Fashion truisms

Sunday December 30 2012


By CAROL ODERO [email protected]

In the six years I have been thrust upon the fashion world, there are truisms that have remained constant. My knowledge of them may have expanded over the years but they hold constant. Any time you are confronted with a fashion dilemma take out this figurative dartboard and hurl things against it. See if it doesn’t stick or Abe’s my mother.

Find your sweet spot

My definition of style is very clear. Part fashion including clothes, accessories and trends in all their glory; part you. The barest bones of a stylish woman contains a sound grasp of fashion whether innate or systematically calculated, meticulous and learned.

Pick any woman you think of as stylish (she has her very own unique way of wearing her expressions, attitude, clothes, personality, even sense of humour) and dissect her.

Style is a response to fashion – embracing the spirit of it and flipping it on its head – instead of reacting, which is going out and buying clothes in an attempt to stamp ownership, self, identity, feelings or thought to it. One is a state of mind, the other a state of access.

Finding your style requires that you experience a degree of pain. Everyone – yes, everyone – goes through an awkward phase in fashion that invokes more falter and less glamour. For some, awkward seasons last longer and, for others, what they unearth is so original and beautiful we become enraptured by it.

Cultivate what I call your Goldilocks Style Point, that place where fashion pain meet style pleasure and everything is just right.

Makeovers are simple. Really

My wardrobe is ever changing, triggered by life phases from career choices, shifting professions, dating life and personal interests. I have girlfriends who have revamped their look because they would like to get married.

While there was nothing fundamentally wrong with their look to begin with, the look they now prefer is their idea of something male friendly.

It is said that women dress for other women because women are (harsher) critics while men are far more inclined to appreciate than to eviscerate that A-line skirt/liquid leggings/sheath your girlfriends don’t understand.

Aside from the fact that there is truth to the expression “if you want to catch bees, use honey”, this indicates the most fundamental part of any makeover. It has to have a point else it won’t stick. It is the makeover endgame that determines your route.

The woman or man desirous of more money, power, status, respect, fame, love, sex or recognition will have a unique timbre and vibration to their look. It is tailored to bring more of that your way. Here’s why.

Without knowing it, the subliminal messages in your psyche leak out, adapting your look to fit with the thing that is constantly on your mind. So why not make it easy and sharpen this clarity then wear it.

Your body is your single greatest asset

How much your clothes cost is ultimately not very relevant. Fit is king. Fit is determined by your understanding of one simple truth – what is your body shape/type. Not size.

Are you an hourglass, a rectangle, a pear, an apple or a watermelon (because you’re pregnant), petite, lean, curvy. Regardless of what you choose to identify with be it shape or fruit, know it and know it well. Dress your current reality. Not an imaginary feature, a hoped for physical asset or an intuited shape.

Just do it already!

Stop putting off the rudimentary of beauty. You know you need to lose weight, take care of your skin, fix your hair, tweak your wardrobe, sleep more, exercise more, drink less, stop smoking – you know these things are compromising your health.

True beauty is a reflection of good living. There are few things, and I for one cannot think of any at the top of my head, topping life fuelled by good, clean, strong energy. There is a pill to erase years of self-neglect.

It takes more energy and time to recover from a stressful life that it takes to stave off the effects of hard living. It is one thing to have faith in your ability to bounce back. It is quite another to constantly test it.

It’s not rocket science, but it matters

Only a fool says how you look is no longer key to your success. Do you live in this century, the one where scientists are yet to discover a handheld transparency instrument that can be used to verify who you really are within a split second of meeting you? Yes?

When people meet you for the very first time, their response is very visceral, passed down from years of evolution and encapsulated into fight/flee/fright mode which is subliminated into all of two seconds.

It happens so swiftly the human brain processes through files and data accumulated since the beginning of time and the result is an attempt to gauge and explain the wonderful mystery that is you.

The subtlety of this message makes it appear insignificant yet it is upon this house that decisions are built. Who will do this? Well, just about any potential anyone from employers, romantic partners, friends, peers, in-laws to complete strangers.

So get over yourself and start looking like yourself. Fashion many cure cancer but it can be a term paper with a potentially mediocre grade. Or a straight A.