It’s only clothes…or is it?

In general, fashion is important because it reflects every culture in the world. It was a way to create different social groups and differentiate according to your status (I am not saying that this is a good thing but it is what it is). Our first clothes existed to protect our body from harm and cold. It slowly turned into an industry – from jewellery to shoes and clothes. We do not wear the same clothes through the centuries so fashion trends have always been a thing. I do think that some people feel overwhelmed when it comes to fashion because it is FAST and trends are shorter but it is just following our digital world…where everything goes faster.

As of now, fashion is still a means of recognition of your status or social group in a way of self-expression – you can either choose to play with it or let others decide what your outfit tells about you. More than self-expression, fashion is a means of self-empowerment and confidence. My clothes change something in me – sometimes I feel more comfortable, confident with myself because I am wearing a specific pair of shoes or an outfit. You simply must know that going on a shopping trip to find new outfits is SELF CARE with a hint of pampering yourself. This builds confidence and allows you to say to the world – ‘This is me, here I am and I am who I am’!

‘Shoes transform your body language and attitude. They lift you physically and emotionally’ Christian Louboutin

Because the fashion industry is very much aware of how clothes can make you feel so much better about yourself, designers like Alessandro Michele for Gucci – and the way he plays with androgeny – and Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, turned the fashion show into a feminist protest. By far the most significant move of all was the rise of the plus-size model Ashley Graham for Dior.

Opening our minds and changing beauty standards in our society, fashion evolves with our world and reacts to our current history and to our constant globalization. Fashion should be THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE, your calling card, the way you telegraph your feelings, an expression of personality and sense of aesthetics. It connects us with other women or men. So when someone asks me what I do or when they say ‘you just pick out clothes for people?’, I smile – it is so much more!

 The women’s wear industry is valued at 621 billion dollars a year with men’s fashion hitting 402 billion dollars, bridal wear at 57 billion dollars and sports footwear is valued at 90.4 billion dollars annually. Clothes are very important to us and fashion proves that we refuse to throw on just any old thing; these figures have those among us who study human behaviour completely fascinated. They now acknowledge the silent language of fashion and style, that it sends a message without saying a word, it can show how you feel, where you are going or what you are trying to achieve and it can be used as a form of escapism. Without fashion, style could not exist!

So what do your clothes say about your personality? Well, do you stay in gym clothes long after the gym? Do you love spandex? Do you prefer your NIKE runners over a gorgeous pair of shoes? Obviously, you are a sporty gal, or wait for it; you want to pretend that you are! Chances are you are confident (this increases the fitter that you get), easy-going, optimistic, focused and you need to be a leader (you simply will not entertain the idea of being a follower).

Often described as ‘girly’, do you actively seek out very ‘feminine’ style pieces? Do you like florals, lace, hearts, ruffles and pastel colours like lavender and pink? You, my dear, are a hopeless romantic; you love cuddling up with a romance novel or get excited about the latest ‘chick flick. The beauty of this personality type is that you like to look like a woman and be treated like a lady. You are thoughtful, have an eye for art and beauty, smile when you walk by a couple holding hands and often can’t hide your feelings.

Are you a classic ‘girl next door’? Do you have a no frills approach to your clothing? And, perhaps, to life in general? You will be seen around town and around the house in a simple fitted t-shirt and killer jeans, always focusing on fit more than frills. Sometimes referred to as a tomboy, you like to keep things clean and simple. You like black, white, beige grey and you are low on drama. You are dependable, kind, real and fun.

Do you like to make a statement? Do you love bright colours and prints? Do you wear them confidently? Then you are the make a statement style! You lean towards clothing that says..’Over here!’ The vibrant hues and bold prints reflect the inner confidence that you have. You are all woman and hear hr roar. You are charismatic, artistic, outspoken but well-spoken and self-assured.

Do you love the wind blowing in your hair? Does it make you feel wild and free? Are you spontaneous with your clothing? Your outfits are always new and exciting yet you do ‘not’ follow fashion or style rules. You will wear lace with fringe – and rock it completely. You just love wide-leg pants and you look amazing in them. You are bohemian, carefree, a creative thinker, enthusiastic and the kind of friend who will keep life interesting!

Are you a trend-setter? Do you know your style? Do you switch your wardrobe regularly? Do you always look like you just stepped off a runway? You just always know what looks good and what doesn’t…you never waste your time or money on clothes that you will not wear. You are connected, helpful, loyal, organised and a great friend.

Do you love hiking boots and plaid shirts? Do you save up for the most expensive water-proof jacket? Are you comfortable in the country and you like your clothing to reflect that? Then you are homestead chic. You are resourceful, neighbourly, energetic, great fun, productive and determined.

There you go …Which type are you? Realistically speaking, most of us float between a few of these types, depending on our humour or life stage. One thing for sure though, isn’t it interesting that our clothing is so closely tied to our personality? What causes so many problems for people is that they try to dress for a personality type that they most certainly are not! You get it very right when you appreciate who you are and dress accordingly. 

I cannot finish without talking about leather boots. I just adore them but I’m also very picky. This season we are spoiled because there are beautiful boots everywhere. Don’t leave it to late to buy your signature boots…you deserve a treat now! 

Louise O'Dwyer

Louise O'Dwyer is an Image consultant based in West Cork

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