Melbourne woman Jane Vandermeer is a body positive stylist who works with women all over the world teaching them to love the body they are in - now! - by understanding their proportions, colourings and aesthetic. Here, she tells Lifestyle News why she wants to help women celebrate their uniquness.
Q: What is a body positive personal stylist?
I have styled women for more than 30 years and observed a few themes. One is definitely about loving our bodies. I decided I wanted to give women the tools to learn to love their bodies. Just the way that they are. Right now. Not in 5kgs time!
My company Finesse gives women the opportunity to truly understand ourselves. Our idiosyncrasies. Understand why we are the way that we are. Learn how to enhance our assets. The solution not only embraces our uniqueness but celebrates it. So many women I speak with, within the first few minutes they start to apologise for their bodies. They tell me that they have put on weight, particularly over the last few years. This chips away at their self worth and self confidence. It becomes their focus. Instead of the many assets that they possess.
For so many women, this chipping away at our self confidence hasn't just happened overnight. It is a culmination of 'little comments' here and there over the years. Particularly by people we love, care about, friends or someone we were 'trying' to impress.
These offhand remarks on their own, don't sound like much. However they compound those seeds of self doubt within us. We start to believe them. Our focus is drawn to whatever that area is. Our hips. Our bottoms. Our tummies. Our thighs. Another theme I see is women becoming more visible. Standing up. Speaking up. To me, this inner confidence radiates from within when we feel good about ourselves.
Those feelings of being invisible have absolutely nothing to do with your age and everything to do with your mindset and your style. Women tend to be brilliant connectors. When we are feeling better about ourselves and our bodies we feel more confident. When we feel more confident, we own our space differently.
This impacts our personal relationships. Our families. Our attitudes at work. In turn our communities. This is such a positive ripple effect isn't it? What a result of working together!
Q: Why do women need to learn to love their body?
If you search for styling tips, you'll find advice promoting the practicality of a capsule wardrobe. While that may work for some, it's important to remember that fashion is so much more than practicality.
It's an art, a form of self-expression that ignites our confidence and transforms our mindset. Our clothes have the power to elevate our mood and leave a lasting impression on those we encounter.
We often worry about standing out in the wrong ways, being criticised and questioning how others will perceive us.
But here's the thing you must understand: you are your biggest asset, and being visible is a necessity for women. Your image is more than just a pretty picture; it reflects who you are and what you stand for.
What you see on the outside actually represents what's happening on the inside. If you feel self-doubt, lack confidence, or constantly underestimate your value, it will radiate in your energy and presence and affect how you physically (and visibly) show up in the world.
Likewise, if you are confident, energetic, and motivated, you will shift people's perception of you as a more inspired and empowered female. If we want to create success and be seen, heard, and noticed as more influential women, we must get intentional about growing our visibility as part of our personal development.
Building your visibility is the fastest way to develop your recognition, authority and impact in your market and staying at the top of your game.
It’s about letting go of these internal faulty dialogues, beliefs, and fashion myths and putting your energy and mindfulness into becoming a visible woman by building inner confidence.
In short, going beyond the thoughts that hold you back, turning your inner voice into an inner champion, and giving yourself the credit for everything you have achieved.
Q: We hear a lot about how social media portrays unrealistic images of women. Do you agree?
There is an old-fashioned idea that once a woman reaches a certain age, that she should quietly and gracefully step away from the spotlight, hang up her personal power and become comfortable with inevitably being invisible.
This idea is further amplified by the fashion industry's obsession with societal youthfulness and the lack of representation of midlife women in promotional materials, blithely masked with language used such as ‘anti-ageing’ or ‘ageless women’ (as if we had a choice!).
It is no wonder then that the immortal muse of youthfulness is shamelessly equated with beauty and that women believe they become less attractive with age, pressuring themselves to stay youthful for longer.
Aside from feeling neglected by the media and society, women are also unaware that the belief in ageism does in fact become internalised, with the majority of women over 50 feeling unseen, overlooked, and patronised as they get older.
And as they say, whatever you think and feel about yourself, is true! Well this couldn’t be further from the truth. The pandemic accelerated change at an astonishing pace, equivalent to a decade's worth of transformation in just two years.
This rapid shift allowed us to gain clarity on our values and priorities, helping us focus on what truly matters. Now, we seek leaders who are authentic, trustworthy, and unafraid to embrace their uniqueness. The cookie-cutter approach is no longer enough—individuality is the new power move.
Even the transition to virtual meetings transformed how we present ourselves to the world. Zoom meetings became a window into our professional lives, offering others a glimpse of how we show up behind the corporate setting and leaving a lasting impression on colleagues, clients, and stakeholders.
As we step into a new normal, high-level executive women are redefining their priorities and embracing what truly resonates with them. It's no longer just about power suits, it's about owning our choices and using fashion as a form of self-empowerment. We're breaking free from outdated norms and embracing our true selves because our success should be defined by our abilities, not our wardrobe.
Gone are the days when women felt compelled to conform to rigid dress codes.We're rewriting the rules. Our wardrobes have become our canvas, where confidence meets authenticity, and empowerment radiates organically. We're making a statement, not just in the boardroom but in every aspect of our lives.
Q: Do you have a message to women about why they need to understand themselves more?
It is my belief that when you understand yourself more, you sit within yourself firmly. It is then you command the room with an extra level of innate confidence.
True confidence & empowerment comes with truly knowing & understanding yourself. I help women in business & entrepreneurs feel like they can take on the world, share their message & light.
As a highly visible woman, I have maintained an empowering lifestyle by participating in my personal development, becoming conscious of my inner dialogue, surrounding myself with people and situations that make me feel visible and showing up for myself in each and every way.
That also means going into my wardrobe and selecting clothes that make me feel powerful, present and simply sensational (yes that means that the sweatpants and leggings that have lost their gravitational pull are out, despite how comfy they may feel!).
Because style is so much more than the clothes that you wear on your back. It’s an attitude about how you present yourself to the world. It is your identity and a choice to be either invisible or highly visible.
Q: Why do you want to inspire others?
As someone who is now embracing midlife, I feel passionate about playing a role in inspiring others to do the same.
I wanted to challenge stereotypes about midlife women, and instead of being a part of the problem, I chose to become a part of the solution by developing a global personal styling business that would empower midlife women to become highly visible.
Through my services I have supported countless women, almost all of whom have felt invisible at some point in time, up until now!
Even my most influential clients have told me that they too have hidden themselves away from the world as they entered midlife, and after completing my 5 month self-image immersion program, have gone on to do some of their best work in their 40s,50s and 60s!
Through my integrated approach of combining mindset and style, I have helped cohorts of highly credentialed and experienced women gain confidence to show their value and pursue new dreams, including landing new roles or starting new businesses.
Many of these women have referred to my Grace and Sophistication program as “life-changing”, “the best professional investment they have ever made in themselves” and “the mentor they wished they’d had earlier”.
Find out more about Jane here: Https://www.finesseyourstyle.com