You’ve probably noticed over the years that everything evolves. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, things shift and change on you, putting you right back in that ‘seeking place’. Since I completed my image training in 2009, I’ve noticed a movement away from what I thought I ‘should’ be and more into a place of asking what would please me most in my clothing, using my clothing more effectively as a tool for self-expression.
I want people to know who I am before they get a chance to meet me; I want my clothing to tell an accurate story about what kind of things I might like, or what kind of work I might do. Since the biological connection between visual communication and people’s judgements is strong, I want to make full use of my seven seconds!
So, back to evolution…after I did my training, I was obsessed with the ‘rules’ on colour and body type. When I told my husband I had to wear short tight things, he rejoiced. However, it took a bit longer to figure out exactly what would suit my personality and lifestyle, and I’d argue that I’m not even fully finished there, either. I went through several stages of development and learned a little something more at each stage. Here’s the journey in a nutshell:
- Dressing only my personality – Before my training, I wore a ton of super creative, funky things. Bright colours, lots of strong large scale patterns and a ton of jewelry and accessories. Red spiky hair, green and orange glasses and all over bright. I even wore vintage crazy pantsuits, one in particular that my husband named ‘Grandma’s Couch Suit’ and huge ruffled poet shirts (a.k.a. ‘Ruffles Ate My Head Shirt’ – also a husband moniker). If you see pictures of me from that time, all you can see is the clothes, and everything was screaming ‘look at me!’
- Dressing the rules – Right after my training, I was a bit obsessed about the new information I’d received. I purged my wardrobe of the black and white zebra print jacket, the high-waisted olive green plaid pants (custom made, ouch!) and many other things and replaced them with the right colours, the right styles and since I had just come out of the corporate world, everything was a bit more ‘corporate’ – jackets, skirts, pants and high heels. Sure, the ‘rules’ were there, but very little of my personality showed.
- Coming out of my shell – I gradually figured out that I wasn’t really a ‘suit’ person. Even the more refined fabrics didn’t suit me that well (ha-ha), since they required me to do more clothing maintenance than I wanted. Dry-cleaning, hand washing, careful eating, bah! I’m really much more the type of person who, if she spills coffee on her pants, wants to be able to say, ‘oh well, it will wash’. Hang to dry I can handle, but that’s about it. I don’t even like to iron all that much. Also, as I gained more confidence in my work, I didn’t feel I needed to wear a suited look to communicate authority, so it was time to let it go.
- Dressing a theme – Once I let go of the suits, I needed to figure out where to go next. At this point, I did another training program in psychosomatic therapy, which is basically body language to the nth degree. I discovered that my energy was pretty masculine (no surprise there to people who know me) and that I might consider shifting a bit towards the feminine in order to get more balance. This resulted in a stretch of body-mind awareness exercises, more yoga and finally, more femininity in my clothing, including softer fabric, more pattern/texture, a little more flow and even a few ruffles here and there. I still am able to get my creative ya-yas out through interesting shapes and cuts and fabrics, but I’m now more in line with not only the good colours and styles for me, but also the good stuff that really suits me, that says who I am. People who know me well say that I look more like me than ever before. People who don’t know me assume that I’m creative, natural – read: easygoing – warm and fun (all good things, and all accurate, yay!)
I expect that the evolution will continue. Sometimes I still get a piece that I think is great, but isn’t quite right (i.e. the beautiful tencel silk jacket I bought recently – great colour, good fit, good style for me, but requires ironing – erg!!). Thankfully, I hit the mark 95% of the time and things in my closet really please me, really feel great. My goal is to be 100% comfortable in my own skin and to help others do the same for themselves. It’s a journey – my latest theme is ‘chunky, funky, and romantic’ and I’m curious to see where I go next.
What about you? Can you think of a three-word theme that would describe either where you are (if you’re totally cool with that) or where you’d like to go? Please feel free to comment below….