Sunday, September 03, 2006

What’s With All These Rules?

A friend of mine – a male friend – recently told me he reads our little newsletter, the Image Insider, written by me, Kelly, and Wendy. I was quite surprised to hear that. I asked him what he thought of it. His response was that there are too many rules. He said I’m always talking about rules. And I realized that he is absolutely right.

I am not, nor have I ever been one who likes or follows rules. I’m a little like the Laverne and Shirley theme, “Read us any rule, we’ll break it”. (Ironically, Laverne and Shirley were the names of my first two goldfish - I was 4)

I thought it was funny that a man was telling me that I have too many rules. Menswear has more rules than the NFL rule book. It’s an issue of Mars and Venus. Men like quantitative analysis, structure, and strictly the facts. Women are generally more warm and fuzzy in how we process information. In the case of personal style, it’s women who can benefit considerably from having a set of guidelines to follow.

There is such a variety of women – in size, age, shape, color and attitude - and we have so many choices in clothing and accessories - we really need guiding principles to help us look our best without buying everything in sight and without going broke.

Personally, I had a large walk-in closet bursting at the seams. I had different wardrobes – in pink, brown, peach, tan, brown, black, etc – complete with accessories. I also had about 5 people living in my closet – I had wardrobe multiple personality disorder! I had romantic skirts and dresses, a couple of leather jackets and skirts, lots of suits, and oxford shirts and khakis (which I hate – why on earth did I have them??). I was all over the place - I was romantic, I was ultra-conservative, I was….a biker chick? Maybe not. But the leather jackets weren’t consistent with anything else in my closet.

I learned "The Rules of Appearance" and I changed forever. There is one personality living in my closet now - the me I am comfortable with. Mostly classic, a little funky at times. My wardrobe harmonizes because I buy in the same color families and only buy what works for me.

There is a certain magic in knowing that you look good - it doesn't matter whether you're male or female. When you know you are doing everything right and you look your personal best you gain confidence and get an immediate self esteem boost. With the rest of the world tearing apart how much we value ourselves, isn't this more important than ever?

Having the right items in your closet – that you know make you look great – along with the right information (i.e., “Rules”) produces a consistently pulled together person.

When you know the rules and know how to apply them, it is only then that you can break them - properly.

Which I happen to do regularly.

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