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Friday, February 24, 2012

Style Freak

'Fashion fades. Only style remains the same.' ~ Coco Chanel

Ok, lets say you’re bored with your wardrobe. Before you rush out to go shopping (next weeks blog is a few shopping tips, btw) it’s good to spend some time consciously defining your style. Figure out where what you love, what makes you look good, and what your lifestyle and budget dictates all meet. Take a few weeks or even months to discover what will make you happy every time you get dressed. It’s a worthwhile investment of your time that works equally well whether you’re a fashionista or a fashion disaster.  This really isn't about fashion either, this is about developing your own unique style.  Fashion is what changes on a regular, seasonal basis; style is your expression of yourself.  Style is how you interpret the current fashion; what you do with it. Or don't do with it. Whatever.

Start by going through magazines and such and pulling out images that strike your fancy- fashion, interior design, gardening- any magazines or books or other publications you have and are willing to mutilate. Or make color copies if budget allows or it’s a library item. Or print images from the internet. Examples of color, texture, line, concept, different eras of style, whatever it is that makes your visual motor run. You can also add swatches of fabric or paper- whatever objects you come across that you can possibly add that sparks your fancy. If it’s too big or bulky, take a photo or make a color copy of it.

Put a bulletin board on your wall and start arranging these images on the board in as artistic a way as you’d like. If you’re not interested in investing much in this project you can just tape them on a piece of cardstock taped to your wall, but it’s better to be able to rearrange things as you add to your board. This board should be in a place where you’ll see it on a daily basis and it’ll start to take shape as a coherent ‘concept’ as you fiddle with it over time. No need to spend too much time on this- just add images as you come across them.

You may find after some time that, for example, there's quite a lot of texture on your board; maybe this is something you never thought about before, but adding texture to your predominantly neutral color preferences would be easy. Maybe you notice that all over your board is a color you never thought about wearing, and it’s a good color for you too. Maybe you notice lots of images of beautiful rock formations- adding natural stone jewelry to your wardrobe suddenly seems enticing…you get the idea. You’ll probably find that surprising connections and themes may start to emerge.

If there are conceptual images on the board, take the time to determine what exactly it is about the concept that you like. Then play with ideas as to how to translate this into your wardrobe; via color, texture, design lines, accessories, maybe your haircut, etc. You may find literal translations or more abstracted translations. There’s no right or wrong here- the correct answer is whatever feels right to you- whatever 'rings your bells,' so to speak.

Having said that, I’m now probably going to contradict myself; be aware that just because something appeals to you doesn’t mean you can wear it. This board is for ideas, so there’s some leeway here, but it’s better to try to stay with what you know will look good on you. For example, a board full of colors you know are unflattering will only be confusing. It needs to be something that is either flattering to begin with or can be interpreted in a flattering way.  If it's not flattering but you MUST have it, then find a way to re-interpret it in a flattering way.

Also keep in mind that whatever style changes you’re moving towards you must be able to ‘pull off.’ You have to ‘own it.’ If you’ve never been one to follow the crowd then developing a stand out, very dramatic style will be comfortable for you. But if you don’t like a lot of attention then don’t try it. Trust me, you won’t like it. If your board is full of dramatic imagery and you’re not dramatic, define comfortable limits for yourself. This may involve some experimentation, so be willing to play.

Play is what it's all about.  After all, all the world's a stage…

Happy Dressing!