Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Looking Like Yourself

What is your beauty goal?  Mine is to look like myself.  My best self, obviously – but not a costume version of me, the me that lives deepest in my psyche.  
The nature of women’s clothing and ornamentation being what it is, costume ideas are constantly being pressed upon us.   It’s Fall – be a scholar!  It’s Spring – be cute!  It’s Summer – be classic!  It’s Winter – be flashy!  It’s nighttime – be a seductress!    This is the point of the fashion industry – to sell you a new self with every season.

Sometimes these costumes are necessary… if I go to work in a bank, I’m going to have to dress like a bankster.   But even so, it is best to retain some bit of one’s personal style – even if it’s just a bracelet.

All women of style (rather than fashion) identify who they really are – and then they wear clothing that seamlessly reinforces that self.  You don’t want to think about your clothing after you’ve put it on.  Holding up a different persona all day is hard work!

Your husband will have preferences, of course – but most men’s preferences are relatively easy to incorporate into your wardrobe. 

So, how am I working on figuring out who I am, aesthetically speaking?  I use pinterest.  You could be a classicist and use a scrapbook, this isn’t a new idea.   You snag images, lots and lots of images, and you stick them somewhere.  After you have compiled a very large stack, over time (you don’t do it all at once, because that will reflect that day, not your true self), you go and look at them.  What’s the common thread?

Start picking through the images.  Which images really speak to you, and which images were just sparkly?  Make one stack for the images that really speak – and look at them.  What’s the common thread ?  (Again).  Now, give your thread a name. 

 The other thing that you do is go through your closet.  Which bits of clothing and ornaments just make you happy?  Stack ‘em up.  What do *they* have in common?  (Now, start wearing those favorites more often.  Yes, even the ostrich boa.  No, I don’t know how.  Work it!)

 What you don’t want to do is buy more stuff that you think is pretty but that doesn’t suit you.   When I first started sewing, I did a lot of this.  I like vintage, so I thought, “Oh this is a cute pattern for a vintage housewife.  I’m a housewife, I like vintage…” and you know… I do love vintage.  But I *don’t* love the 50s color scheme, I don’t love hard angles on anything.  What I was responding to in all that vintage was the femininity and the flowing lines and interesting details.    I made stuff that didn’t really suit me.

 Now that you have a common thread, start adding to your wardrobe items that fit that thread.  What looks like you, feels like you?  Add that.  Don’t add just because something is sparkly.  Take your time and wait for items that truly speak to you.   Then review carefully  after you’ve had them for a while.  Is this you?  Is this speaking to who you are?  Do not shop (or sew) carelessly!
Obviously you’re not going to put yourself in a tiny box – you’ll have more than one clothingself, but they won’t be wildly different.  My “going to church” self isn’t so different from my “going on a date” self or my “reading on the couch” self that you’d be shocked.   Sometimes you need a little more authority, you classic it up a bit.  Sometimes you need to be a bit more sporty.  But you’re always still you.  You don’t change from Sophia Loren to Doris Day!  Doris isn’t going to look seductive if she steals Sophia’s dress, she’s going to look ridiculous.  Likewise, Sophia isn’t going to look clean and sporty if she sneaks Doris’ capris.  You go for whatever, but stay *you*.

There are other elements to looking like your best self – color and shape and fabric, but we’ll hit those another day, perchance.  J

For now, this is my pinterest “things that tell you about me” page, just to give you ideas:   http://pinterest.com/hearthrose/images-that-tell-you-about-me/


  1. Hi there,
    I just found your blog the other day and have been reading back through your entries. This particular essay spoke to me; I hope you don't mind that I copied it to my blog. (With credit to you, of course.) If you do mind, just let me know and I'll be happy to delete my post. (My blog is http://paleladywrites.blogspot.com)
    Thank you!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. You're most welcome to do so. :) I'm very glad that this spoke to you.


Please keep your comments lovely. I encourage discussion, but I will erase ugliness. And let's not shoot fish in a barrel please - no picking on specific people, even celebrities.