I’ve been doing some soul searching around personal style. The timing is just right with back-to-school energy in the air. It feels right to begin each school year by going inward and doing some style searching. You may have changed a lot over the summer. That could mean your outfits will change, too.
September rolls around and anything is possible. I remember back at the beginning of my senior year in high school when Doug G. showed up on the first day of school wearing light blue bell-bottoms, a white peasant shirt with flowy embroidered sleeves and a wide camel belt with a large metal buckle that rested on his narrow hips. It was a complete transformation from the year before. I’d guess his mom, Mrs. G. had taken him to Minneapolis for back-to-school shopping because I don’t think they sold clothes like that in Fargo, North Dakota.
Heading back to the style classroom
I don’t know that I’m in for a complete transformation, but something feels different from last year. Have I changed? Who am I? What do I want to express this year? I feel like I’m moving toward something new or different but for the life of me, I can’t formulate what it is.
Before I figure out how to dress for this chapter or even buy new clothes, I need to do some style soul searching.
Soul Carrier clutch arrived to offer support
Somewhere in August, I got an email with an invitation to review an accessory that’s carried up here in Wine Country in the spa at Hotel Villagio (The Spa at The Estate Yountville). It’s by a company called Soul Carrier. It was plenty attractive in the photo provided (see above) and I said, “Why not? I’d love to support business in Wine Country.” (They’re available in other locations as well.
A few days later, a package arrived on my doorstep. I opened up the box it came in, pulled it out, and stared at the gold-lettered writing on the front of the bag. It said: Soul Carrier For Your Journey.
That clutch was speaking to me. I read the words again and let them sink in. Yes, I’m on a journey. The process of the journey to discover what’s true for me now is not a destination I have to arrive at tomorrow. It will take the time it takes. My restlessness calmed down. I felt like patience walked in the door.
You’ve watched me connect the dots in an outfit
I’ve written many times over about how I choose elements for an outfit that isn’t just about appearances. In the Anatomy of an Outfit, I tell you the elements that have special meaning to me. It could be a bracelet that came from somewhere special, a color that has a message that appeals to me, a symbol in an accessory that offers insight, or a printed blouse that represents a quality that I want more of in my life like spunk or energy, or joy. (Here’s an example.)
See, I want to be pleased by each outfit visually, spiritually, and emotionally. I don’t think that’s too much to ask of clothes and accessories.
Pulling out the Resonance Book tool
One of the first things I thought to do with this warm gray clutch was to store my Resonance Book in it. What’s a Resonance Book? Well, it’s a notebook of any sort that is a placeholder for words, phrases, or images that you hear or come across that resonate with you and give you style clues. I dedicated a full chapter to Resonance in Brenda Kinsel’s Fashion Makeover. If this book is in your library, head to page 45.
When I’m scratching my head trying to understand what’s going on inside I start listening, keenly, to any clues I might find along the way. I’m putting the question out there and receiving insights. It’s like if someone uses specific words that describe and you really connect to them, you can put those exact words in your Resonance Book. Sometimes a greeting card has images that resonate with you. Put it in your Resonance Book.
When I was recovering from cancer treatment, I had no idea how life would be afterward. During that healing time, I came across a holiday card of a smiling woman wearing jeans and riding her bike with a basket in front that had a Christmas tree in it. She was wearing a long striped scarf with long fringe, pointy-toed spikey heels, and little white fur muffs on her wrist. She looked so happy and carefree. I looked at her and declared out loud, “I want what she has.”
It was a cartoon but it spoke volumes. It helped me see myself somewhere in my future breezing down the road of life, feeling fashionable, fit, attractive, and ready for adventure.
By listening and watching, I was beginning to get insight into my new chapter.
Right now my body is changing, my lifestyle is far different from what it was seven years ago; even my career looks a little different. Can you understand why I’ve picked this tool up again?
As I’m style searching I thought that the clutch would be perfect to hold my Resonance Book.
In the end, I decided I wanted to use it in a wildly delightful (to me) outfit that I created to meet the Bellas in Yountville. I’ll show you the details of that outfit next time.
Putting together a little collage this weekend
Another tool I use a lot is collage.
While sorting through some piles of paper over the weekend, these three pieces came together. It’s talking to me and I’m trying to listen.
I love the Rumi line, “What you seek is seeking you.” That comforts and encourages me on this journey.
Life’s not formal. In this chapter of my life, I’m a grandmother. I’m changing Viv’s diapers, burping her, swaying to and fro while singing her to sleep. Relationships are of prime value to me. My family, my friends, you guys, other women on journeys.
Those ballerinas on the crown of those arty cupcakes in the collage? Maybe that’s about joy, color, loveliness, sparkle. Not sure, still pondering.
What Sonia Rykiel said about style
I was struck by a quote attributed to Sonia Rykiel in the book Fashion Visionaries by Linda Watson. Rykiel says, “As soon as one has found one’s look, one’s shape, one does not need to alter it too much.”
I’ve been thinking about this. I witness style adjustments all the time with clients. And yes, for some clients their style stays pretty much the same over the years. But for others, there is a sense of ‘I’m not the same person I was seven years ago. I’m ready to express something else, something new. Life’s changed, and so have I.”
So where are you on your journey? Are you making adjustments to your style or is it skating along just fine the way it is? As you know, I’m fascinated by how you think. Please share what’s on your journey.
PS Thanks to Soul Carrier for breaking this topic wide open! If you go to their website you’ll see handbags in other sizes as well.