Can you remember when you noticed someone in colors or clothing that seemed to “identify” them and completely captured their spirit or personality? To you, their outfit may have appeared kooky, inappropriate, and loud or lacking class, yet their walk, demeanor and attitude conveyed a comfort and confidence that had you smiling at their moxie and almost appreciating their style? I sure can (but, hey, I live in LA).
Last year I discovered New York’s Advanced Style “movement” via Ari Seth Cohen (courtesy of his grandmother). These women are pure inspiration! Neither age, nor “appropriateness” have thwarted a keen sense of themselves and how creatively they showcase their outfits. They have mastered their personal style.
I created a color palette for a lovely woman who fell into the Autumn category (warm coloring, gorgeous red hair, smart and capable, with a small frame and large personality). I also created a Pinterest Board for her loaded with Ralph Lauren velvet jackets, rich brown boots, textured vests, and all manner of the Autumn woman. It was an enjoyable project, and I thought I had depicted her style. She recently showed up sporting a Kelly green (admittedly, an Autumn color) denim jacket. I was slightly surprised at the brightness of the hue and style (she had swapped clothing with a “Spring” friend), but I liked it on her. She spoke of having grabbed wild attention in her harem pants at a recent event, and tales of another admirer on her polka dot skirt — huh? I was momentarily baffled. Then I realized this woman is brilliantly expressing her essence! I had overlooked this important aspect of her style.
Afterwards, when we talked about her clothing choices, FUN was at the top of her list (she has recently announced that she will be going to “Clown School’), and her clothing choices must make her feel happy. She also wants to look chic for her TV script meetings, as well as her frequent trips to France. She is an Autumn woman with a Fierce Fun Factor! And this combo of Fire and Fun must be present in her clothing.
It may need teasing out, or full on permission to take up space in your style profile. Or perhaps you simply stumble upon it with fascination, and want more. However it shows up in your life and arrives at your wardrobe door, this is the key to your individuality and unique style.
Have you ever tried on a hat and knew immediately this was your look?” How about a dress that landed solidly around your curves with a pattern that pin-pointed your personality? Or little black booties with skinny leg jeans that let the world know you’re an edgy kind of woman? A flowing skirt with ruffled blouse that softly suggests your romantic nature? An elegant, perfectly-tailored suit announcing your classic, capable, confident self? You are following the Whisperings of your Soul and discovering your personal style.
So, what is this quality that can turn mere clothing into a form of pure creativity? A pair of shoes whose pointed toes and metallic patina turn your walk into a self-expressing skip? It is our Essence. Essence lives in our core. When we express our Essence, we show our Soul.
My client’s Soul wants kelly green, polka dots, harem pants, along with a dose of chic. And now, I clearly understand that “playful” is part of her style. She gave me a great gift — as a colorist and stylist — look way beyond the obvious to find that spark that wants to come forward and show itself in a client’s wardrobe. The Soul will now have its rightful place in my client’s colors and style, because Essence surpasses everything.
Some of us intuitively know how to stand apart and distinguish ourselves, as illustrated in the photos to the right. For others, such as myself, it takes time to discover the tone of your Soul, the creative call of your core. A great place to begin is with “Essence” words, such as: ALIVE, ANIMATED, BRIGHT, REFINED, DELICATE, FLOWING, FUN, EARTHY, BOLD, RICH, DRAMATIC, STRIKING, SERENE.
If you intuitively respond to an essence word, then you know this is a key to your Essence and Style. Once you have a list of words that you and your Soul relate to, begin to match them with clothing. Look for confirmation of your choice — a “ping” experience, your eyes sparkle, you feel great wearing this garment or there is a deep satisfying “YES” that emerges when you see yourself. Scarves are one key to my Essence. They provide the lightweight, drape and abstract pattern I demand. Give it a try. Discover your Essence.
Contact me for a list of Essence words.
To your Essence,