Fashion Forecast: Living a Beautiful Life

By Whitley Adkins Hamlin

Fashion Forecast: Living a Beautiful Life

I turn my head from the computer screen as I attempt to articulate my thoughts on my aspirations for living a beautiful life. As a writer, I’m fascinated how a word, an image, even a sound can spark a single thought that will lead to an entire article. I love hearing what other people think, and I gain a lot of inspiration from them. As my fingers gently fall to the keyboard, I look over at the vintage quilted sofa covered in bright green flowers that look like artichokes dancing across the fabric, their form accented by quilted stitching. I’ve added bright pops of contrasting color with hot pink and magenta diamond patterned pillows flanking each corner. As a creative person, I like to surround myself with pretty things which foster smiles and imagination. I get so much design inspiration for my own dwelling space from a vast sea of design bloggers posting pictures of their own pretty spaces. Mismatched bright happy colors, shapes and patterns do it for me every time.

My effort to surround myself with beautiful things inevitably spills over into my wardrobe of clothing and accessories. As a working mom, wife, wardrobe stylist, fashion writer and competitive runner, I live on the go and literally feel at times I am flying by the seat of my pants. When I’m with my two young boys or working from home, I am completely dressed for comfort. Drawstring fleece pants and oversized hooded sweatshirts are my happy place. When I am in a client’s closet outfit coordinating or in the field scoping out the current fashions, my desire remains to be comfortable, but appearance takes the drivers’ seat. I love to adorn myself in accoutrements, literally piling on pretty layers of interest.

As they say, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. As I walk through this incredible journey of life, I find that I am able to live my own most beautifully when I am maintaining a state of inner peace. Perhaps my greatest pilgrimage ever, certainly to date; I think, it is through receiving God’s grace that I will reach my destination.

I have recently been introduced to the most supportive, loving group of leaders in my Charlotte community. After spending a weekend with 31 other couples all seeking a closer relationship with God, as well as deeper, more meaningful, intentional relationships with others here on earth, I think I am able to understand a little more clearly what it means to walk more closely with God. No matter how hard I aim to please or feel more accepted by another, I cannot change their actions, thoughts or perceptions of me or anything else.

Last month I was having an especially rough day navigating my path of self-acceptance, the inner peace I seek to achieve. All of the people around me feel I am loving and loveable exactly the way I am, why am I so hung up on a comparatively miniscule number who seem in opposition? Why am I on a never ending conquest of aiming to please? On that difficult day, my mother-in-law shared one of Mother Teresa’s quotes with me:

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

While I feel right in my practice of living a life of gratitude, faith and forgiveness, I struggle with discernment and letting go. I appreciate the little things, I hear the music. I dance. I want to see the good, perhaps to the point I allow pain to rear its ugly head. This is not a religious brief but simply me sharing some of my personal walk in learning to live a beautiful life. At this moment, as I type, I hear Whitney Houston’s voice…“the greatest love of all…is easy to achieve…” Is it ironic? Perhaps it is, but I don’t think so. No one said the journey would be easy, but what I do know is it is beautiful. While I continue to fight my curiously difficult and rather annoying battle with allowing negative a place so close to me, I do know I will not stop seeing the good, hearing the music or surrounding myself with all the pretty things.

About this writer

  • Whitley Adkins Hamlin is a wardrobe stylist specializing in personal, editorial and commercial work, and the author of the fashion blog, the Queen City Style ( The grand daughter and great granddaughter of wardrobe stylists, Whitley has been exposed to, and collected, one of a kind wardrobe pieces since she was a young girl. As a result, Whitley both learned and taught herself the art of cultivating one of a kind looks she passes on to her clients. In her free time, Whitley is an avid runner who loves spending time with her husband and two young boys, cooking and entertaining and redecorating her house until there is nothing left to redecorate (which is never, ha!).

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One Response to “Fashion Forecast: Living a Beautiful Life”

  1. Rose Ann says:

    Sounds like you are getting closer and closer to achieving your goal. It also sounds like you have a wise mother-in-law. Don’t let life’s minutia get in your way:) Very thoughtful essay.

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