“A Most Beautiful You”
by Rachel Ramey
I’m not the soft, gentle type. I’m more the most-likely-to-stick-her-foot-in-her-mouth type. The bull in a china shop. There is nothing soft about me physically, either – I’m all angles. I confess that more than once I’ve thought, “It’s not fair. Why does it seem like the women with the ‘gentle’ personalities are also the ones with the soft voices and gently beautiful faces? They get it all!”
Well, there is a little bit of truth to this…
God, being the amazing Creator that He is, has made us pretty consistent: our insides generally pretty well match our outsides. So when we dress in a way that reflects the colors and shapes already present in our bodies, it offers the added benefit of honestly communicating who we are on the inside, too!
Discovering Your Individual Beauty
There is a prevailing view in beauty writing today that says there’s some median “ideal” we should all be trying to come into line with. Any features that deviate from that norm are perceived as “flaws” that need to be “corrected.” I fervently disagree! God created us to be individuals; we’re not supposed to look alike! And those “flaws”? Those are what make us uniquely beautiful.
Whole books could be written on the subject – and have – but let’s just talk about some basics to get you started if this is new to you.
Color is one of the first things people notice when they see your overall appearance. And color communicates. Not only whether you choose blue or red, but whether the colors you wear are loud or quiet, buoyant or somber. I believe we’re innately drawn to the colors that are best for us (studies of artists have shown personal preferences that correlate to coloring), but culture and training can alter these preferences over the years, so you might need to retrain your eyes.
In good lighting, consider yourself (without makeup) while wearing a variety of colors (one at a time). You can drape towels, sheets, the kids’ garments, etc. across your shoulders to increase your options. Are the colors that look best on you warm (rooted in yellows and oranges, like an orange-red), cool (rooted in blues, like a purple-red), or neutral (in between)? Are they dark, light, or medium? Are they very bright, very soft (dusty/muted), or somewhere in between?
The right colors will look like they “belong” with you. It will rest the eyes to look at you, because you and your clothing “match.” Lines and shadows will be minimized, and your coloring will be good. The wrong colors might make you look grey or overly yellow. They might cause your jaw to look less defined (giving the appearance of jowls or a double chin in some cases). They might make you look like you have more wrinkles, darken undereye circles, or cause you to appear tired or ill. Or they might just dominate you. The best way to learn to see these effects is to try lots of colors so you can see the distinctions between them.
Shapes & Styles
Just as wearing colors that repeat the colors already in you is most harmonious, so wearing the same shapes already present is most harmonious. We’re told to use opposites – to wear round glasses to “balance” a square face, for instance. But this doesn’t really work. Rather, like a foil in a story, the shapes “set off” their opposites and make them look even more opposite!
What shapes do you see in your face? Straight lines? Gentle curves? Angles? Circles? Repeating these shapes will give a consistent appearance. The woman with many natural circles might wear elements like hoop earrings or polka dots. The woman with angles might stick with square earrings and zig-zags.
Is your chin rounded? Square? Oval? Triangular? Match your neckline to this shape and the result will be pleasing to the eye. Do your skin and hair give off a general appearance of “texture” or smoothness? Delicacy or weight (substance)? Crispness or flow? These are repeatable elements, as well! (Sometimes it isn’t very obvious when you just look at yourself. Try different options and see what appears to blend with you.)
It feels better to wear clothes that fit who we are, making it easier to be joyful. It takes less effort to wear them. (We don’t always notice, but if our attire is very wrong for us it can be draining.) We can be modest and feel beautiful, when it’s not a “uniform” of modesty that’s made for someone else. And most of all, it honestly communicates who we are to those around us, so they know what to expect. This can be especially beneficial to us “forceful” types, who may blow people away when we open our mouths after our clothes communicated “soft and gentle”!
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Rachel is the wife of Michael Ramey, and mama to three girls and a boy. She blogs at Titus 2 Homemaker about all the things that go with being a homemaker and homeschooler – especially when you’re not innately domestic!