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Finding Your Personal Style, Lesson 1: Fashion Fades, Style is Eternal

Finding Your Personal Style, Lesson 1: Fashion Fades, Style is Eternal

A lot of people (some I know personally, some I have just heard of, and some I know exist out there) define style by what you put on your back, the label of your shoes, or the name of your bag. This is not just thinking for those who know nothing about fashion or style except for being able to read price tags. It’s sad, and this kind of behavior beats the unique fashion world with all its powers and inspirations and possibilities to the ground by simply dismissing the process of getting to know yourself and transporting your inner self to your clothes.
Fashion is the only language that works in a global range without the necessity of using words to transport a message, set a statement or show your colors. Style is a dialect of fashion, and finding your own style is a process that takes time and effort and an open mind — to evolve, to develop, to grow, to change, to find yourself and analyze your true motives and purposes in life.

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Burberry A/W 12/13
    Elie Saab A/W 12/13
      Alexander McQueen S/S 13

        Throughout the history of fashion we meet graceful ladies such as Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Princess Diana, as well as elegant gentlemen like Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, and James Dean and memorable designers like Yves (Henri Donat Mathieu-) Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and Gabrielle “Coco” (Bonheur) Chanel. All those icons taught us one thing above many others—Fashion fades, while true Style remains eternal, AND Style comes from within oneself. It is the essence of who we are, who we want to be and how we want to be seen by others. It is something you either own, or you don’t, obviously. Sometimes, style is something we inherit, if our mothers or fathers or icons help us to find and define ourselves from early on. Those of us who do not get that chance, like myself, with a mother who was hardly able to pick a sweater that matched any of her pants in color or fabric, have to pull themselves together to find out who they are and what kind of style fits their personality.

        I don’t want to imply that when it comes to fashion I am as impeccable as Leona Lewis’ voice, but, between you and me, (and because I am totally aware of having my bad moments too) I am quite fabulous and I love what I do. To me, there is nothing as beautiful and reckless and crazy and immortal and self-defining as fashion. What gets me out of bed every morning is the chance to put together an outfit that makes me feel like I can (never just could) conquer the world. And this is the exact feeling I want you to have, learn, live, when you read my Style section here on lifehack.org. I want you to feel good about yourself and I want you to learn how to dress that way and to fall in love with whatever you want to put on your back because a cardinal rule of shopping suggests, “If you don’t love it in the store, you’re never going to wear it!”

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        So, let’s start finding ourselves by a simple set of rules we go through in this section. I don’t just want to give you orders in what to wear where—that’s not my place and not my right. In the end, I don’t know you and therefore, I can’t tell you what clothes to chose BUT I can help you to learn to know yourself in order to dress better and realize that everything you have inside regarding your motivations, emotions, ambivalences, problems, joys, characteristics, should show in what you wear. Just as Greek sage and philosopher Epictetus said, “Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.”

        But to understand what adorning accordingly really means one has to understand the differences of everything in fashion, from trend to evergreen. So, I say, “Learn what is available out there to adorn yourself with, first, while you get to know who you are and then, apply whatever you’ve been taught.” Yeah, that’s more like it nowadays.

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        Lesson #1: Fashion fades, Style is eternal.

        I know, this is a rather often-misused quotation but bottom line is that it’s true. Basically, this one lesson, our first one, is to understand the difference between what is a current trend and what is something that will last forever to be a faithful companion along the road to fashion nirvana. There are trend pieces, basics, evergreens and investment pieces. The perfect wardrobe consists of each, though I recommend to buy more evergreens and investment pieces, as those are the true survivors of time and changes because they go with it and adapt no matter the time, no matter the change.
        As said before, a lot of people stupidly mistake buying labels for having style. But trust me—it hurts far more to look ridiculously stupid in a $5,000 Louis Vuitton dress than in a $40 H&M one.
        At this point of time it’s crucial to quote Patricia Field, costume designer of our beloved Sex and the City, who said that, “You can’t get caught up by ‘is it expensive, is it a designer?’ It’s our eye that chooses and really, it doesn’t matter where it comes from.”And she is right—whatever you lay your eyes on, whatever you buy, whatever you fall in love remember one thing; if you don’t love it in the store, you are never going to wear it, and what’s really the sense in buying something just because it’s Prada or Bottega Veneta or Burberry, if you can’t commit to it one hundred percent? The relationship between yourself and your clothes should be as close as the relationship you have with a love interest—possibly even closer and deeper because in the end, a Prada dress or a pair of Burberry boots or that one H&M military jacket will never break your heart.

        If you love something, stand behind it. It is what it is. Some people simply can’t afford the luxury of buying everything Chanel or Louis Vuitton and there’s no reason to be ashamed of that. Be proud of what you have and what you are able to treat yourself with. If you have style, you can rock H&M just like others might rock Prada. Truly, it is all about the confidence you inherit and radiate.

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        Bottom line: Care about your style and the message you want to transport with the way you dress, and NOT the label.

        XO — Robert

        More by this author

        Finding Your Personal Style, Lesson #3: Create Your Own Visual Style Finding Your Personal Style, Lesson #2: Changing Your Style, One Sequin at a Time Finding Your Personal Style, Lesson 1: Fashion Fades, Style is Eternal

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        Last Updated on March 13, 2019

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

        You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

        Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

        1. Work on the small tasks.

        When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

        Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

        2. Take a break from your work desk.

        Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

        Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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        3. Upgrade yourself

        Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

        The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

        4. Talk to a friend.

        Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

        Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

        5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

        If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

        Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

        Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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        6. Paint a vision to work towards.

        If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

        Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

        Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

        7. Read a book (or blog).

        The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

        Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

        Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

        8. Have a quick nap.

        If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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        9. Remember why you are doing this.

        Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

        What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

        10. Find some competition.

        Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

        Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

        11. Go exercise.

        Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

        Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

        As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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        Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

        12. Take a good break.

        Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

        Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

        Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

        Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

        More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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