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How to dress for yourself, by Leandra Medine

The 29-year-old American entrepreneur and founder of the influential Man Repeller website is the perfect person to explain why, when it comes to dressing, the only opinion that counts is yours

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“My style changes every day. That’s the wonderful thing about fashion: it allows you to slip in and out of identities and say whatever you want to say. It’s not set in stone. Personally, I’ve always been very opinionated when it comes to getting dressed. When I was a child, my mother was a particular source of sartorial inspiration; I used to spend hours trying to force my feet to grow into her shoes. They never did.

When I first graduated from school I wanted to become a political reporter to defy the stereotype of ‘the girl who looks so fashion, and also works in fashion’. It was really silly, but in many ways that’s why I started Man Repeller; to prove that an interest in fashion does not mitigate your intellect – it’s a part of you that deserves to be celebrated. Now I use fashion to empower myself. Not by putting on a suit for a business meeting, but by assessing how I feel that morning and what I need as a pick-me-up.

Finding your own style is a process of trial and error – that’s how I did it. It’s about discovering and unleashing your signature self. Ask yourself: when do you feel most powerful, most beautiful and most ‘you’? What are you wearing? Do you think what you’re wearing plays a part in how you’re feeling? Test it out. Put the outfit back on. How do you feel? Now try something else. Did those feelings disintegrate or intensify? Style is about more than just the clothes you wear; it’s the way you wear them and the energy you project.

Be prepared for criticism. Some people aren’t going to like it, but who cares? Your style is your style, and if someone doesn’t like it, that’s completely okay. They’re entitled to their opinion, and to express it, but that shouldn’t change the way you dress. Dressing for yourself, and only yourself, brings self-esteem and self-satisfaction, and really, what more does one need?”

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