I asked the remarkable ladies of Velvet + Vinyl to share their thoughts on the concept of beauty and the meaning of beautiful. Here is what they had to say:
Beauty and the definition of beautiful are intimate and personal. We have many ideas and influences of what beauty should be, but at the end of the day that definition will always be our own. I will admit, beauty is something I constantly overthink. With new makeup trends and products, or innovative hair styling tools and hair styles, I find myself thinking about how I should look and if that falls into this idea of how society tells me to look. It is easy to get caught up looking in the mirror and picking apart every flaw I see in myself however nobody else see’s the flaws I zone in on. The reality is that I don’t have to use the latest makeup, have perfect styled hair or look like the ideal body. I just have to gently remind myself that I am beautiful the way I am, flaws and all.
I want to be honest: I’ve rarely felt beautiful in my life. Since I was little I let insults hold a higher status than compliments–and I held compliments in higher regard than how I felt about myself. Looking in the mirror used to be painful (and still kind of is). And submitting this photo was very difficult for me, but during college I’ve been working hard to change that. Being around the women of Velvet n’ Vinyl has genuinely boosted my confidence and made me feel beautiful about my looks and my personality. I’ve also been lucky enough to have a boyfriend in my life that does the same. While other people’s opinions and the opinion of my boyfriend shouldn’t hold precedent over my own feelings, it does help having a supportive group of stunning people that hold me up on the hard days, and keep me feeling gorgeous on the good days too.
A lot of the times it’s when I feel confident in my outfit or like my makeup that i truly feel beautiful but a true feeling of beauty is when I’m undeniably happy. Self love is a hard thing. We are all used to our own face and body so we don’t appreciate it. I feel beautiful when people that I care about compliment me. A small gesture can go a long way. Being beautiful isn’t always about appearance. The best looking human that you’ve ever seen can pale in comparison to someone with a beautiful heart. I think we all need to spend a little more time focusing on the things we like about ourself and a lot less on the things we hate.
I feel the most beautiful when I am eating healthy and tan so I don’t feel the need to wear any makeup. There is something so freeing about not wearing any makeup and just letting your skin breath. I think feeling beautiful is all about your state of mind at that point in time. I believe your thoughts truly reflect how you feel on the outside. When I tell myself positive things and have a positive outlook I feel confident and beautiful. There are so many different forms of beauty and I think people try to hard to just try to conform to what society views as beautiful.
When people think of self love, I think a lot of us think about having to love yourself MOST without makeup, naturally, or in our laziest form. More would probably say if someone prefers themselves with makeup, that makes them insecure or shows a lack of confidence. The internet is clad with people saying that “boys prefer no makeup” and girls saying “you don’t have to wear makeup to be beautiful.” Trust me: for us spooky, makeup loving, glam goth girls: we know this. And we don’t feel less love for ourselves because we choose to match our outward appearance to what is on the inside.
My own version of self love stems from my ability to love myself in all forms, and to feel confident in my skin no matter how much product is in my hair or on my face.
But: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like myself most when I had dark makeup on, and my hair spiky, dyed and straightened. This fact does not take away from my ability to feel happy with the person I look like after I wash my face at the end of day. To put into simpler words, I feel MOST like the INSIDE me when I’m vampy and a little gothy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love myself like this too. Ultimately, love your natured self and your nurtured self. They both play a role in shaping the person you are.
So to all ladies who find more love for themselves in bare pictures like this, or the full-face makeup’d selfie that is the 345th one you took and that took you 30 minutes to get: Give equal love to the version of yourself that is most vulnerable, and to the one that you feel most comfortable with even if they slightly differ. Don’t let anyone define how you should feel happiest, no matter what.
Until recently, I hardly ever took the time to feel beautiful. I was quick to criticize my skin, my figure, my personality, my insecurities. My inability to practice self love was consuming. I always gravitated toward acknowledging my imperfections and doing so resulted in there being little capacity for me to discover and celebrate the qualities that I love about myself.
Being apart of this VV girl gang has inspired a much needed shift in my self love routine. Having a core group of driven, talented, strong-willed women has made me more gracious when it comes to loving myself, but also when it comes to loving others. These women love me so well – they shower me in compliments, they positively affirm my strengths when I second guess them and they fixate on the characteristics that make me who I am. I’ve found that this optimism that comes from positive self-talk is empowering and so contagious. The more I acknowledge the qualities I love about myself the longer my list becomes. This cycle inspires a graciousness that allows me to practice self love audaciously and unabashedly.
Wisdom has also crystallized my understanding and perception of beauty. I’ve learned to give the middle finger to the impossible standards of beauty that are imposed on me by society, models and magazines. I’ve learned the importance of eating intentionally, exercising regularly and finding a skin care routine that brings out the best in my skin, and, thus, bringing out the best in me. Above all else, I’ve learned that you uncover beauty when you discover who you are. Defy the norms and follow your intuition. True beauty will flow when you pursue the things that make you happiest.