Style On Your Own Terms
So many of us, both men and women, don’t really get the idea of wearing a style on your own terms. Instead, we worry when we get dressed that we don’t look good. Everyone worries for any one of a zillion reasons. The fears sound like this: I’m too big or I’m too small, I’m too junior looking or I’m too old, I’m fashion forward or I look frumpy. That’s how you sound when you worry about what other people think and you don’t have a style on your own terms.
There is another way of dressing and it’s entirely focused on your own roles, goals and desires. Many powerful and goal-minded women and men get dressed like this and they wear clothes that align with who they really are at work and at home. They feel settled and right about themselves when they get dressed. That’s what happens when you have a style on your own terms. You stop worrying about other people’s ideas about you.
It seems to me that now, when women are making a stand for themselves against sexual harassment, that it’s a fine time to use this powerful visual tool to strengthen your vision of yourself and express and reinforce your own goals and values. Doing that work and developing a personal style on your own terms does that. Also, your visual statement is 93% of what people believe about you, learn from and connect over. It’s also a way of informing yourself, not just with your mind but with your body, that your goals are real and possible. No matter your age, your maturity or your level of influence you can do this too.
Keep in mind that this is not about dressing to look unappealing and I’m not saying an outfit is an excuse for an uninvited pass or a grope. Dressing and wearing a style on your own terms is about highlighting your own personal beauty for your goals, purpose or desire. And each of us has some part of ourselves that is physically beautiful. All of us. I’ve never met someone who didn’t have some part of them that is lovely, graceful, well-formed or appealing to look at. Go look at your eyes and see the gorgeous colors there and you’ll believe me.
And now that you’ve looked, go inside to where your essential self resides and note your strengths, values, beliefs. After that pay attention and note which colors you feel energized in, the fit that surrounds and supports you, sense which textures soothe you and wait to feel for a pattern that matches your rhythm. Those clothes, whether you know it or not, align with your personality and values and that’s why they feel right.
Seven Tips for Style On Your Own Terms
Body Shape – There are five or six or seven body shapes that exist naturally. Find yours, accept it and get familiar with it. Then find clothes that fit your silhouette. Also pay attention also to the direction of the line of the lapel, the pocket, the neckline and the hem of the clothes and choose ones that follow the general shape of your body.
The Golden Mean – Create balance by highlighting three places in your outfit using jewelry or a noticeable color. You get to choose the three places so take into account how your body feels and what your mind says as you choose.
Perfect Fit – Literally, make friends with an excellent tailor who wants you to dress on your own terms. Find someone who listens to you say how you want your clothes to feel. Check to see if the clothes actually fit that way when the alterations are done. Don’t mind the cost even though it seems expensive because this person is a genius in architecture, geometry, art, problem-solving and listening.
Serious Jewelry – It does not have to be expensive but it has to be good for you. Good means you chose colors and metals that highlight you and they make your skin vibrant, you picked shapes that line up with your nose, jawline and the slant of your eyes and you are wearing the right amount of shine for your own taste. Again, trust your inner instinct to tell you when you’ve overdone it and do as Coco Chanel did, take one off until it feels right.
Dress Up from the Neck Up – Stand in front of a full length mirror when you are totally dressed, including your shoes. Close your eyes for five seconds and when you open them, immediately note the item that your eye sees first. If it isn’t your face – and in particular your eyes – then remove the distracting items. If you feel boring and unremarkable after that, use the expert tips below to add style that’s serious.
Creative and Clever – Combine patterns that contain a similar color, shop until you find understated but unique details that express you, or learn about color palettes that are viscerally attractive to you but are not the norm – a few clicks on Pinterest will give you ideas – and choose a repeatable, signature look.
Color and Connection – Study the colors in your eyes, usually there are three or so, and repeat them in your necklace, earrings, scarf, pattern in your shirt or tie, your sweater or jacket. This makes your eyes hard to miss. When you visually call attention to your eyes, you unconsciously bring the focus to the center or your power and message.
Meryl Streep, whom I whole-heartedly admire, says, “as a mother she wants her daughters to be free, to be proud, to be female, but you can’t put them in danger by not informing them about the male gaze and how it works on young girls.” I want you to know that there is a way to get dressed that’s is wholly female and utterly lovely and free that has nothing to do the male gaze. It has to do with you. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and concerns.
Stylishly, Kerry Cordero, Image Coach and Personal Stylist at The First Look Image