Sunday, October 21, 2007

CSI: Crimes of Style Investigation

by Kristen Kaleal

Have you ever been in a dressing room trying something on that looked good on the hanger, but when you put it on your body, you literally felt like leaping out of your skin?

Perhaps it was a frilly dress you could see yourself wearing to a wedding, when you normally live in jeans. Or you may try out a classic suit - because everyone is "supposed" to have one, even though you are naturally more of a creative dresser.

Perhaps it felt so wrong on you that your body was literally rejecting it!

Now think about your closet for a second. Is every article of clothing, every accessory, every single item in there a true reflection of YOU - not only does it flatter the way you look - your coloring and body shape - but does it also honor who you are on the inside?

Does it feel right when you put it on, or do you feel like you are wearing someone else's clothes? Are you consistent every day in your style?

Do your casual clothes, your work clothes and your social clothes tell a consistent story? And does that story reflect who you truly are?

Make no mistake about it, learning who you are when it comes to your personal style is EMPOWERING. It turns simply wearing clothes into a true expression of who you are.

Fashion Personality is what separates the style icons - from Jackie O., Princess Di, Audrey Hepburn and even fictional characters Annie Hall and Carrie Bradshaw - from the wannabes.

These are people and characters who understood themselves and found their style and it became a true manifestation of their inner selves. Whether through simplicity or creativity, they know who they are and how to express their inner style on the outside.

I know, for instance, that when I go into a department store, there may be ten clothing items in the entire place that will truly clothe both my body and my spirit. When I'm not wearing what I feel my best in, I don't feel quite as "me."

It is a great benefit (and a time saver) to know myself well enough that I can quickly find what I love and what will be make me feel my most authentic.

That's what the concept of fashion personality is all about. Once you wear the colors and contrast levels that harmonize with your unique coloring and after you learn to respect your body - the good, the not-so-good and the stuff you cannot change without a major investment in cosmetic surgery, the next logical step is to understand how to buy what expresses you.

Think about it this way - rebellious teenagers do this naturally. "I'm gonna wear what I want, and if you don't like it, tough!"

So why is it that as we get older, we become more afraid to be unique? We are all individuals, so why not celebrate those differences in the way we dress? You may say, "Well, I am a professional and need to dress in a certain way."

Naturally, maintain the respect you have for your job, but is there anyone telling you that you cannot wear a colorful and funky top under your conservative suit? If it feels right (and is inoffensive), who says you can't go for it?

There are six main fashion personalities. You are most likely a combination of at least two. The more I understood this concept and the more I started to evolve and understand myself, the more I found myself making things up as I went along!

Remember, your fashion life is an adventure. Celebrate it as such! Nothing is right or wrong if it feels good and expresses your personality and mood!

Here are a few examples of the six fashion personalities:

Alluring - Love to wear body-conscious shapes, low necklines, sexy shoes, etc.

Classic - Tailored lines, conservative and professional polish

Dramatic - Likes bold clothing, like to draw attention

Romantic - Soft and feminine, they love how fabrics feel!

Natural - Minimal in approach, tend like functionality and tend to gravitate toward texture

Artistic - Anything goes, mix and match - value creative expression

How do you determine your own personality? Well, you probably know yourself pretty well already! But ask yourself these questions:

1. How would you describe your current fashion style?

2. Who is your style icon?

3. If you could have only two things in fashion, what would they be?

4. How would someone describe you in terms of your clothes?

5. What would you never be caught wearing?

6. If you had unlimited store credit, where would you shop?

7. What do you wish you could wear, but can't?

And then rank yourself on a scale of 1-6, with 1 being the most like you:

Alluring _____

Classic _____

Dramatic _____

Romantic _____

Natural _____

Artistic _____

This was originally published in our Aug.'07 newsletter.
To request reprint rights, please contact me.

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