Clothing as tools. I talk about that a lot, but there’s a reason. It’s a critical mind shift and once you get there, building outfits that communicate your personal style becomes quite intuitive. And since personal style is a reflection of who you are, it always feels great when our outward appearance matches what we want to say about ourselves. Oh, did I forget to mention that “who we want to be” is inextricably linked to “who we are.” One’s aspirations speak volumes about an individual so it is logical that it’s an important element of our personal style. Given the linkage between visual and self, you understand why it’s incredibly frustrating when the two are at odds. It’s a crappy feeling you get when you are expecting your outfit to say one thing, but it’s stuck on repeat saying another. I have an easy fix. Try it, I promise. It works.
Employing your antonyms (pages 191-195 in The Creative Pragmatist Book) is, not to over simplify here, a simple way to fix your way out of any style glitch. Here’s what you do. When you’re dressed, and unhappy with the outcome, find the one or two words that describe how your outfit is making you feel. Not how you want to feel. Don’t use phrases - like “not cool enough” or “not interesting enough.” Put to words how the outfit you are standing in is making you feel, right at this moment. Words like “Pretty, Feminine.” Or “Sporty, Masculine.” “Playful”. These aren’t bad words, but if you feel off, it is often because something is making you feel a singular way. One dimensional. And as humans, we have depth - makes sense that that’s what we want to convey. We know we feel best in our style when it’s balanced - hence the name “Creative Pragmatist”, not just “Creative”. Or “Pragmatic.” NOW that you have identified the word(s) to describe how you are feeling, to achieve the balance, i.e. “right the ship”, state the opposite. The antonym. The opposite of Pretty? Maybe it’s Masculine? Maybe you need something highly masculine to balance it out . A “pretty dress’ might feel more balanced mixed with a very mannish brogue. Did that work? Maybe “tough” is what you are looking for - a shoe with a strong point or adding a leather jacket. It’s not about starting a new outfit from scratch. Or even a wall of “outfit ideas.” It’s about understanding how to fix what’s ailing your style. Each of these items become tools to help give better balance. See?
Here, I’ll give you some examples. Let’s start with the dark purple jersey skirt and top.