I’ve worked in fashion or some sort of home goods (which is really fashion for your living space) industry for thirty years now. I’ve always felt that creating brands and clothes and other material things is an everyday way to help people feel good. A brand provides an experience whether in a store, catalog or online through photography and sound and touch and smell. A piece of clothing provides a feeling of femininity or power or comfort, or fill-in-the-blank. I was always and continue to be fascinated by psychology and the human experience of relating to one another. Our appearance has a dramatic effect on how we relate to others and others to us. I recall having to analyze characters in novels and write about how their physical appearance effects their perspective on the world and how others perceive them. It is fascinating to consider how ones’ life might be different if they looked entirely different yet everything else remained the same.
Anyone who dismisses how we dress and present ourselves as superficial or silly is just simply missing one of the most obvious realities of human interactions. The way we dress not only effects how we feel but how others around us feel. There are endless examples of this – a jacket for a power meeting, a sexy dress for a night out, lighter blues and neutrals for confrontational people. This is my favorite example. My good friend, Jackie, does a lot of things. One of them is being an ombudsman. After witnessing the poor care of her mother while in hospice she was passionate about providing advocacy for elderly who are in nursing homes or hospice. She volunteers her time getting to know them and advocating for them at their facilities. After her first few months of visiting patients she started to notice that their responses to her dramatically improved, showing signs of joy, when she wore bright colors. Everything else was the same – her voice, her body, her make-up, her energy. The only difference was color. So, Jackie now dresses in bright tops and wears bright jewelry during her volunteer hours with the elderly. What a simply beautiful way to bring joy into lives who need it most.
So, what do women want? I believe that while fashion magazines and many fashion brands assume that women want to “copy” a look that this is fundamentally not the case. While it is super fun to look at unusually tall, thin, photogenic women in really cool looking clothes that most of us can never wear, it’s really entertainment not informative. The most interesting women are the ones we know and can think of throughout history who stand out as distinctive and authentic. Diane Keaton, Princess Diana, Bridget Bardot, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O, Meryl Streep, fill-in-the-blank. Then there’s SJP who gets a girl-you-are-all-over-the-map-and-it-works-perfectly nod for daily re-invention. These women appear to be authentically themselves. If they are not they do a damn good job looking like it!
I truly believe what women want, consciously or not, is a unique personal style that reflects their true, authentic selves. It is our life’s work to get to know ourselves and our true desire is to show up as that unique self in the way we appear, communicate and feel every day. Additionally, we all want others to understand us and usually we want to bring some result out of an interaction, fundamentally we want people to relate and respond well to us. This is lifelong work for most of us, and it evolves over time. It’s an endless process. This understanding and belief inspires my vision to bring unique looks and expert help in finding them to create and evolve personal style.
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This post was written by nedra