It was a Saturday last month when my life changed.
I woke up in bed with a clear realization. I saw a path in front of me that I knew I had to take. It was a vision as clear as anything I’ve seen with my actual eyes. It was a decision I felt in my heart and soul.
I shook my husband awake from his Saturday morning slumber. “HONEY!” I shouted, my excitement overflowing in my voice.
He opened his eyes, and looked at my smiling, beaming-with-glee face in the early-morning sunlight. I saw the look on his face as he realized whatever I was excited about was important. He blinked the sleep out of his eyes and waited for me to respond.
“I’m finally going to do it!” I said. “Today is the day. I’m going to finally buy a jean jacket.”
Yes, this really happened. (Why does everyone keep asking me that?)
You see, I have always loved the way I look in denim. My go-to “Friday Uniform”, as I call it, has been black pants, black boots, a black tank and a denim shirt for most of my professional career. It’s comfortable, it’s bad ass, it says I’m laid back (that’s the denim talking) but don’t fuck with me (hence the black).
Once upon a time (a.k.a. college), I bought my last jean jacket. I held my breath through an excursion through Hollister to get it and ripped the tags off it the second I exited the store. After slipping it on, I sent a selfie to the guy I was dating. He immediately texted me back:
“You look like a farmer’s wife and that’s a compliment.” It wasn’t a compliment, not to me, and I never wore that jean jacket again.
Flash forward to my decision to invest in a new jean jacket.
The jump from denim shirt to denim jacket seemed an obvious one, but like most women who provide for their households, I agonized over it. I weighed the cost and benefits of owning the jacket. I asked myself, “Am I taking something away from my family in getting this? Will it ever be cold enough in Florida to wear it?” And after weeks and months of deliberating, I finally realized it was TIME.
We made the pilgrimage to Old Navy. I bought the jacket and it sat in my closet until the following Friday. On that day, I woke up, dressed in my usual Friday Uniform – with the new Jacket twist – and took a look at myself in the mirror.
You know that feeling you get when you watch Cher descend the stairs in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again? (Is this metaphor too specific?)
Work with me here.
Close your eyes for a minute and picture Cher, musical goddess, descending a wrought-iron semi-spiral staircase in a Greek villa. Her skin is flawless; she’s actually shimmering in the sun; there are fireworks in the distance as she effortlessly sings “Fernando” over an audience of adoring fans. The woman is wearing white linen pants that are billowy and somehow also flattering. She exudes confidence. She’s bursting with style and grace and singing the hell out of this song. She is LIVING “Fernando” in that moment. She is Cher and she is Meryl Streep’s Mother and she is an actual angel.
Now open your eyes.
There is not a doubt in my mind that Cher saw the “Fernando” scene on screen and did one of those powerful women nod and smiles. You know the one, the one where a boss lady puts a single hand to her chin to daintily grasp it, leans back in her chair, nods ever so slightly and smiles like she has a secret. It’s a powerful move that tells everyone around her, “That’s me. That’s how I feel right now and every moment. I am feeling this. I am feeling myself.”
Looking at myself in the mirror, wearing that jean jacket, that’s exactly how I felt - powerful woman nod and all. In that moment of reflection, I felt I had single-handedly brought the jean jacket back into fashion.
Enjoy your denim-clad fall escapades, Instagram.
Ride that hayride!
Pick that pumpkin!
Sip that latte!
Do it all in your jean jackets!!
And thank ya girl who rocked one so hard the world took notice!
I felt confidence radiating from the tips of my fingers all the way down to my toes. I felt it tingling on my scalp. I went into work and felt like an absolute boss. I got stuff done, I worked hard, I felt strong and capable in my cuffed denim sleeves.
When I got home that evening, before I even said hello, I could tell my kids noticed my confidence. I could tell my husband did too. It radiated out of me even hours after putting the jacket on.
I asked my husband to take a picture of me. I wanted to remember how that jacket made me feel invincible, how it felt to be so confident in my skin.
I still have those pictures on my phone. In it, I’m hamming it up for the camera, clutching the lapels of my coat and tossing my head back like a model in a Sears catalog. My three-year-old snuck into one, and she’s looking at my like the goddamn queen of the universe I am.
It’s one of the first photos of myself I’ve taken where I can’t seek out my flaws. How can I? I look at that picture and see my sense of humor, my on-brand poise, my sass, my silliness and most importantly, my self-confidence—which is always so hard to find.
The jean jacket taught me one thing I wish I could scream at every woman I know: Confidence begets confidence. The more confident you feel, the more confident you become.
If I was confident that I wanted the jacket, confident enough to buy it, I would have felt confident sooner. Instead, I spent months agonizing over whether or not I should buy the one thing I never felt more confident in. I should have just stopped worrying about it and just bought the damn thing sooner.
Here’s the skinny, Ladies: If you’re feeling yourself, let yourself know. Let the world know. Tell everyone you know. Request a picture of your confident self and look at it often.
If there’s something you do, or wear, or a person you see, or a song you listen to, or a mantra you repeat and that thing – whatever it is – makes you feel confident, DO IT.
Do that thing that makes you feel like your best, strongest self, and when you feel that confidence wavering, do it again. Don’t wait to do the thing until you feel your confidence shaking. Do it every single day if you can.
You are the only one who can make YOU feel your most confident self. Get out there, buy that jean jacket, get that confidence you’ve been lacking.
Let’s keep this conversation going.
Do you own an article of clothing that makes you feel unbelievably confident? Or, is there something you do that in doing it, you feel your most confident selves?
Tell us in the comments below or on Instagram at @TheCampaignHER.