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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 September 16, 2019

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

        We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

        The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

        Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

        1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

        Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

        For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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        • (1) Research
        • (2) Deciding the topic
        • (3) Creating the outline
        • (4) Drafting the content
        • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
        • (6) Revision
        • (7) etc.

        Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

        2. Change Your Environment

        Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

        One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

        3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

        Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

        Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

        My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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        Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

        4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

        If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

        Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

        I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

        5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

        I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

        Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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        As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

        6. Get a Buddy

        Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

        I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

        7. Tell Others About Your Goals

        This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

        For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

        8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

        What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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        9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

        If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

        Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

        10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

        Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

        Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

        11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

        At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

        Reality check:

        I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

        More About Procrastination

        Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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