so things that were overtly feminine were scary to me. What if someone caught me in the act of trying to be beautiful? I was sure I would be found out as an imposter.
But I knew how to be cute, and quirky. A-line dresses with combat boots; boy-short hair and red lipstick; Mary Janes and T-shirts. That was comfortable. That felt safe. That didn't feel like trying to be something I wasn't.
Over the last several years, though, I've been exploring not just "pretty" and "beautiful," but other things that were previously uncomfortable. Sophisticated. Powerful. Womanly. Sexy. (Kristina wrote a great post a little while back about the words she has chosen to define her personal style — it's an interesting exercise to really give some thought to the words you would choose.)
And while my feelings about doing/being/dressing "cute" now are tinged with a little bit of regret and anger over the years I spent hiding behind "cute" because I was too afraid to shoot for "beautiful," I do not thing there is anything wrong with "cute."
I think about all the conversations that flew around a few years ago about Zooey Deschanel (is she too cute/girly? What does it mean? Is being girly not OK? Why is it or isn't it? etc., which, in case you're wondering, is the kind of stuff I read/think about when I should be doing real work) and, you know, I think she got it right when she said, "I think the fact that people are associating being girlie with weakness, that needs to be examined. I don’t think that it undermines my power at all.”
So I'll go ahead and rock this baby-doll dress and bib necklace, and feel sweet, and cute, and pretty. It doesn't make me any less beautiful, or sophisticated, or strong.
Jacket: Vintage (Etsy link)
Bib necklace: Homemade, thrifted
Dress: Maggie London, thrifted
Leggings, booties: thrifted
Total cost to me: About $14