A New Mode is officially three years old. I honestly can’t believe how fast the time has gone, it seems like only yesterday that Eric and I were sending e-mail blasts about the site to every single person we knew (and begging them to send blasts to everyone they knew!) to spread the word, while refreshing Google Analytics every 30 seconds to see how many visitors hit the site. These days, our readership has happily expanded way beyond our friends and families and instead of being a side project, ANM has turned into our sole project.
My mission in starting the site was to help our readers become the best versions of themselves and in the process, I have undergone a profound transformation of my own. Along the way, I have learned so much about life, love, happiness, health, and– thanks to Ask a Guy–a LOT about men.
The other day I was reflecting upon how much I’ve learned (and how badly I wish I knew all these things sooner!) and realized that sharing these insights would be the perfect way to celebrate our birthday.
LESSON#1: The Real Power of Fashion
I started my career as a fashion writer and during that time, I lived and breathed fashion. When a paycheck would arrive, I would literally sprint to the hottest stores and look for the hottest items from the hottest designers. I would get a fleeting high from my purchase, but it was never enough. Like a junkie, I needed more more more, now now now. While there is nothing wrong with an occasional splurge, I eventually came to realize that this isn’t what fashion is supposed to really be about.
The clothes we wear tell the world who we are. Going out and buying things because that’s what you think you’re supposed to be wearing tells the world that you don’t really know who you are, you’re just trying to fit into an image as dictated by society (and top editors). A much healthier approach is to buy and wear that which makes you feel your best, that which reflects who you are and how you want the world to see you. Running after the latest “It” items will always have you feel like there’s something missing, like there’s something else you absolutely need to have to be complete.
While we feature trends on A New Mode, we try to emphasize the importance of only investing in them if they speak to you and if they reflect who you are in some way. The real measure of a worthy investment is if you would wear that item even if no one else was and if it couldn’t be found on a single page of a glossy magazine.
Once you know who you are and what your personal style is, putting together cute outfits becomes almost second nature and you’ll end up feeling so much more comfortable and confident throughout the day. This is the approach I’ve adopted over the years and I hope it translates well in our fashion content!
LESSON #2: Beauty Truly Is in the Eye of the Beholder
Okay, we’ve all heard this one before, but have you ever stopped and considered how true it really is? Cliches don’t sprout from nowhere, they come to be because there is a lot of truth to them.
True beauty is something that starts within and radiates outward. Sadly, most people assume it’s the opposite. They think if they lose a certain amount of weight, if they learn how to create the perfect smokey eye, if they figure out the secret to flawless, frizz-free hair, and so on, then they will finally feel beautiful. While these kinds of things can certainly enhance your beauty on a superficial level, they don’t come close to capturing the full picture. The missing piece is that you are only as beautiful as you feel.
I’m sure you’ve observed women who aren’t “beautiful” by conventional standards that radiate a hypnotic confidence that attracts everyone’s attention. I’m sure you’ve also known some conventionally beautiful girls, with the perfect hair and the perfect makeup, who are so painfully stiff and insecure that others find them “unattractive” but can’t exactly pinpoint why. Beauty is a state of mind and when you can learn to really feel beautiful on the inside, bad hair days, breakouts, and even signs of aging won’t be so daunting.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t take pride in your appearance, just be sure to remember that a perfectly packaged outside can never penetrate to the inside. Instead, true beauty and acceptance on the inside bursts through the barriers and shines on the outside. Pretty hair and nice makeup are just extra touches that make the light shine ever brighter.
LESSON #3: Relationships Work Best When You’re at Your Best
If you’ve spent any time reading through the relationship section of this site, you’ll notice that the one thing Eric and I stress over and over is the importance of loving yourself. I can confidently say that pretty much every relationship issue can be solved by doing some work on your relationship with yourself first. It is only when you love and accept yourself completely that you can give to a relationship in a healthy way and experience the kind of love you want.
Where most people go wrong is in assuming that a relationship will give them the confidence and fulfillment they’ve been seeking. They may see problems in their lives, but assume that finding the right man will render those issues null and void. This mindset usually leads the girl to seek validation from the relationship, rather than from within. If her significant other doesn’t call or text, she panics, thinking he no longer loves her and and then she may desperately triy to get assurance from him by any means necessary.
She may read into every little thing he says or does, looking for hints that he cares (or fixating on arbitrary proofs that he may not). Her logic may stem from a lack of self-worth and an deeply rooted belief that she is unworthy of love and hence the cycle of trying to quiet that voice with evidence he does, even though it will be powerless against the evidence that he doesn’t (which will always prevail since it is the belief she’s biased toward to begin with).
A shaky sense of self-worth can impact ALL relationships, spanning from pre-teen girls to middle-aged women (no exaggeration, we get thousands of questions and have seen it all!). It doesn’t matter if you’re married or single, making an effort to work on yourself will go a long way in establishing a healthy and happy relationship.
Lesson #4: The Power of Persistence
Above all, I’ve learned that if you want something you have to go for it. I used to go through life thinking that things would magically fall into place, like one day I would wake up and it would all look exactly how I wanted it to. I would suddenly have the perfect career, the perfect group of friends, live in the perfect apartment, have the ability to say the exact right thing at the right time and exist in a perpetual state of joy and self-assurance, a state where everything was clear and made sense.
In life (unlike in the movies), there are no flashing signs telling you what to do and who to be and which road to take. All we really have to work with is our gut and what we feel in our hearts. For a while my head told me that I simply had to someday become an editor at a glossy magazine. In my heart, I knew that the right thing for me was to pave my own way and take a less conventional route.
Starting this website wasn’t easy and in order make it happen (and keep it going), Eric and I had to make major sacrifices–from our jobs and financial security to our social lives and sanity! There have been some setbacks and struggles along the way and while they were difficult at the time, they made me realize that anything worth having is worth fighting for. And if you put up a strong enough fight, the doors will eventually open and everything you’ve wanted will come flooding in.
If I’ve learned anything it’s this: The things you want in life aren’t out there trying to find you, it’s on you to track them down. Whether there are things you want professionally or personally, don’t sit back and wait for the chips to fall perfectly into place.
On a final note, we want to thank all of you for sticking with us over the years. We appreciate each one of you more than words can say and hope you keep coming back for many, many years to come!
– SABRINA ALEXIS