Our style is an outward expression of who we are, how we perceive ourselves or how we want to be perceived. There are elements of personal style that are the expression of the essence of who we truly are, and my thoughts are that these remain constant regardless of age or fashion.
If you look back over the years at the outfits and clothing you have been attracted to there will be certain elements of these outfits that will be consistent even though fashion has changed and you may have refined your tastes. To me these are the indicators of your inner self and your individuality. It could be colours, or textures, simple lines, plains or patterns, lace and frills, casual or glitzy. Whatever it is there will be something that is ever present in your outfits that ‘speaks to your soul’. These elements are independent of the rules that govern dressing for your body shape, although body-type may influence how you best wear them.
At times throughout our lives we may lose our way with style and feel uncertain or confused about what our own personal style looks like. This can happen when we have been so busy concentrating completely on family, or perhaps job, business, illness or bereavement that we’ve had little time for ourselves. When this changes and we have time to reassess our lives we can suddenly find we are no longer certain of who we are, how we see ourselves, or how we want to be perceived.
This is where by reconnecting with your inner self you can then begin to redefine yourself and your style. If you feel as if you’ve lost your way with style start to think about what specifics of style have always attracted you, and how those elements can work for you now. Also what activities and interests are you attracted to? How do you like spending your time and what is it specifically that appeals to you? Think about what you loved to do and what gave you a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment and perhaps begin to reconnect with those things.
When you are dressing in complete accord with your inner self you will really feel ‘at home’ in your clothes. To me these are the clothes that combine all the elements that reflect your persona and at the same time take into account the styles that most flatter your physical attributes.
When my sons were at the point of leaving or had left home we also sold our home and moved to a new country, away from rural life and I was suddenly left with “What now?” This was an opportunity to re-invent myself and to experiment with different styles. Some things worked and some didn’t and won’t be worn again. I’m definitely not a high-heels girl no matter how much I admire them, (I have kept the red patents for ornamental purposes).
Recently I put together an outfit that combined all the elements that really worked for me. At last I felt as though I had stepped back into myself, I felt happy in my own skin and with the outfit I was wearing.With that came a feeling of freedom and confidence.
So it seems to me that when you are truly connected to your inner self you will have the confidence to own your own style, feel comfortable with the outfits you choose and be less influenced by the vagaries of fashion.
And if you want you can always employ the services of a stylist to help give you the direction you’re looking for!
“Fashion fades. Style is eternal”.- Yves Saint Laurent
At last after a couple of weeks of travel I am finally settled in one spot for a while and back on the net, just in time for Christmas. I hope you’re all prepped and now really looking forward to celebrating this Christmas day.
I wonder, how do you plan to present yourself for Christmas? What’s your plan for your Christmas outfit? Do you make an effort to dress up a little more than usual to celebrate Christmas, or does everything go into dressing the turkey, the table and the tree? If that’s the case, what’s stopping you from making an extra effort with yourself in order to honour the day?
We have so many ordinary days, make the absolute most of those that are special. With Christmas, along with all the gift giving, meal preparation and decorations for the house it’s important to make an effort with ourselves as well. Honour yourself as a way of honouring the day.
Even now, it’s not too late to find a special outfit for this very special day, or to put some thought into how you can make the most of what you already have in your wardrobe. You could go all out with a completely new outfit, or simply make an effort with a new hairstyle, some makeup, and some accessories. Acknowledge the importance of the day by making a little extra effort with everyone else and with yourself as well.That extra effort you put into your outfit will add to the joy and appreciation of the day for yourself and those around you.
Put a little thought into what you’re wearing on Christmas day, look forward to dressing up and looking and feeling your very best and enjoying all the festivities of Christmas.
Have a fabulous day, happy Christmas to you all,
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”- Roy L Smith
How much time do you spend in appreciating what you have, and how much time is devoted to criticising and finding fault with yourself?
If you’re shopping for clothes and nothing seems to look good or feel right what do you do? Do you focus on what you perceive to be imperfections, tell yourself there’s something wrong with you, that you’re flawed in some way… too short, too tall, too fat, too thin, bottom too big or small, wrong shape etc….? When you do that how do you feel about yourself? Do you continue to shop or want to give up and go home, tell yourself you’re on a diet right now, or perhaps instead seek comfort in a cup of coffee, a large muffin or a bar of chocolate? And then where does that leave you? Still feeling that you’re not good enough, seeing a less than perfect body, telling yourself the only way to achieve your vision of perfection is to restrict your caloric intake even further and exercise even more? and how well does that work for you? Do you decide to make some improvements to your lifestyle, or do you give up on yourself altogether?
What if you decided instead that it was the clothes that weren’t right for you rather than you not being right for the clothes? And then you simply seek out only those clothes that suit your body-shape, and colouring. What difference would that make?
Change your thinking and attitude towards yourself and this can change your entire shopping experience.
Focus instead on your assets; hair, skin, eyes, neck, shoulders, wrists, ankles, elbows, breasts, bottom, hips, hands etc…. and find ways to display them to advantage.Stop yearning for that trendy little number that did you no favours and made you feel unhappy with yourself and start looking for clothing to enhance your attributes and disguise those areas you don’t want on display. It’s all ‘smoke and mirrors’! Imagine how you’ll look and feel,and what others will be saying when you’ve begun to make your clothes work to your advantage.
And when you feel happier about yourself you’re less likely to reach for the comfort food, or to punish yourself by excess exercise and self-denial.
We are all different,we have different physical attributes and what appeals to each one of us can vary greatly so variety is essential to satisfy all tastes.Rather than attempting to conform to a standardised form of beauty embrace your differences and make the most of them. What’s most important is being happy within yourself, appreciating what you have been given and all that is uniquely you. People who are happy and confident within themselves have a universal appeal that is nothing to do with appearances.
“Beauty comes as much from the mind as from the eye.”- Grey Livingston
Each and every day wake up to all that you can be thankful for in your life even the smallest of things, focus on the positives, and when you’re next out shopping remember you don’t have to work for the clothes, make the clothes work for you!
“Beauty…when you look into a woman’s eyes and see what’s in her heart.”- Nate Dircks
I like black! Choosing to wear black doesn’t mean I’m afraid of colour or that I’m depressed, I just like it. How about you? I wonder who made that rule about being afraid of colour or depressed if you like wearing black? And who decided it was true?
Black is easy. Black is smart and timeless and elegant.
Even though it’s not one of my ‘colours’ I like wearing black! In fact I wear it nearly all the time especially over winter. You can dress it up with some silver jewellery, maybe a scarf, a belt with an interesting buckle, a patent leather bag or shoes and it always looks smart. Using different textures keeps it interesting and because black dyes vary be aware of this when teaming different items of clothing. Woollens are a deeper black and hold their colour better than cottons which fade more quickly, cotton/lycra blends hold their dye better than plain cottons.
How often do you find that a garment that looks superb in black somehow lacks impact when produced in another colour?
The opposite can also apply when a garment in another colour looks lovely and in black only manages to look trashy. So be careful what you choose when buying black.
I recently saw a woman dressed all in black wearing a wonderful burnt orange scarf around her head and another around her neck and she looked fabulous. My good friend wore black with grey, silver jewellery and a touch of patent leather and she too looked wonderful, and supremely elegant.
“When a little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place.:- Edith Piaf
There currently seems to be lots of encouragement from some stylists to eliminate black from one’s wardrobe and wear colours more suited to one’s skin tone etc. Different climates seem to call for different colours. The summer weather here, with warmer temperatures and brighter light does call for lighter brighter colours and yet when the cooler weather arrives out comes the black. Greys, white, taupes or browns soften the effect and add some silver to lift it, or try a touch of orange or red for a splash of colour.
Frenchwomen are renowned for their chic sense of style and they tend to favour black! Often it’s the quality of fabrics, style of garments and how it’s all put together that makes the difference.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with colour, and yet there is something to be said for black!
” The best colour in the whole world, is the one that looks good, on you.”- Coco Chanel
“Life: it is about the gift, not the package it comes in.”- Dennis P. Costea, Jr.
Do you ever compare yourself with others? Perhaps with someone prettier, better dressed, more money, more popular, more fun, more intelligent, shorter,taller, stronger, fairer, darker, funnier……. the list could be endless. And when you do how does that make you feel about yourself and about the other person? A sense of ingratitude? inferiority? frustration? blame? anger? envy? dislike? What do you tell yourself?
The flipside of this is when we compare ourselves with those who seem to be less fortunate. As a child were you ever told to remember those less fortunate than yourself and to thus be very thankful for what you had? Usually this is used as a ploy for the eating of one’s dinner and hopefully developing a sense of gratitude.
Unfortunately, this also teaches us to make comparisons with others and does not necessarily work in our favour. We may begin to see ourselves as better than others and feel superior, we may feel guilt because we seem to be somehow better off than someone else. Or we may even limit ourselves and what we’re capable of because by comparison we’re doing well. When we make comparisons with others ( either negative or positive) we lose sight of our own potential, and our unique gifts and achievements.
Instead of comparing yourself in any way at all, maintain an awareness of those both more and less fortunate and then focus on your own strengths and abilities. Think about what you’re happy with and what you’d like to change. How can you change what you don’t like? Is it simply a matter of changing your thinking or what you tell yourself? What can you build on or improve on?And what do you need to accept and appreciate as it is?
” God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”- Reinhold Niebuler
A strategy is a series of steps and actions based on both internal and external representations performed consistently, in a specific sequence, in order to achieve a particular outcome. We all have strategies for everything that we do; happiness, sadness, shyness, gregariousness, wealth, cleaning, health, fitness, shopping etc.etc. etc. and much of this is unconscious. If we change the strategy in some way then we change the result.
When it comes to buying do you know what your strategy is, and how well does it work for you? Is it something you’d like to change?
I used to be a compulsive shopper and an impulse buyer, motivated by a need to improve myself esteem. As a result I ended up with a dysfunctional wardrobe, a load of guilt, a depleted bank account, and even lower self-esteem. By changing a couple of steps in my buying strategy I have changed the way I buy and the results I get.
These days instead of shopping without purpose I make a list of what I need before I set out. This gives me clarity and focus on my buying objective and I find I am less distracted by whatever else I see. I also take far more time to consider any purchase (no matter what the price is) and will often leave a garment on hold while I have a cup of coffee, or even for a couple of days until I’m certain it’s what I really want to spend my money on. Will it work with whatever else is in my wardrobe, do I really need it or would something I already have do instead? I also find now that I can satisfy my need for variety by simply trying on a few clothes, a scarf or some earrings just to see how they look without having to purchase. I also observe the rule of “love it madly, need it badly, or put it back”, which really stops me from impulsive action and means I generally “put it back.”
Having changed my buying strategy I am far more successful with clothes shopping. I have a more versatile wardrobe that mixes and matches well, spend far less money and time on shopping and get far more wear out of what I buy. This in turn means a healthier bank balance, and healthier self-esteem.
“A bargain ain’t a bargain unless it’s something you need.” – Sidney Carroll
If you can identify your buying strategy and find it’s not working well for you then consider changing it to achieve the result you want. Our strategies all differ, and perhaps your strategy results in your never committing to buy anything, or perhaps it uses too much of your time before you actually decide to purchase. Maybe you’re a random shopper buying whatever, whenever with unsatisfying results. Whatever it may be, if it’s not working well for you it can be changed once you are aware of it.
First of all think about what motivates you to buy; do you see or hear something, feel a certain way or tell yourself something that creates the motivation to go shopping?
How do you then make the decision to buy? What are the steps that you take to reach the decision to purchase something? Is it what you see, how it looks, what you tell yourself, how you feel or a combination of factors that ultimately influences your decision? How do you convince yourself that you want to spend your money ? How many garments do you need to consider; or how many times do you need to look at or try a particular garment before you decide to buy? Do you rely on what someone else tells you before you buy?
And how do you reassure yourself that the purchase was the right one for you? Is it the savings you’ve made or how it looks on you, what you imagine others telling you or how it works with the rest of your wardrobe? What is it for you?
If your shopping is causing you problems take a look at your buying strategy, and think about what you can do to change it for a more successful one.
“Credit buying is much like being drunk. The buzz happens immediately and gives you a lift.The hangover comes the day after.”- Dr. Joyce Brothers
Big picture or a details person? Which are you?
Do you know how you want an outfit to look but struggle with the details that pull the look together? Or are you someone who is attracted to various bits and pieces but has difficulty seeing the completed outfit?
The key then is to be able to shift your perspective back and forth between seeing the completed outfit and identifying the separate pieces required to pull it all together. Once you’ve decided on the look that you want then perhaps create a list (even just a mental list), and ask yourself what you can do to create the look that you’re after. How well does that gorgeous pair of shoes (that you’re dying to wear) really work with the skirt or trousers you have in mind. Do those chunky ethnic beads really achieve the look that you’re after with the feminine floaty dress you also love?
If you’re someone who gets caught up in the details……(love that skirt or trousers, eyecatching patterns or texture, stunning top, gorgeous shoes, funky scarf, trendy handbag, eye-catching earrings, patterned hosiery etc…) only to find that when you put them all together all you have is a discordant jumble, then maybe you need to take a step back from time to time in order to see the bigger picture ( the completed outfit). Then take a look again at the separate details to decide which of these will work to create the picture that you’re after.
If you tend to focus on the bigger picture ie. the completed outfit but have difficulty defining how to achieve the look you’re after, then break it down into smaller details. Then ask yourself what you need to do in order to achieve the result you’re after. What colours, patterns, textures, styles, fabrics, accessories, hair style/ colour,etc……will complete the picture?
Think of it as a work of art, a symphony; the harmonious composition of small details that require a little distance in order to see the masterpiece that you’ve created.
“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”- John Wooden
Who we are, who we perceive ourselves to be or how we want others to see us is reflected in what we wear and how we present ourselves. As we begin to define ourselves we adopt a style to match. If our perception of ourselves changes then so too will our external representation change. Clothes and makeup can also be used to hide behind, or to present to the world the image we want others to see. People who dress in costume such as Goth style often will use this as a way of protecting themselves and will conceal their true vulnerablity beneath it. Others will do this in other ways with different styles or presentations of themselves. But beneath it all is the true essence of ourselves and it is those elements of our personality that remain with us and are constants in our dress code.
I think for many of us as we mature we develop a more certain sense of self and this shows in are more certain sense of style. As we begin to accept ourselves for who we are, we wear not only what suits our body-type and colouring, but also what really suits our personality.
There have been times when I have bought lovely clothes or shoes that suited my body-shape and colouring but really didn’t suit my personality so were never worn. A case in point are the red-patent shoes of a previous post. These are the clothes that you might like the look or the idea of, but you feel uncomfortable within yourself when wearing them. This is an indication that you’re not being true to yourself, but wearing something to please some else or perhaps to emulate some else or some ideal, maybe due to a lack of confidence or belief in your self or your self-worth.
According to philosophy/psychology we all have three personas. There’s our public persona or how we want the world to see us, beneath that is the person that we believe we are based on our own perception of ourselves. This is the persona we often want to conceal from the world because of the beliefs we have formed about ourselves. Beneath that again is the true self, or the essence of who we really are. When we feel in tune with what we are wearing, we are in harmony with our true self, and expressing who we really are not who we think we should be or who we think we are not. It’s like that comfortable feeling of being home or where you belong, no judgements, no questions.
Over the years I have discovered that the clothes that I am happy to wear are smart casual classics with a twist, (possibly a frustrated hippy or unrealised artist lurking within). Muted colours suit my personality, and I still like the smartness and sophistication of black and neutrals. In these clothes I feel relaxed, and congruent with who I am. Whenever I try anything brightly coloured or very tailored and structured I no longer feel like myself and am constantly aware of and uncomfortable with what I am wearing.
My sister on the other hand wears lots of colour and unusual ethnic outfits with all sorts of colourful beads brooches and earrings from her many travels. They suit her well and are a perfect expression of who she is.
Do you know your style personality? Are you representing who you truly are or are you afraid that who you are is not good enough? How do you see yourself?
What name would you give your style? What elements of your wardrobe do you like? What is it that you like about those things,and what do you want to change?
What are you comfortable wearing and what is it about those clothes that make you feel that way? what makes you feel fidgety and unrelaxed….. is the style, colour, pattern, fabric….?
Take a look at what works for you personality-wise and what doesn’t ,be confident in knowing who you are and what works for you,and allow your own personality to shine through.
“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn”.- Gore Vidal
I’ve recently seen advertised a television programme called ‘Hotter than my Daughter’ where ‘middle-aged’ women are competing with their daughters in the sexual attractiveness and allure stakes. It got me thinking again how we as a society place so much value on youth and sexuality, that we tend to overlook and place very little value on all the other skills and qualities that women have to offer. It ‘s a shame for any woman to believe she has no value other than her looks and sexuality and to then be compelled to set herself up in competition against younger women. While it’s a good thing to present oneself well and attractively, older women dressing and behaving like teenagers generally only succeed in emphasising their age, and risk looking foolish and undignified.
Based on the six core needs identified by Anthony Robbins’s : 1.security, 2.variety, 3. love and connection, 4. recognition, 5.growth, 6. contribution; we are all said to do what we do in an attempt to meet these needs. The first four needs are fundamental to who we are and if we associate three or more needs to a solution it becomes an addiction.
I wonder whether women who cling so determinedly to youth do this because they rely heavily upon youthful appearance and sexual attractiveness to meet these needs, namely recognition, love and connection, variety, and certainty, and haven’t yet found any other ways of meeting these needs. The fear then is…” Who am I without my youth and associated sex appeal? How will I get love, recognition, security, variety without it? Instead of appreciating who they are, how far they have come and what they still have to look forward to they are constantly looking back and mourning what is no longer ,or perhaps what they feel they missed out on.
What to do instead ? I think it’s vital to recognise and build on all the other skills and assets that we have; creativity, nurturing, networking, intelligence,independence, resoucefulness, experience, to name but a few. By changing one’s beliefs about aging, knowing we are so much more than just a pretty face and a pair of pert bosoms, and appreciating and valuing all our other skills and attributes one can then begin to find other ways to have these needs met. Also by connecting with people in a different way, maybe volunteering somewhere, or learning a new skill, and contributing in a positive way takes the focus off ourselves and ultimately can give us the connection and recognition that we are seeking. This then leads to a far more certain sense of self, a stronger sense of self-worth. It is inevitable that we grow old if we are fortunate enough to live that long. If we can arrive at an acceptance of that we are then more likely to appreciate and enjoy every stage of our life. And allow our daughters the spotlight in their turn.
“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many”.- Unknown
Electric Insights Newsletter
Hello to you all. I hope this finds you all well and happy with your lives.
I have recently been very gently reminded that I had not sent out a newsletter for some time so I am now rectifying the situation. My apologies to those of you who were expecting one in February and again in March. I had been posting articles on my website and imagined that you would all receive a nudge about them. As this hasn’t been happening effectively I will ensure that a monthly newsletter continues to be sent out to all who wish to receive it.
This month I want to focus on negative emotions as I think with all the talk about positive thinking we can often get confused. Maybe that’s not the case with you but I know for myself that there have been times when I’ve felt as though positive thinking has meant denying any negative emotions and that didn’t make sense to me. Again it seemed like pretending and that didn’t feel right.
I’ve recently been reading a book by John Gray and I’d like to share with you some of his advice on negativity. In this book he talks about negative emotions, how they serve us, and how to decharge the negativity that we do absorb. And also why positive thinking doesn’t always work . This happens when people use positive thinking to ‘deny their true wants and feelings.’- (John Gray). It is important to use positive thinking, but it’s also important to have a more positive attitude about our negative feelings and desires.
The more sensitive we are the more negative energy we absorb, which can result in making us unwell. Others who are less sensitive are not as affected by negative energy, but they can tend to live more externally and do not always realise their inner creative potential.
When we absorb negativity we can find we are blocking emotions of love, confidence, joy and peace. Those of us who are less sensitive have learned to suppress these feelings in order to feel better. As a result we can become less sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and don’t recognise how our behaviour is affecting other people. But the process of suppressing or desensitising in order to deal with negative emotions leads to a loss of connection with one’s soul or inner core. Sometimes people can be taught to invalidate their emotions and talk themselves out of feeling hurt or angry and the same result occurs ie. loss of connection with self.
When you suppress negative emotions and desensitise you also suppress the degree to which you feel the positive emotions . And when you can’t feel your fears, sadness , anger etc. you lose the connection with the opposite feelings that you do want.
|When you suppress negative emotions, you
numb your ability to feel you true desires.-John Gray
The important thing is to learn to transform and decharge negativity without suppressing emotions or becoming less sensitive. Nature absorbs negative energy so being around plants ,flowers, water, fire is great for decharging.
Interactive meditation is the recommended first step in decharging. The second step is to send the negativity out where it will do no harm. Nature absorbs and transforms negative energy so activities like walking on a beach, in a forest or garden, lying in the sun, swimming or fishing, or sitting in front of a fire all help.
The idea is simply to maintain a balance between negative and positive, to accept and allow both and not to fear negative feelings.
For more on this I recommend John Gray’s book ‘How to Get What You Want and Want What You Have.
All the best ,