Nicole Caruso had spent years working in the fashion and beauty industries—as a makeup artist, a writer, and founding beauty editor for Verily Magazine, among other things—and greatly enjoyed the fun and confidence that came with trying out outfits and makeup. Something changed, however, when she became a mother.
“Becoming a stay at home mom after my daughter was born was a big adjustment for me,” Caruso says, “not only because I was out of the workforce and spending a lot of time at home, but also because my body had changed. Many of the clothes I had loved before baby were too small, and it seemed a shame to wear them if they would get spit-up or food on them.”
It’s a feeling many mothers know well. When your newborn has just projectile vomited on your blouse while your toddler sneaks up and lovingly wipes his snotty nose all over your sleeve, it’s hard not to feel like a walking washcloth. Why bother putting on a pretty shirt if it’s going to get soiled in an hour anyway?
But just because it’s a common feeling doesn’t mean women want to feel this way. Most women don’t want to feel frumpy, but it can be hard to break the cycle once you’re used to keeping hair, clothing, and makeup to the barest minimum.
Caruso noticed that she felt a lot better once she began putting a little effort into her appearance, as she used to do before she had kids.
“After some time feeling really out of touch with myself, and succumbing to a life in leggings, I knew I needed a change,” she says. “I found a few new items that fit my postpartum body, and started having more fun with clothes, accessories, and makeup again like I used to.”
Taking a little time out of the day to freshen up and wear things she loved gave Caruso a wonderful and needed boost in her vocation:
I finally figured out how to merge my “old” life before becoming a mother, and my new life caring for my little ones. That’s when I felt a shift. I started to feel more confident leaving the house, which led to more social interaction with friends, and a reinvigoration for my creative pursuits.
Born out of her own experience, Caruso loves to encourage other women to wear what makes them feel beautiful. Far from being vain or selfish, taking this time for ourselves actually helps women feel better and more confident:
When we grace our bodies with clothing that connects us with our inherent dignity, we shine. When our intention is to be a better worker, a better student, or a better mother, beautiful clothes can help sanctify our work because we are less focused on our insecurities and more focused on serving others.
Now Caruso is turning her friendly encouragement into a movement that’s quickly catching on. All women are daughters of God, and are “worthy of wearing” nice outfits every day, and not just on special occasions:
You are worthy of pressed, neat, polished pieces, whether they were thrift store scores or special designer pieces … Those items that seem “too nice to wear” we are actually Worthy of Wearing. We are worthy because we are created in the image and likeness of God.
Caruso is encouraging women to share their Instagram posts about pulling out favorite pieces for everyday wear, saying, “Please tag me on instagram @nmcaruso and use the hashtag #worthyofwearing so I can share how this movement impacts all of us.” She has declared February a month-long #worthyofwearing challenge, and shared some advice for putting the movement into practice.
While Caruso was inspired to start #worthyofwearing through her experience as a mom rediscovering her love for fashion and beauty, she is quick to say that the movement isn’t just for moms, but for “any woman, of any age—whether a 7-year-old little girl who loves to wear her fanciest dress because it makes her feel like a princess, or a 77-year-old woman who pins her hair into a sophisticated chignon every day.”
Above all, she hopes that the #worthyofwearing challenge will be a blessing to all the women who join it, reminding them of their unique and inherent God-given beauty so that they are able to bless others in turn. After all, she says, “Joy and confidence are contagious.”
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