We can try to dress up as something that we are not, but it will never look as stunning as when we embrace our true essence.
Have you ever wondered how an item can look absolutely stunning on one person but completely dreadful and wrong on someone else? And how can it be that some people look radiant in just a pair of jeans and a simple t-shirt while some look like a complete mess?
Style essence is about our core self and our physical characteristics and what complements and harmonises with our unique and special vibe, in other words, style essences are different types of beauty.
It's a bit hard to grasp, I know, but If you have ever had a colour analysis done for example, you know that the colour season you belong to will be the season that best mirrors your natural colour palette (hair, eyes, skin tone in other words your overall appearance) The colours that will look the best on you are the ones that goes with your natural appearance and that compliments you and looks harmonious on you. If you for example are a Winter and you have a very high contrast in your own natural appearance, the colours that look the most harmonious on you will be the dark, strong and vibrant colours, the ones with the same characteristics as your natural colour palette.
Take Anne Hathway for example, she is a striking winter and her style essence I would say is a blend of Natural, Classic and Romantic. Her curvy and feminine figure (yin) makes her suit body con dresses especially well. To the left she is wearing, not only the wrong colours, way too soft on her and doesn't work with her strikingly strong features but rather against them, but also a look that just feels very wrong on her and not flattering at all. On the right hand though Anne looks strikingly beautiful in a very harmonious way since both the colours and the clothes she is wearing is working with her.
This is a brilliant example of how our physical characteristics will make a certain item or style look either harmonious or just simply wrong. And it is not about the "fruit body shape" analysis, which is an analysis performed to identify where there is disproportion and how to simulate proportion.
The style essence is about the real shape and angle and finding what harmonises with that. Its putting a finger on that kind of beauty and sort of vibe that each person communicates and mirror that with the clothing.
Above another example of when it's right and below of when it's wrong. It doesn't really have to do with personality but more about that special something that we all have and that we carry in our appearance and that decides wether something is working or not.
Zendaya looks striking in bold and dramatic lines. Even her hair has that sharpness that really makes her stand out and still look in harmony with herself and her look.
Below a few examples of when Zendaya doesn't respect her style essence. She still looks good but she doesn't look great and that strikingly Zendaya effect is suddenly gone and she looks less like herself and not so in harmony with her look. Her overall appearance changes and her body language is less powerful. Its like what makes her really special has been taken away from her.
What is Style Essence then?
A style essence is practically all that we are, from how our hair falls to how we walk and talk and move. On some people it is more dominant and easy to spot than on others. But just because it feels difficult to articulate your very special essence doesn't means its not there because we all have one. Identifying our style essence and embracing it will be like finding that last piece of puzzle. And you will get there, don't worry:)
It's difficult to point out someones style essence but you know it when you see it and it’s obvious when it’s missing. When someone dresses in a way that captures their essence they look amazing and also complete and they sort of bring their look to life. On the contrary, and even if the shape they're wearing is a perfect match to their body type, a person who doesn’t dress for their essence will look wrong and incomplete.
Style essences are about repeating that natural inner core of you in your clothing to achieve a harmonious look. To give you a couple of more examples.
Above is Lady Gaga when she respects her true essence and below when she does not.
It is not about which look is the most beautiful but rather about the kind of clothing that looks harmonious on Lady Gaga. She doesn’t look like herself in the girly swirly dresses that makes her look somewhat separated from her clothes. In contrast, the oversized, straight-cut look compliment Lady Gaga beautifully and looks harmonious on her. This is because Lady Gaga's essence is bold and fierce and dramatic and not innocent and girly and cute.
To give you another example:
Above is Anya Taylor-Joy when she does not respects her true essence and below when she does.
Anya Taylor-Joy possesses a sort of angelic essence and looks amazing in softer materials with a flow. The heavy fabrics and bold straight cuts doesn't do her justice and are weighing her down and taking from her instead of giving to her. She is a perfect example of someone with an angelic style essence that looks trapped in the heaviness of a more bold and dramatic look. Style essence is all about finding that right match for each and everyones core essence.
We're either square or circle
Most style essence theories are rooted in the ancient Tao principle of yin and yang. The definitions of yin and yang vary slightly from theory to theory, but they essentially have the following meanings:
Yin: small, delicate, round, soft, gentle, flowing, light, low-contrast, graceful, youthful
Yang: large, angular, long, striking, dark, high-contrast, strong/firm, dignified, powerful
The shapes that best represent yin and yang are the circle and the square. Meaning that we are either circle or square.
Based on this principle, yang shapes are more angular and feature sharp edges, whereas yin shapes tend to be more rounded and soft. So some people have sharper appearances, while others appear rounder.
If we look back at the examples, we could say that Anya Taylor-Joy has predominantly yin qualities in her appearance, while Lady Gaga has yang qualities. Anya's appearance is softer and rounder, and Lady Gaga's is sharper and more angular.
The same goes for clothing. Clothing lines can be sharp and angular, and they can be soft and flowing, and of course with all kinds of variations in-between.
So, the yin and yang helps us understand the difference of the essences on a scale from strikingly bold to more innocent and mystical. Historically yang is representing masculinity and yin femininity. And although there is a significant difference between yang's more masculine, sharp and hard lines and yin's more soft, round and feminine lines, all essences are beautiful in there own way and not one is better or more beautiful than the other, they are simply different types of beauty.
When I mentioned earlier that style personality seems like something added on or something that we choose, I was referring especially to what happens when we make the wrong choice. Let's say someone with. a yang essence wishes to appear more fragile and innocent and therefore takes on the innocent romantic style personality. Instead of managing to actually changing their appearance they will only appear wrong. This would be a brilliant case of the clothes not going hand in hand with the essence but rather against it and causing confusion.
What differs a style personality from a style essence then?
While a style essence is easily explained by the kind of vibe someone is giving off, a style personality is the essence converted into a personal style and expressed through the way we dress. Our Style personality is our very own personal brand and it should be just as complex and surprising like we are, but not like everyone else, but rather in our own special way.
We can look at style essence as ingredients and style personality as the finished product. One being the fundamental base for the other.
I often think of life as a theater stage. Every day we can play a new role in a new play and it can be constantly changing. Just because we one day is playing a feminine role in a romantic play doesn't mean we cant be bold and edgy in our next play:) The secret to making this work though is to always stay true to our core style essence and making it ours.
Staying true to our core style essence
With staying true to our core style essence I refer to making it ours and not just copying someone else's style but rather letting ourselves be inspired but making sure we make it "us".
There are different ways of being for example romantic. Being drawn to a romantic style doesn't say wether that is a more mature and sensual sort of romantic or a more girly, cute and innocent kind. Looking at ourselves from a yin and yang perspective might help us understand what suits us best. If we find our essence on the yang side then probably the more mature and sensual kind of romantic will suit us better since it will mirror better our boldness.
So, its not just about figuring out what our stye essence is but also figuring out what we are drawn to and if it goes hand in hand with our essence and how to make it "us".
And, putting our finger on what's unique and special about ourselves and what we are actually drawn to and like, can be hard to do. I think a lot of people hesitate about their style because they think they have to pick one when they will most likely be a mix.
It can be hard to see ourselves with fresh eyes and to identify those things that actually forms our style and makes us special. I believe it all starts with being completely true and honest to ourselves, which is another thing that is always not completely easy to do. Ask yourself how you really want to look and feel. What are you drawn to? Is it perhaps a style you like but feel insecure about trying out? Maybe its actually your true essence calling you:)
We may be confused or held back from actually getting access to what the true inner us feels.
Your style personality and what's your unique and personal style has nothing to do with the trends.
The trends come and go but your style essence and your style personality stays the same. This doesn't mean you can't hop on a trend, of course you can, although, knowing your style you are likely to take that trend and make it yours instead of just copying a style. Do you see the difference?.
Fashion should never be limiting. Nor should our style be. Fashion is presence, its an attitude and a way of expression. It’s a language in itself and it gives us the freedom to explore who we want to be and who we truly are. Because in ourselves, without the clothes speaking, we already posses a very strong language. We are in ourselves already either mysterious, gentle, feminine, bold, sensual, masculine etc. The style that we will feel most comfortable in is the one mirroring and complementing our natural essence.
Stay tuned for my coming blogs about different types of style essences:)