…Make the choice to get dressed, even on the tough days — When you are facing yourself each morning feeling the feels, looking at your closet in order to outfit yourself for the day, the getting dressed experience is a pinnacle point of how your day is going to transpire. Will you succumb to the negative feelings or mindset you may have and put on clothes that hide you, are comfortable but unforgiving, or just don’t make you feel good in order to amplify on the outside how you feel on the inside? Or, will you re-write the story you are telling yourself? Will you stand in the face of your darkness and choose to pull out the clothing items that make you feel good, empowered, brighter and lighter? Will you dress yourself happy? This moment is pivotal to our day. Knowing the importance of this decision will make you stop and give it a few more seconds to (step 1) acknowledge how you feel, then make a choice to help yourself feel or be in a fresh direction.
As a part of our series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Empowerment Stylist and Author: Laurie B
Named “LA’s top personal shopper and stylist” by Angeleno Magazine, “LA’s best personal stylist” by CBS, “LA’s go-to stylist” by the Los Angeles Times, Laurie Brucker Amerikaner of LaurieBStyle LLC, is all about Stylepowerment™. A certified image consultant, personal stylist, motivational speaker, spokeswoman and author of the book You are the Style, Laurie brings twenty years of fashion and style expertise, to private homes, to public stages, and on-camera as a style expert and host. Teaching realistic, creative and attainable style strategies, Laurie’s unique specialty merges style with embodiment, self-acceptance, confidence and manifestation. www.LaurieBStyle.com.
Thank you so much for joining us! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.
The very first gig I landed, after I moved to New York City fresh out of college was with a celebrity stylist, who I met on the platform of the Times Square N/R train. He saw my silk-patterned handkerchief and bellbottom jeans billowing in the gusts of the subway and immediately introduced himself, hiring me on the spot. (I have since forgiven myself for that outfit but am so grateful for its part in my personal success story!) That chance meeting changed the course of my life. I always knew I wanted to work in fashion, having graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelors’ of Science in Apparel Merchandising. This California girl moved to NYC with big dreams of being a trendsetter and to change fashion as we know it. From there, I landed an internship at Glamour Magazine and eventually moved into the design world, designing for Macys, JC Penney, Target, Kohl’s and Walmart. In seven years, I went from an assistant to senior designer and you could say it was a dream come true. But I had this feeling there was something more for me, something bigger! And most importantly, more meaningful. I then opted to expand my education and signed up for the Image Consulting Program at the Fashion Institute of Technology. It was a full circle moment! I dove into my studies, found such joy in learning the science of style and how that all relates to us as individuals. Once I became certified, I decided to leave my six-figure design career behind and start my own business using my expertise in the fashion industry and new education about personal styling to make a difference in the lives of others. Now twelve years later, I have worked with hundreds of women, empowering them to believe and achieve their own greatness by using the art of style and the act of getting dressed to fuel their forward energy and step into self-love and personal power. And life comes full circle! I wanted to be a fashion designer to change the face of the fashion industry but it wasn’t until I became a personal stylist for real women that I realized my work in mixing the art of self-love with style is something that CAN change the industry! By teaching consumers to be more conscious about themselves and what they purchase, we can collectively create a big positive effect to how the fashion industry functions! I love that notion and especially as I move into the next phase of my business feel that there is something truly powerful in teaching consciousness in our closets, for ourselves and with our style.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships?
My first book was published in August 2021 and it really is the next phase of teaching style for me. You are the Style! takes a fresh and heart-centered approach to style and getting dressed. Teaching readers to let go of the old mindset, embrace and love where they are at in their lives in this moment, and give easy, creative and fun tools to help you choose YOU in the morning. I believe that our style is so deeply connected to how we feel about ourselves as well as what messages we share with the world about who wear are. And I see clothing and the art of getting dressed as a new opportunity for connection. Connection back to self. A way for us as individuals to check in, acknowledge and then honor ourselves with how we self-express.
This way of looking at your wardrobe will be pivotal for people to learn to love themselves again. In our closets we face some of our most intimate thoughts. Those thoughts can make us feel insecure or doubtful about ourselves, our choices and our lives. By facing this dark side of yourself you can heal it and bring more light into your life and your closet. Healing everything from loving our bodies for where they are, loving ourselves for where we are, to loving ourselves for who we are. This reborn sense of self can uplift your wellbeing and strengthen who you are in your relationships. As we all know, we must love ourself first. I believe getting dressed is your first morning step to that self-love recognition and eventual amplification in your life.
Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self acceptance?
For all the self-love healing work I have done over the years, it’s never been more apparent than recently: self-love will always be a practice and never has to be perfect. It’s a constant work in progress that can always go deeper, grow stronger and glow brighter. Just recently, I revisited this notion and it was another big moment and turning point to go deeper and to love myself harder. I spent the past three years writing You are the Style while being pregnant and then becoming a new mom. It was a perfect storm for major self-reflection and a continuation of my journey into my own self-understanding. At the time I started writing, I believed I had all the style wisdom there was to offer. But when I became pregnant and my body changed and my life changed, I had to re-build myself back up using supersonic strength of self-love, grace and compassion. At the time I was looking to others and for outside answers to help me better understand and heal. It wasn’t until I sat down with the third draft of my book reading it from cover to cover, when I realized that I had the answers all along within me and had already written them right in my book. That is when everything changed for me. I completed my book, put my newfound wisdom and self-love practices into it, and created a living, breathing reminder that you can learn to love yourself again by dressing to feel good every day.
According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?
It’s interesting to note that many magazine covers month after month spread the subtle, not so subtle body and image content that we have all internalized and eventually dictated our worth by.
“How to lose 10 pound fast”
“The best hair for your perfect summer”
“The top supplements to enhance your beauty”
“Stop the aging process with these three exercises”
“Five outfits to make you look skinnier”
It’s no wonder we have subconsciously taken in all these seemingly harmless headlines and defined our whole understanding of the world by them. The models and visuals that coincide with these topics continue to reinforce it all. Portraying size zero women with pristine skin and perfect “natural’ hair. No blemishes, bumps, or scars. They were perfect in every way. I’ll never forget looking at a few scars I had on my leg when I was just a child and thinking, “I will never be beautiful enough to be a magazine model with these scars.” I was just 8 years old! That was my understanding of beauty and worth in my most impressionable years. But over the years, and through deep self-love work, I have learned how to shatter that. We are the masters of our own destinies. In my work as a personal stylist and in my book are the tools to help you break free of these old, dated views and instead give you the power to write and define your own views and standards of “beauty”. We are all beautiful! In our own ways!
When we look at our lives, our understanding of how the world functions around has absolutely been colored by the stories that we were told growing up, the experiences we felt as we developed, and the society structure that has shaped our view of the world. Being skinny is worthy. Being beautiful is worthy. Being best dressed is worthy. When we fall short in our own eyes, the self-deprecating mindset seeps in and takes over everything in our lives. Ever have a moment where you tell yourself you are ugly in the mirror, then it moves to, “I hate my body”, then it snowballs to “I hate my clothes”, then avalanches to “I hate myself or my life?” These are such common experiences and they are all derived by how we were all informed about life. Whether it’s been societal, familial, professional or from friends, the pressure to be “perfect” has invaded our way of living and caused so much self-doubt and insecurities. These insecurities have been reinforced over and over again since we’ve been children. So as adults, beginning to re-write this story can take a Herculean effort. As we inch toward our own self-love, we must face these past experiences, stories and understandings in order to break free of their clutches. We stay trapped in the way we were told things have to be because it’s scarier to step into the unknown of a new way of experiencing life.
To some, the concept of learning to truly understand and “love yourself,” may seem like a cheesy or trite concept. But it is not. Can you share with our readers a few reasons why learning to love yourself it’s truly so important?
When you reflect on your life it’s easy to see how the moments where we were lacking self-love and compassion affects our experience. It colors how we experience the world around us. But when we are confident, in ownership of who we are, loving every aspect of ourselves good and bad, we make different decisions, we take stronger steps, we move forward in a way that paves the way for others in a positive light. We become trailblazers. The more trails we blaze, the more confident we feel as we continue to reshape the future and write a new story for ourselves and generations to come. Learning to love ourselves is not just for us, it’s the example we set for our younger generation.
By loving ourselves for who we are, where we are, how we are we are not just healing our own ancestral and familial trauma we are creating a new way of being to teach our children to step into. They don’t have to carry on the stories of the past, the values of beautiful dictated to us in the past. Instead, we can teach them how to dictate their own rules and values, define their own beauty and step into their powerful ownership of self. Mind body and soul! When we heal we heal for generations to come. So, think about the challenging act of finding your own self-love as a movement that you can be at the forefront. Own yourself. Love yourself. Be yourself and we will empower others to do the same. Just think. When you love yourself, you give permission for others to love themselves too.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
Whether romantic or not, mediocre relationships tend to happen when we don’t see our value and self-worth as something within us, we need something outside to validate us, even if that relationship isn’t good for us or helpful. Having been in a few mediocre relationships, I can look back and see that what made those experiences harder to leave was because I didn’t believe I was worthy alone. The idea of being alone defined me in a way that negatively affected me as well as challenged my own understanding of my self-worth. A failed relationship means I failed, right? Wrong. When we chose to honor ourselves and step out our own self-love and strength in our own worth, we demand better from those around us. Relationships don’t fail, but the ones that don’t serve your highest good may slip away. That doesn’t mean the process of letting go is easy, but it does mean there is a lot to learn from that experience that can inform you on how strong you are, how worthy you are for a better relationship, and how much power you truly hold in creating the live that you want to live. Staying in a mediocre relationship just stalls you from experiencing your best one. It’s up to us to believe that we deserve more, that we deserve better. We deserve the best! When we truly see our own beautiful value, we won’t accept anything else. Your best relationships become stronger. You connect deeper. You experience brighter.
When I talk about self-love and understanding I don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time that you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?
I think one of the hardest parts of about self-love is that loving yourself fully includes loving even the darkest parts of you. That shadow work is one of the toughest experiences to move through. Because you truly have to look at all the dark corners of your being, acknowledge what they are and then say, “I am going to love you just the same.” Loving ourselves fully like that is the true key to positive and powerful attraction. That strength in our self-worth and the ownership of who we are can transcend all experiences as no matter what your refaced, you can always come home. Back to you. Ask yourself this: What don’t I like about me? Why don’t I like this? What in your life makes you feel worse in this area? Can you find compassion for it? What steps can you take to give love back to yourself when that aspect of you is triggered?
When I worked in New York City as fashion designer, I was miserable. I could look at myself in the mirror and see that I was unhappy with what I had become. On the outside I was a vibrant, colorful, energetic, creative soul expressing outwardly her “happy image” in her wardrobe and style. On the inside, I was an angry, unhappy, impatient, overextended, self-loathing and over-indulging. I lived in such a constant state of stress I would get dizzy spells, eye twitches, insomnia, and a rotating door of unfulfilling relationships. I didn’t want anyone to know how much I was hurting. I hit a rock bottom. That dark place forced me to face myself. Who am I really? What do I really want in my life? What am I experiencing right now that isn’t serving me? Who is the person I want to be?
These are tough questions to ask and face. Yet it’s also important for us to take a step back and look at every aspect to help get back on the right track.
So many don’t really know how to be alone, or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?
Spending time with yourself is one of the most healing experiences. But for years we have been told being alone is bad. Only outcasts are alone. But what if we embraced our aloneness? What if we allowed ourselves to be alone, without judgement? What if we just quieted our mind and experienced our aloneness in order to experience ourselves again? It’s a powerful self-journey we must all make the time for. The more we avoid it, the harder it becomes! But the more we allow the space for it, the easier it becomes. The happiness we find within ourselves.
When was about to turn 35, I felt I had hit rock bottom. My business wasn’t moving, I was still single and so unfulfilled with my life. So, I did the most drastic thing I could think of. I took all the money I had left in my savings and treated myself to a trip to Paris, alone, for my birthday. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this trip would become the most pivotal moment in my life, changing the course of everything. What I experienced was truly being with myself. My experience and my trip were all up to me. I took the initiative, I made creative plans, I experience life where I was at the wheel. And what I realized was that I was letting life happen to me instead of creating the life that I wanted to live. I wrote about this big epiphany in my book and it’s one of my most favorite stories and moments in my life. But when I came home from this trip, I saw how when I honored myself, and truly stepped into my own self-ownership how the universe responded around me. I landed my biggest spokeswoman job to date that I was so blessed to be contracted for, for the next five years of my life. I also met my now husband just months after. I truly believe this experience in self-ownership and being the author of my own life is what lead to all my dreams coming true.
How does achieving a certain level of self-understanding and self-love then affect your ability to connect with and deepen your relationships with others?
Absolutely! When we truly honor and respect ourselves for who we are and then love ourselves for that uniqueness, not only do we bring that best self to all of our relationships, but you inspire others to do the same. That is one of the most powerful tools we have to lift each other up. Giving yourself permission to love yourself, no matter what, good and bad, light and dark will have a ripple effect in your life with not just the people you love but strangers as well. Let’s take a look from a style perspective. When you love yourself and honor your uniqueness you choose to get dressed in a way that reflects that! Whatever that is for you, when you wear what aligns with who you are truly, you shine from the inside out. You create a powerful energy around you. You will inspire others to say things like: “Wow they are really standing in their style power, I want to do the same for me!” While you would normally wear that colorful sweater you’ve been saving for an occasion, now you are wearing it just because. Stepping into your own Stylepowerment™ now gives permission for others to do the same. So just think: what if we all stepped into our personal power of self-acceptance and self-love? Just remember, a rising tide raises all ships. So, raise the tide in the world around you and that will reverberate creating empowerment through self-love. It’s a self-love revolution and you can be on the front lines by daring to love yourself fully, and then showing the world who you truly are, unapologetically.
When we take ownership of who we are, we are more comfortable, more confident and more present when we connect with others. There is nothing more distracting than being in a conversation with somebody and while they are talking
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
We need to normalize how easy it is to fall out of self-love. And how often we can experience that over and over again. Life will always be a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Our self-love journey will go through the same. It’s finding strength between the highs and lows that will give you the strength to move through each triggering experience. As individuals, we all need to share our truths more often, without fear of judgement from others, and most importantly fear of judgment from ourselves. Societally, we need to offer openness and compassion for those experiencing a loss of self-love and then encourage people to just be. If we can all empower each other with the notion that whereever you are, whoever you are, however you are, that you are okay, then imagine what release of pressure we could all experience in our lives. The truth is, IT IS OKAY! To settle into that, is how we allow each other to really settle into self-loving ourselves in whatever state or experience we are in.
Here is the main question of our discussion. What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?
1) Honor how you feel each day
My mom always reminds me that each day is a new day to start over again. I felt that advice so deeply as I experience new motherhood, but truthfully it is the best advice on the worst of days no matter what you are doing through. So many times we can wake up in anguish, feeling the sadness or the hurt of the day before. But as my wise mom always said, “With each day you can start over, letting go of the day before and chart out a better day ahead.” A new experience, an easier path. It all starts with you acknowledging how you are feeling at that moment. Acknowledge it. It’s there. You are feeling what you feel and that is okay. But it is not okay to let that color the experience of the day you have ahead. Which leads us to point two.
2) Make the choice to get dressed, even on the tough days
When you are facing yourself each morning feeling the feels, looking at your closet in order to outfit yourself for the day, the getting dressed experience is a pinnacle point of how your day is going to transpire. Will you succumb to the negative feelings or mindset you may have and put on clothes that hide you, are comfortable but unforgiving, or just don’t make you feel good in order to amplify on the outside how you feel on the inside? Or, will you re-write the story you are telling yourself? Will you stand in the face of your darkness and choose to pull out the clothing items that make you feel good, empowered, brighter and lighter? Will you dress yourself happy? This moment is pivotal to our day. Knowing the importance of this decision will make you stop and give it a few more seconds to (step 1) acknowledge how you feel, then make a choice to help yourself feel or be in a fresh direction.
3) Body gratitude and acknowledgment
Body insecurities makes up a big portion of how negatively we see ourselves in the mirror and in life. All of the years conditioning us to believe that skinny means worthy and curvy or differently-abled means unworthy has taken a toll on how we step into our power, or rather, how we don’t step into our power. But with each day being anew, you get a daily opportunity to work toward your own self love and self-acceptance of your body where it is right now. The truth is, our body changes as we mature and as we go through that life evolution, we revert to diminishing ourselves over it. Like there is something wrong with us, or by having a different shaped body than you once had before that you are not good enough, or like I mentioned earlier, worthy in society. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. You get to define your worth. Coming into acceptance of yourself and your body only amplifies your personal presence, confidence and self-love! Finding peace and ownership of where you are right now, will help you release these old thought patterns and allow you to be more present in your day-to-day life. So, whatever it is that ails you, love it, accept it, and own it. You are beautiful just the way you are!
4) Style Affirmations
I believe style is an important part of our self-love journey. When we truly love ourselves, we express ourselves in a way that truly helps us shine. However, when we are in a state of self-doubt or insecurity it’s really easy to stop ourselves before we even can get started! We’ll see that favorite dress, or that bright colored top that makes us happy and instead of just grabbing it to wear, we say things to ourselves like: “Oh, what if I stand out today.” Or, ‘I just don’t feel good today, so I won’t wear that.” Sometimes, we will have such mental noise while standing in front of our closets we actually get paralyzed. To help you break free from that, say a few style affirmations to yourself to help you break the negative thoughts on repeat. Anything from:
“I chose to style my best self today!”
“When I wear clothes that make me happy, I feel happier.”
“My style is my own unique self-expression!”
“I am beautiful inside out and my style can reflect that.”
“I will dress to feel confidently today.”
Saying positive affirmations to yourself will help you raise your vibration and encourage you to make outfit choices that will bring more confidence to your step.
5) Dress to celebrate you:
There is a style trap that so many get stuck in. Wear clothes to hide what we don’t love about yourselves or out bodies. Everything from wearing dark colors, to heavy fabrics, wide or billowing silhouettes, or even just letting go a style all together. Too much effort! That is why dressing you celebrate you can be the ultimate game change and self-love action that you can take when you get dressed. Instead of leading your styling experience by focusing in on what you don’t love, focus in on what you do love about your body! Do you love your legs? Your hips? Your smile? Start there! Now dress to accentuate, flatter or draw attention to that loved area. Style it by using bold colors, fun prints, sparking jewelry or bold silhouettes! Whatever makes you happy! By getting dressed this way you lead with love in how you style yourself which helps you focus on the positives! Dressing to celebrate what you love will liberate you from dressing to hide what you don’t love right now.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?
My favorite book is Becoming Supernatural with Joe Dispenza. This more technical and scientific way of understanding how our brains work and how we can reprogram not just our brains but re-write the world around you as you know it, is some powerful magic we all have the ability to conjure. I love this book especially for people who resonate as much with the woo-woo of manifestation but can really sink their teeth in with facts, data and the technical breakdown of it all. It’s truly great for all who want to seek a higher state of being in all areas of love.
Highest Self Podcast with Sahara Rose is my go-to podcast. I love how Sahara takes on the topic of spirituality in a fun and relatable way. But most importantly, everything she speaks to and teaches is all about helping us heal our wounds live in our own self-love and step into our dharma so that we can all change the world together.
In general, I love anything and everything Glennon Doyle does, especially her new podcast We can do hard things. It’s so true and she is a don’t-hold-back, honest, inquisitive and insightful spirit that speaks the truth and leaves you wanting to discover more. It’s true, there is so much more for each of us to address and heal.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…
Dress Happy! That is the movement I absolutely will continue to create. It’s the idea that we should dress to feel happy. Our clothing and style is an extension of our unique selves and deserves to be celebrated. You deserve to be celebrated! It all comes back to self-love. When you dress to feel happy, you are giving yourself the love you need whether on a good or a bad day. Dressing happy not only creates a more positive experience in the morning to kick off your day, the good vibes will carry on though out the day because you are standing in your brightest light! So, no matter what your style preference is, dressing to make yourself happy will literally light the world, and allow you to be your vibrant self.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?
“Tomorrow is a new day to start again.” I mentioned this earlier as a powerful reminder in our self-love journey and this quote has literally gotten me through my darkest of days and the days when I have been the hardest on myself. “Tomorrow is new day to start again.” When you say this to yourself you automatically give yourself, compassion, self-love and grace to get through whatever you are facing. So, the day was tough, close your eyes, rest your head and you can begin again tomorrow. This is a powerful mantra and holds the key to how we continue to heal ourselves and create more self-love with each passing day.
Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!