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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 January 21, 2020

        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

        Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

        your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

          Why You Need a Vision

          Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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          How to Create Your Life Vision

          Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

          What Do You Want?

          The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

          It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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          Some tips to guide you:

          • Remember to ask why you want certain things
          • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
          • Give yourself permission to dream.
          • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
          • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

          Some questions to start your exploration:

          • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
          • What would you like to have more of in your life?
          • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
          • What are your secret passions and dreams?
          • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
          • What do you want your relationships to be like?
          • What qualities would you like to develop?
          • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
          • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
          • What would you most like to accomplish?
          • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

          It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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          What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

          Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

          A few prompts to get you started:

          • What will you have accomplished already?
          • How will you feel about yourself?
          • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
          • What does your ideal day look like?
          • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
          • What would you be doing?
          • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
          • How are you dressed?
          • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
          • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
          • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

          It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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          Plan Backwards

          It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

          • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
          • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
          • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
          • What important actions would you have had to take?
          • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
          • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
          • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
          • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
          • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

          Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

          It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

          Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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