Truth Never Goes Out of Style

When in doubt, go with the truth. It never leads you astray—in fact, it can take you to a very special kind of healing. I rediscovered this again, not very long ago.

I had just arrived at a holiday party hosted by my friend Ceri Hoover, a fashion designer I love. I was doing my own special take on Christmas apparel—no reindeer sweaters for me!—an olive green dress with tall boots, a fun sweater with angel wings on the back, and the winter bag I carry all the time (which just happens to be one she designed). Ceri was of course wearing a fabulous red top and some adorable leopard print chunky heels, and somehow the subject of my NOT wearing heels came up.

“Where are your heels?” Ceri asked.

My heart sank for a brief second. What was the easiest way to explain the answer to that question?

Let me say that I love heels: kitten heels, pumps, stilettos, Cuban, Italian… and yes, I used to wear them when going out at night no matter what. Trust someone with as good an eye as Ceri’s to notice that I currently wasn’t. She was friendly when she asked the question innocently, and I was smiling as my heart froze. The painful, embarrassing truth is that I didn’t want to stop wearing heels… but my body left me no choice…for now at least.

A dozen replies went through my mind. I could choose the one the old me would have said in hiding, making up an excuse that I didn’t have the right pair for my look tonight. OR…I could do what the new me would do and own the truth.  So, I chose to go with the truth.

“Well, because of the treatments I am having for my MS,” I said, “I don’t wear heels very much right now. They can take me off balance. I wear a comfortable chunky heel on rare occasions.”

I went on to tell her that I have one pair of beautiful red suede chunky Prada heels I bought for myself a couple of years ago because I love them, and they are SO comfortable and not too tall. But I can’t wear many others right now as my doctor is working on my nervous system and I don’t have occasions to wear them often enough.

“So sad,” she replied. Then she looked at me and said: “Well, maybe one day we can collaborate and design a pair of heels that you can actually wear.”

That would be SO fun, I thought.

Then I thought: Gosh, how cool that I was honest with her!

In the past, I would have kept my condition a secret—because I was ashamed, because I was unwilling to accept my diagnosis, because I didn’t want to seem pitiful or make the other person feel uncomfortable—the becauses go on forever. I’d have made a joke or a polite deflection, and tried to change the subject as quickly as possible: Speaking of shoes, I love your house! I’d gotten good at that over the years.

This time was different. This time I trusted myself enough to be honest, and I trusted my friend to care. I was proud of myself for speaking the plain truth. If I hadn’t, that idea would never have percolated or come to light.

Just saying it out loud and being honest was a huge step forward with my healing. Being honest with yourself—not taking it on as a victim, but simply being mindful and accepting rather than resisting—can work wonders.

As a personal wardrobe stylist, truth is the greatest value I can bring to my clients. On the most basic level, it’s about helping them find trust and confidence in how they dress. If their closet isn’t working, if their body has changed in some way, if something in their look is holding them back, I’m doing them no favors unless I can help them see the truth with their own eyes.

This is where the magic begins. Being honest about yourself and seeing who you are NOW is so much more exciting and attractive and REAL than any illusions you might be hiding behind. You may have had a baby. Your body may have changed, you may be limited in your movements from a physical condition. Never walk away from the absolute truth. NEVER dress to disguise yourself: always show the world who you are in the here and now… and find powerful and creative ways to celebrate it.

Because I embraced the truth rather than backing away from it, I took myself closer to my healing… deepened my relationship with a friend I admire… and found a new creative direction to explore. It has happened for me. It will happen for you.

Truth is the best look you will ever wear… and it never goes out of style.