The Regnum Christi charism was exactly what Nicole Caruso had been searching for.
Nicole was still a high school student when she incorporated into Regnum Christi at her first Spiritual Exercises retreat in 2004, after a return to her faith just a few years prior. Having struggled throughout adolescence and young adulthood with low self-worth, experiences of bullying, and confusion in who God was calling her to be and what he was calling her to do, when Nicole joined the New York section, she began to rebuild her confidence and rediscover her dignity in the eyes of God. This journey towards self-worth – through Regnum Christi formation, regular spiritual direction, retreats, spiritual reading, and the active pursuit of a friendship with Christ – eventually led Nicole to work in the New York fashion industry, becoming a makeup artist and the Beauty Editor of Verily Magazine, and, ultimately, creating the Worthy of Wearing movement.
The idea of Worthy of Wearing came to Nicole shortly after the birth of her second child. Nicole noticed that she had grown reluctant to wear some of her favorite items of clothing and accessories – pieces that she truly loved and got joy from wearing – and instead was keeping them at the back of her closet, saving them for “another day”, or a special occasion. But for Nicole, that occasion never seemed to arrive. “I was a stay-at-home mom, and my ordinary tasks felt too minimal to dress up or maintain my appearance for,” says Nicole. “Through prayer and reflection, I knew that it came down to my self-worth, and that I didn’t feel worthy of wearing or using those things.”
However, it was Nicole’s young daughter who finally inspired her to think differently about her own worthiness and the role that beauty and personal style might have to play in its expression in her everyday life. “My daughter’s love of expressing herself through beautiful clothing is what made me question everything – she would beat me to get dressed every morning, and wear something truly special,” says Nicole. “I was finding it difficult to change out of my pajamas, and her example to me helped me change my mindset and my habits.”
It was this longing to recognize and express her own intrinsic worth, along with the confident and joy-filled example of her daughter, that prompted Nicole to take action. She started wearing her favorite pieces again, and immediately she felt more confident, and more comfortable in her own skin. Nicole took to social media, sharing her thoughts and personal experiences about beauty, dignity, and self-worth, and an online community was borne, full of women seeking that same transformative confidence that comes from being rooted in Christ.
The Worthy of Wearing community began by sharing month-long challenges on Instagram which encouraged women to wear – and share – something that helped them to feel and express their intrinsic worth every single day, and the movement took off from there. “Women all over the world began sharing their outfits, experiences, and personal journeys with me,” says Nicole. “Over time, the message has expanded to include not only the external factors that make us feel worth, but also how we care for our souls as well.” Most recently, Nicole is launching a brand-new Worthy of Wearing book that will be a guide to uncovering self-worth through personal style and the lens of faith.
For Nicole, however, Worthy of Wearing is more than a website, a challenge, or, most recently, a book – it is a much-needed movement designed to remind women of their intrinsic worth, to encourage them to discover their feminine genius, and to invite them to explore their unique style. “Those who seek the message of Worthy of Wearing have struggled to find their personal style, struggled with feeling completely accepted in their faith community or social community, struggled with knowing their mission and purpose in life,” says Nicole. Since starting Worthy of Wearing, Nicole has heard from a myriad of women who have found the movement’s message of intrinsic worthiness refreshing, powerful, and transformative.
And for some, that message has be life-saving. Recently, Nicole, along with her good friend, Glory Darbellay, a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi, presented a Christmas series called The Worthy Novena. For nine consecutive days starting on Christmas Eve, Nicole and Glory provided original prayers, inspired by Scripture, saints, and Catholic authors, designed to accompany and inspire those longing to grow closer to Christ along their journey towards greater self-worth. One young woman who was following the novena reached out to Nicole and told her that she had been struggling with postpartum depression, and had been having thoughts of taking her own life. “During the novena, she felt the strength to reach out to her spouse, and was able to get the support she needed to get through.”
There are countless other stories like these, of women who, through the Worth of Wearing movement, are starting to see their own worth and understand from whom their worth originates, and are learning how to express it outwardly with joy and Christ-centered confidence. “It is beautiful to see Christ showing his love for us through this message of celebrating our dignity, through the simple action of caring for ourselves – body and soul,” says Nicole. “Something as simple as throwing on a favorite pair of earrings, or taking time for prayer and preparing an outfit of the day, can elevate a woman’s confidence and radiate joy. She can then serve in her mission with greater peace when she knows whose she is.”
Nicole’s new Worthy of Wearing book, published by Sophia Press, will be released in just a few months, and will be a beautiful collection of prose and images about cultivating personal style and celebrating the Catholic faith. Nicole continues to be inspired and propelled to share in new ways the Worthy of Wearing message – that, created in the image and likeness of God, every woman is worthy and is called to make a difference in her own unique life, no matter how ordinary it may seem at times. “I hope many more women all over the world can hear and share this message, so in turn we can all pursue our mission, use our unique talents, build our Church, and become saints.”
To find out more about the Worthy of Wearing movement, follow @worthyofwearing on Instagram, or visit the website at worthyofwearing.com. Starting on February 1, the @worthyofwearing Instagram account begins a month-long challenge, and will be posting daily content, re-posting shares from the Worthy of Wearing community, and inviting special guests to do takeovers of the account’s Stories to share what the movement has meant to them. (Find information to get your closet ready for the #worthyofwearing Challenge here.) And stay tuned for the Worthy of Wearing book to be released in early 2021!