Life, Style

5 Style Tricks for a Confidence Makeover

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What to do when you need an Oz-scale confidence boost, but only have Kansas

Smiling or frowning, slumped shoulders or an erect carriage, an all-black ensemble or a colorful print–the way that we hold our bodies in the world is a powerful expression of what’s going on inside our minds and hearts. While the scientific connection between posture and emotion is still mostly theory, there’s abundant anecdotal evidence that the connection is real–and detectible by others (think about all the times you ask people, “Are you okay?” and what prompts you to ask).

So if emotions can control how we look on the outside, who’s to say that the reverse can’t be true, too? There’s no better time to channel the power of external appearances on one’s brain than when you’re in a life-rut. Feeling down about your job, your relationships, or your health can take on new heights when every morning you face the same wardrobe that represents your current, frustrating situation. At the same time, running out for a complete makeover isn’t as easy as the movies make it out to be.

A resourceful Dumpling, however, need not fear if this conundrum is plaguing her mind: these 5 style tricks are quick, inexpensive–maybe even free if you’re repurposing things you already own–and guaranteed to make your heart as bright and proud as the sleeve you wear it on.

1. Manicure: Polishing your nails may seem like an ordeal, especially if you’re not naturally ambidextrous or steady-handed. But you’d be surprised how little time it takes to swipe on four coats of shine. The process will instantly calm you, will require your taking time away from emails or texting, even as it gives a prettier view to those emails and texts waiting for you. A nude color is subtle for professional workplaces and can even be a little secret for yourself–not a neon statement to the world, but a private whisper of self-love.

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Zoya Nail Polish in Farah, $10

2. Hairstyle: Anecdotal evidence likewise proves that women who get drastic haircuts are on the brink of a life change–so why not help fate a little by initiating the haircut? Even if you don’t lose 12 inches of hair, or try a radically different color, a little bit of pampering and a trim at the salon can make you feel fresh and clean (be gone, dead ends!). If a haircut isn’t in your budget or schedule, try a different style–a braid or pony if you wear it down, and vice versa–or a pretty hair accessory. Go out of your comfort zone in a nonpermanent way, and you’ll literally see yourself differently when you look in the mirror.

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Add whimsy to your ‘do with pins like these from Anthropologie, $34

3. Statement Jewelry: Personally, I prefer minimalist jewelry, but every once and a while I lust after a bold, chunky necklace, bracelet, or earring. Investing in one relatively neutral piece (consider your wardrobe’s general color palette, whether you’re warm- or cool-skinned, etc.) that you can wear often will completely alter the balance and impression of even your most often-worn outfits. Enamel colors evoke playfulness, and faceted stones are classy and elegant, so pick one that matches the mood you’re going for. The weight of this jewelry on the body also adds a new element of attention and focus to all your movements, increasing your ability to be present and therefore not dwell on Big Picture mind-chatter.

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Agate pendant, Etsy, $45

4. Scent: Most of the time you don’t want to be the person whose perfume everyone smells from miles away, so changing up your fragrance can make the biggest sensory impact on you. Finding a calming scent that matches well with your own natural oils is like alchemy, and like a new weight on your neck or wrist, the new sensory stimulus of scent will heighten your awareness–and make you (and others!) happier and more curious to be around you! Scented body lotions are another way to make your skin a font of well-being.

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Pelle Beauty Huile de Parfum, $79 for 2 mix-and-match trial bottles

5. Sleep: This might not seem like a “style” tip, but a well-rested face and body is the most beautiful one and needs the least amount of cover-ups with makeup, sunglasses, unwashed-hairdos, etc. When your body is rested, you’re also preventing yourself from falling deeper into the hole of frustration and anger now partly due to your need to sleep. Plus, bedtime can be a great place for style in and of itself–luxurious and comfortable bedding, lingerie, pajamas, or nighttime skincare routines are just as much a reflection of your self-care and sense of self-worth as what you do in the daytime. Just because you’re sleeping doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel great doing so! I’m not making any promises, but it might even help some of those dreams come true…

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Organic cotton, hypoallergenic sleep mask, $13

How can you change your attitude from the outside-in?

Also by Jennifer: How Yoga and Ahimsa Define My Veganism

More style and beauty inspiration: 7 Spring Beauty Must-Haves 

How to Cultivate Your Beauty and Style Details

7 Ways to Become More Elegant

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Photos: The Wizard of Oz, Zoya, Anthropologie, Etsy, Pelle Beauty, Cotton Unique

Jennifer Kurdyla

Jennifer Kurdyla

Features Editor at Peaceful Dumpling
Features Editor Jennifer Kurdyla is a New York City girl with Jersey roots and a propensity for getting lost in the urban jungle. An experienced publishing professional, yoga instructor, home chef, sometimes-runner, and writer, she adopted a vegetarian lifestyle in 2008 and became vegan in 2013. She has written for The Harvard Review Online, The Rumpus, and Music & Literature and maintains a wellness-based website, Be Nourished, which features original writing and recipes. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram @jenniferkurdyla, Twitter @jenniferkurdyla, and Pinterest.
Jennifer Kurdyla
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