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Lauren Hutton was told to have her teeth fixed or she would never be a successful model. Cindy Crawford was encouraged to remove her mole. Now these women are household names and examples of beauty and it is because of their irregularity.
I had lunch with some friends. We were discussing what style is and examining the people photographed by The Sartorialist. His subjects are not in cookie-cutter outfits straight off a runway or catalog page. What made them worthy of his camera is that their outfits are slightly… off-kilter. There is personality and creativity in the clothing and accessory combinations. Their great style comes from irregularity.
Last month, I went to the dentist for my regular checkup. No cavities, praised on my flossing. The dentist came in for her round of examination and mentioned my front teeth, “You know they are quite uneven. The right front tooth is 3 millimeters behind the left one and is over a millimeter longer too. Have you ever considered cosmetic work to make your smile more attractive and symmetrical?”
One thing I have always liked about myself is my smile. I think it’s warm and attractive and just very me. People always comment on my bright smiles and how happy I seem. I have dabbled in a few whitening products but in general, think the teeth look healthy and strong and normal and fine.
We had a team photo at work last week and I just received the photo. We all had big grins, but one coworker had her teeth bleached and her teeth made the rest of us look old and dirty. It was unnatural. It was too perfect. It made me love my mouth more. Yes, my teeth are slightly uneven but they are in the exact same formation as my mother. I got her chin and her teeth. I like sharing physical traits with my family.
But the dentist suddenly has me questioning my smile. She suggested a veneer on the right tooth to make it even with the left. They would shave a small amount off the right tooth to make it the same length as the right and shave a bit of the left tooth’s gum so the gumline would be even. “It wouldn’t be a big deal at all, and it may get worse when you get older.”
I came home and went through my outfit posts. I examined my smile in these pictures. Maybe she was right, maybe my teeth were too uneven. I never noticed how one was longer than the other. Do other people notice it?
I asked my husband. He pretty much told me I was going mad, “One of your best features is your big and beautiful smile. NOTHING should be changed about it.” He told me it was one of the things that first attracted me to him.
Like The Sartorialist and the agents who hired Cindy and Lauren, I love the beauty in irregularity. We often feel that if we just had better teeth or a flatter tummy or a better wardrobe we will be happier. But then when we look at true style icons we see one underlying theme – they are not perfect.
Diana Vreeland was not a traditional beauty, Audrey Hepburn had an unusually long neck, and Coco Chanel rebelled against trends and wore pants AND tanned skin. They were not perfect, and their perfection is what made them stand out and be legends. They accepted their personalities, their faces, and their figures and worked with them, not against them.
There is nothing holding you back from greatness except yourself. A pair of symmetrical pearly whites will not make you more desirable, 10 fewer pounds will not suddenly make you a fashionista, and a golden blonde mane in place of your dark curls will not make you more respected. Stop fighting against what makes you… well, YOU. Beauty and style come from using the outside to express what is inside.
Are you a hopeless romantic? The office comic? A world traveler? What is your favorite color? Favorite artist or style of music? Use these personality traits to build your wardrobe from the staples. Scarves may be in style, but if they don’t seem right to you, then they may as well be passé. Runway models may be wearing multiple strands of pearls, but if the concept makes you think less of fashionista and more of Barbara Bush, then please do not adopt that trend.
Start off slow, buy that weird bracelet you are strangely attracted to and wear it with your basic oxford and trousers. How does it make you feel? What types of comments do you get? Then go with colors. The magazines may be showing purple but if you are more of a green sort of gal, go for it. Check out retailers like Lands' End, Boden, and Kettelwell which carry a range of colors regardless of what is on trend this season.
Don’t be scared to express yourself, you will be surprised at the positive results of being yourself… your irregular fabulous self!
In Recovery says
Well said! Embrace what is unique about you. This cookie-cutter look-alike mentality we have is just insane. Read Beauty Junkies for more on the topic…a fascinating read!