Are you a diva or a damsel? Decode your fashion persona and turn it around to your advantage
Clothes make the man, said Mark Twain.
Indeed they do, and they make women, too.
For the vast majority of humanity’s history, clothes served a functional purpose. They kept us warm in cold weather and protected us from the elements and other nasties year-round. But ever since civilization dawned, we have been wearing clothes to make a point.
Kings and emperors have always dressed differently than peasants. And what has changed now? We still expect somebody wearing a rich winter coat and diamonds to be a rich person. Wrinkled cotton shirts with a hole here or there are still the preserve of minimum wage workers.
It may be unfair to judge people by what they wear but it happens all the time; judging people based on their appearance is how humans are primed.
The uncomfortable truth is also that the way you dress does indeed say a lot about you. In the daily course of things many people are often rather dismissive toward fashion and style, but we respectfully disagree.
Clothes don’t have to be all about vanity; they can also be a tool to know yourself better. Everything that you say and do makes you open to interpretation by others. Thankfully, with clothes, you can direct that interpretation more often than not.
In this post we look at how to decode your fashion persona based on how you dress and how to turn it around to your advantage.
What do the clothes you wear say about your personality?
Here’s an exercise that might help you: If you were to run into someone of your gender, age, and socioeconomic background, who was also dressed exactly the way you do on any given day, what would you make of that person?
Take out a pen and paper, or your smartphone, and jot down a few short sentences or adjectives that pop into your head. Don’t think too much, we are looking for first impressions and instant reactions.
To get you started, your impressions could be among the following:
- Neither here, nor there
- Can’t dress to save her life
- Seems to have a very good idea of what flatters her
- Too flashy
- Nothing head-turning
- …and so on.
Be as specific and non-judgmental as you can and detail your reasons later on.
Some more questions to ask yourself:
- Is she always dressed like this?
- Does she simply not care or is she having an off day today?
- What does she wear on special occasions?
- What are her best features and how does she play them up?
Think these through. If you were to give her any beauty or sartorial advice, what would that be?
And then all you have to do is to apply the knowledge thus gathered to your own self.
The most important fashion question to ask yourself is – what is it doing for me?
Colors, textures, styles, and cuts, they all have as much of a personality as you do. So to follow on from the questions asked in the previous section and the answers yielded by them, you need to now focus on what would look good on you.
The next time you put on a piece of clothing, ask yourself this: What is it doing for me?
And then some more:
Is this article of clothing making me look good? Is it too bold for my taste? Would I feel more at home in a subdued color? What about the cut? Is it making me look fat (yes, it can)? Can I layer this with something to make it look slightly better? Am I too blingy tonight? This top is extremely sexy, will I be able to handle all the attention it brings me? Why do I have so many blacks in my wardrobe?
Be unsparing in your honesty and detailed in your assessment. Self-awareness is the first step toward decoding/cultivating personal style. Even in sheer practical terms it is better to be self-aware than not because whatever you put on will say something or the other about you anyway, so you might as well be in control of that narrative.
The difference between the Diva and the Damsel
The former is completely in control of what she wears, and has a solid reason to put on each and everything that she does put on. She seems to have a strong instinct about what to choose and how to flatter her looks the most.
The damsel, on the other hand, looks out of sorts more often than not. Like someone who needs to be rescued from silly wardrobes, a plethora of retail options, the uncertainty about what flatters her and if she should go for it. She is easily overwhelmed by choices, while the diva stays strong and secure in the knowledge of what suits her the best.
The purpose of the questions listed thus far in this post is for you to gain that knowledge; decode what you wear, what you would like to wear, what would actually suit you, and to have enough of the right items in your wardrobe.
Let’s go for the jugular now: If you had your ideal, most flattering wardrobe, completely personalized to your daily needs and moods, what would it look like?
Make that a life mantra and apply it whenever you are trying things out or shopping.
Don’t just pick anything up, ask yourself why you are doing it. What does the thing you have fallen for actually do for you? Why are you going for high heels when they do nothing but make you conscious about your stocky legs? Put down anything that does not flatter you and get started on building that ideal wardrobe of yours, piece by piece, accessory by accessory.
Be aware of your inner talk
It is quite an interesting loop. We slip on something based on our subconscious talk. Then based on how we look in that, our subconscious narrative about us is reinforced. It may or may not be accurate but becomes a habit without us even noticing it, which is why we highly recommend being mindful of what you put on and also about how your subconscious reacts to it (if it does).
Is there a style that you tend to gravitate to that your conscious mind does not quite approve of? Those are the patterns we want to break. You need to bring alignment between what you think looks good on you and what actually does look good on you.
For all you know you could be a diva in the making already but for your laziness and set thought patterns about how nothing except black flatters you. You may also display a deep ignorance of your body shape. Fortunately these are just mental patterns that can be broken with a little bit of awareness and knowledge, and replaced with healthier attitudes for a more fashionable you.