The Good Ick #21: Seeking Modifier
The Good Ick #21: Seeking Modifier

You can’t communicate visually what you can’t put into words. Or, rather, you can’t do so consistently. Creatives strive to convey their point of view through visuals. So others can at least, if not appreciate, understand what’s going on inside their mind. This is the lens through which I see personal style. It is the way in which we communicate our point of view, convey our actual mindset - how we think, how we behave, how we are. When you project the visual that syncs with what is happening internally, it feels great. When you can do so consistently, then it’s beyond great. And it’s hard to put into words how settled you become when you’ve reached this pinnacle. It’s a confidence that has nothing to do with having on the best outfit in the room, but everything to do with your knowledge that you are fully in control of who you are and how you show up in the world. A sense of calm washes over you. Your shoulders relax, your chin lifts, you walk with intention. At least I do. And from my messages with so many of you, I know this to be true for you as well.

But to get to this point, we have to establish the foundation. We need to first articulate our style into words. If you’ve been following me here and/or are someone we work with, enjoy being around and appreciate so much, then you know already that we intersect on the three adjectives that describe our style as CPs: Chill, Modern, and Classic. And if it’s not those three words exactly, the adjectives are synonyms that come very close. What I know for sure is when someone has an ease about them, they’re a bit humble (chill); when they are curious and open-minded (modern), and when they hold reverence for the past and respect for craft (classic), then there’s a good shot we’re going to connect. No matter the demographics, psychographics or geographics. I’m sure this is why so many of you have told me you’ve built some of the most incredibly deep and meaningful friendships though Tibi and the mindset of Creative Pragmatism - all through the many conversations that have emanated from a few posts and a Style Class or two…or 200 is more like it. And to be honest, that’s nuts. I didn’t foresee this happening.

But how is it that we can share a common core, yet all be singularly and unapologetically ourselves?

The Modifier. This explains that even though we may share common adjectives, we still all show up as individuals. But here’s the thing. I hear from many that determining your Modifier is difficult. And I think I know why. It is the word that most people blush at saying. That’s our humility talking. What I mean is that people feel that they need permission to affirm the Modifier, or that they’re just a bit too arrogant if they assume flat out ownership. But here’s the thing - don’t get caught up in that. If you feel for the word, then that indicates that it’s your modifier. Just the very act of desiring it makes it so. Here are some examples of modifiers that I’ve helped people uncover:

Smart Contrarian Funny Thoughtful Super Creative Edgy Risk Taker Quirky Approachable Lovely

You see what I mean here. Any humble person, broadly speaking, doesn’t just throw this on a mug and claim it as their own. It kind of seems jerky to say I’m “SMART” in all caps. These are the words many wait for someone else to bestow upon them. But life is too short for that. Pick your modifier. If I met you, and you had three minutes to leave me with an impression, what would you want that to be? This is often the word.

Now that you know your Modifier, the key is to make it work for you. Put it into practice. I always start with our CMC - Chill, Modern, and Classic. And I’m giving you examples of how each one of these looks is a bit transformed by someone’s modifier. OK?

Four illustrated Models

The brown suit. All the same. Yet hardly. Each one is fully modified to fit the personal style of the wearer. And don’t mistake this for a lesson on how to create “many outfits.” You’ll miss the point if you focus on the concept of “looks for days.” Instead, hone in on how each individual conveys an over-arching message with the way they have styled themselves. 1: “I’m here for business, I’m smart, and I happen to be incredibly chic.” 2: “I’m very comfortable experimenting and taking risks with my wardrobe - I think you can guess that I won’t shy away from ordering the strangest thing on the menu or trying out an aggressively new business tactic.” 3: “Life is short, I don’t take myself too seriously. But I clearly value style, creativity and beauty in the world.” 4: “Still waters run deep. I’m pretty complex and clearly am comfortable with myself.”

And a black full skirt, the epitome of Chill (it’s a cotton canvas weight), Modern (please, the seaming, the hem allowance, the curve….) and Classic (every reference is there). Any Creative Pragmatist knows that when an item possesses all three elements, then it’s ready to be modified.

Three illustrated Models

So, whether you crave to exhibit elegance, or an unconventional take on heritage, or a sporty, more humorous take on feminine dressing, the principle of the Modifier sustains. Once you can define it and speak it, you can show it. Maybe slowly, at first. But you’ll get the hang of it. I promise. OK?

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