(Tenth of a series)

“… As within, so without…”  —Hermes Trismegistus

WHILE appearances may deceive, more often than not, what you are is reflected on the outside.

Becoming your own style icon does not mean maxing out your credit cards just to follow the latest fashion trends.  Don’t do it. It’s a fool’s errand. You can never get caught up with it anyway. Fashion, like technology, will push the latest trend just to keep and grow market share. It’s all about money and profits. Who says you have to buy every season’s new fashion? Don’t let those so-called fashion Nazis dictate how you dress.

First, get comfortable in your own skin. Focus on the positive features and accept and mitigate what you consider as flaws. Then find the style that suits you — something well within your means and makes you comfortable and confident while you do the things you love to do, or in many cases, have to do, on a daily basis.

Experiment with the clothes you already have in your closet. Chances are, with the exception of underwear, you probably have all you need. Test combinations of cut, color, texture and style. Take a photo of the combinations that work for you and make you feel good and confident. Browse through magazines and pick a few that appeal to your own sense of who you are.

Stick to the time-tested classics and it is more than likely, you will hit the bullseye of being your own style icon. Dump the Hollywood look. Entertainment industry stylists push trends that are flashy, show far too much skin and wobbly, jiggly bits of flesh. Notice how they almost have the same cookie cutter look and the same frozen faces botoxed to the max? No, you don’t want to go there.

Keep mixing and matching.  Discard the ones you know in your gut you will never, ever use. Reclaim valued space in the closet. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. There is no fashion police to issue you a ticket. Pretty soon, you will know in your gut the look that telegraphs who you are without saying a word.

You’ve heard it before. “Dress for success! Dress to impresss!” Or that famous line:  “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!” (Okay, I am going off tangent here.) But the point is you must regard slogans with a bit of caution.

Catchy rhyming slogans are not necessarily true. Discernment is key. When you dress to impress, you will simply get stressed trying to top each ensemble you put together with the next one.  Your ego becomes the driver plus your wallet is lighter. Life is just too short to obsess on this matter.

The focus becomes the dress not on how your style makes you comfortable allowing you to function without having to fuss preening all day in front of a mirror. The right style projects the person quite easily, making you your own unique style icon. There may be clones of you, but no one is quite like you. God and your choices make it so.

If you work for an organization, it means you have to blend your style and comply with the company dress code. Looking professional and competent is key. Remember that as an employee, you are a reflection of the company you work for.

If casual jeans and tees are the norm in the company or because the nature of your work requires you to be holed up all day in some obscure cubicle and does not have to face the public, then wear them. It doesn’t mean, however, that you are required to dress down at all times.

Predictability is boring. From time to time, make an effort to look really good just to make yourself feel good. Why buy clothes and let them hang by their lonesome in the closet? Believe it or not, it does your psyche good to receive compliments from time to time, particularly on down days.

Do you know what is the cherry on top of a unique style icon?

It’s a killer smile. A smile that comes from your eyes is a light bulb that dispels darkness and negativity. It is essentially a sneak preview of the wellspring of goodness and love busting to get out from within you.

Next week:  Back to yet another idea to consider for The Bucket List …

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Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comments, e-mail monette.maglaya@asianjournalinc.com

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