Fundamentals of Style
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The things that seem like they’re in the way of your style can actually improve it.
Part of our mission to transform the way that people think about personal style includes breaking from the trappings of commercial pressures, trends, and fashion, and finding ways to recognize the things that make you, you. Even the routine things. As in “Style, with Intention,” we’re focused on Your. Personal. Style. Capital Y-P-S. In this second installment of the Fundamentals of Style, we’ll discuss how integrating gratitude into your style practice can lift your self-esteem and, importantly, reduce a need to make comparisons to others.
Gratitude centers on the idea of appreciating what you have, not longing for what you may be lacking. The most simple way that I can present the idea of “Style, with Gratitude” is “Be thankful.” The question that naturally comes next is, “Thankful for what, exactly?”
First, your physical presence. And, second: your life responsibilities. I think that a lot of people might see these two things as potential roadblocks to great style (aka, “I don’t have a perfect body,” and “I don’t have the time or energy to develop my personal style”). But when seen through the lens of gratitude, these two areas can inform your style, elevating it and making it more relevant to what makes you, you. That kind of personal style is fulfilling. Worth it!
In terms of personal style, physical presence is usually understood as something to be overcome, in one way or another. Ever heard the term, “hides a multitude of sins?” Talk about insulting. None of us is a perfect physical specimen; or, maybe each of us is a perfect physical specimen, truly. It’s easy to have hang-ups and hesitation around the idea of our bodies, because much of the world sets us up in a comparison game. Some of what we compare ourselves to isn’t even real. (Thanks, Photoshop!) All this comparing doesn’t serve us well. Bottom line, having a “perfect” physicality is in no way a pre-requisite for having your own great style.
Instead, take the position that your physical presence is more than its shape. Consider what your body can do for you, focusing on movement and action first, rather than on your body’s size or what it looks like. In Style Insights™, we call this a Kinetic Physical Feature™, and it’s a sure way to flip the script on how you think about physicality. Instead of asking what’s your favorite (or best) feature, we focus on the way our client moves her body in ways that she loves. Some examples: “I love my confident stride when I walk.” “I like the way that I laugh.” “I move my hands when I talk.”
Appreciate how your physical body carries you through space, how it expresses your emotions, and how it enables the exploration of your curiosities and inspirations (to take a closer look, to feel a texture, to read, to find). Consider, too, the your physical potential—what a beautiful thing, and forward-looking. You have gratitude for what your body can do, and what your body has the potential to do.
Being thankful for your physicality in this way doesn’t objectify your body (Hallelujah!), and it removes the comparative nature of the old way of thinking. Game-changer.
Your Life Responsibilities include all of your “have-to-dos” and “want-to-dos.” Everyone’s life responsibilities landscape looks different, and it could include things like work, family obligations, volunteering, fitness, hobbies, passion projects, friends, etc. “Have-to-dos” keep the lights on and food on the table; “want-to-dos” keep your spirit up and outlook bright. Both motivate you, and both contribute to cultivating and sustaining relationships with other people.
Life responsibilities are the constraints that help you gauge what style choices are appropriate for you, in real-life terms. They ground your style choices. Think of them as a framework for your life; and you can acknowledge that framework in a practice of gratitude.
Your style is yours, but without a framework, there would be no position to judge a choice from, and no standard of need or desire to build upon when cultivating your style.
I can tell you that in design, the most important aspect of any project is the brief. It’s the framework for how a designed piece should help the audience. Without this framework, a project can spin-out, cut loose without a tether to reality. The same can be true for personal style. The framework keeps it real.
Gratitude for the framework of your life enables you to acknowledge it and see it plainly, so that you can better make style decisions for your real life, not a fantasy one.
Style with gratitude elevates the every day.
Great style isn’t all flair. Confident style choices that resonate with you comes with the acknowledgement of—and gratitude for—all the things that make you, you. Even the everyday stuff.
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I’d love to know what you think about practicing gratitude. Tell me in the comments! What do you think?