Friday, May 23, 2008

Fashion Your Own Style

by Karen D. Swim

dreamstime_4591582Several years ago I sat visiting with a friend on a hot, lazy August day. As we sat laughing and chatting, her 8 year old daughter emerged from the back of of the house and struck a fierce model pose. She was wearing boldly patterned shorts in colors so vibrant that it felt as though I was peering into a kaleidoscope. She had paired the shorts with a striped top in an entirely different color pattern. My friend beheld her daughter as she stood there smiling, and cried, "You can't wear that!"

"Sure she can," I responded. "Alex, honey, you can pull off anything with the right attitude!"

My friend and I exchanged laughter and Alex went out to play wearing an outfit that entirely reflected her style.

This 8 year old knew something that many adults have not yet learned. Finding your own style may mean fusing different elements to create something that is uniquely you.

fusion In physics when you fuse two light elements they form a heavier nucleus. This is accompanied by the release or absorption of energy. The power that fuels the sun and the stars is nuclear fusion.In fusion cooking you combine widely differing ethnic or regional ingredients, styles, or techniques, such as French Thai. The results can be an amalgam of taste and textures that are bold and flavorful.

Whether you are a writer, accountant or fashion designer you can blend together wildly different elements to create something that reflects you and your individuality. Ellen Wilson wrote a post on unleashing your own personality this week that perfectly illustrates this point.

You don't have to follow a straight line to get to your journey. In fact you can do the whole route on a windy, twisty road with stops along the way. Valerie Gonyea, refused to be boxed in by traditions. This accountant turned recruiter has conducted her career entirely her way.

As you continue to move forward on your journey, do it your way. Mix it up and try different elements to create something entirely different. Just remember to hold your head up high, smile and know that you are better at being you than anyone else can be!

Have you experimented with blending elements in any area of your life. Tell us about your experiences and results in the comments section.

Photo Credit: "Strange Fashion Child" ©Rebecca Abell,


Yvonne Russell said...

Just like Alex, you do things with style, Karen.

Thanks for the reminder to be true to ourselves.

Words For Hire said...

Yvonne, I am smiling like an 8 year old! :-) Thank you so much for the compliment! I believe the world is so much richer when we are true to ourselves. We often think that we can only succeed if we blend in. Have you seen this happen too?

Melissa Donovan said...

I love it when styles are created out of unexpected combinations. Me, I'm not so good at that, especially with fashion (I'm all about jeans and t-shirts). I want to think more about this and contemplate ways to incorporate fusion in my writing. Thanks for the inspiration Karen!

ellen wilson said...

Ha! This looks like my daughter, Carolyn. Yeah, she would dress like that. I might too, minus the blue wig.

Good insight, Karen. I didn't know you were up on physics either. Fusion. Hmmm.

That's true, though. We come across all these different elements and have to somehow fuse them into our own creation. If we don't there is some kind of stagnant monotony.

And fusion can be powerful. I'm thinking of nuclear reactors here.

And I have to admit lately I've taken the Melissa Donovan jeans and t-shirts approach. Oh, I like to dress up, but there is only so many things I can pay attention to at once!

Anonymous said...

We all tend to experiment, though there are some things should never be mixed together. Ever.

Like rap music...and French.

Yoko Ono performing on stage...with anyone.

Deep fried...and soda (yes, it exists!)

Sit coms...snd chimps.

- Friar

Brett Legree said...

I think it is probably best sometimes *not* to follow a straight line, not to play by the rules.

"The rules" have been set up by people who don't play by the rules, to keep the rest of us from getting what they have.

Think about that for a minute.

Then go do something crazy. Fashion your own style. Chart your own course.

That's what we're going to do, right? Can and will.

Anonymous said...

Karen follow up on your fusion analogy and my last comment.

Only certain atoms can be fused together.

Hydrogen, lithium and helium (the simplest lightest atoms) fuse together the easiest.

The more complicated and heavy the atom (magnesium, carbon, etc), the more energy it takes to attain fusion.

Eventually you reach a dead end (i.e. anything heavier than iron won't fuse, no matter what).

Maybe a good metaphor is that when you look for new things to discover, start off with the simplest fundamental building blocks.

If your building blocks are too complicated, it takes more energy to make change, and you end up with diminishing returns.

(Ow...I sprained my brain)! Too much thinking.

That's enough "Insight" from the Friar for today. :-)

- Friar

Kelly said...

Karen, what a great post!

Oh, I am a sucker for mixing it up in so many ways, work and home. In good design, too much harmony is boring. "Matchy-matchy" should be elevated to a sin. There's always got to be one slightly jarring element to keep the eye moving (around a page, around a room, around an outfit). Something soothing in a crazy layout, or something brash in a sophisticated outfit... that's what makes things your own, and what helps people to identify. Too much perfection is overbearing.

Even in writing the blog... before I started I'd hear folks recommending you "leave something out" and I'd think, why? Now I realize, that's the jarring element that keeps a reader interested. Mixing it up, for blog writers.

My daughter was born wearing plaids and florals and checks. At the same time. Yes, the girl in the photo has been raiding my kid's dresser for sure.

Eventually I may to explain to her that you wear them all, then throw in a nice grey wool slack so people know it's intentional mixing. For now, I love her exuberance. :)



Words For Hire said...

@Melissa, I'm with you! In music, dance, fashion, cooking and writing I love a mixture of styles that creates something unexpected. In my own writing I've been experimenting with blending various styles too. Poetry tends to blend nicely with all forms of writing but I'm also blending wildly different elements. It certainly does awaken(or scare!) the muse. :-)

@Ellen, I love that children are not yet inhibited by style rules. Go Carolyn! Mix it up! Ha, I don't know a lot about physics! You know how writers are we dabble so we we know a little about a lot of things. :-) Although my medical knowledge is pretty darn impressive. :-)

@Friar, ROFL! Let's not forget Madonna and acting. :-) Blending these two things can be hazardous to your health, although gotta give her props for her amazing body!

@Brett, I love learning rules and then bending them until they almost break. :-) I'm not a law breaker but I can bend a rule like Gumby. It's funny that many of the things people accept as a "rule" is really just how one person did it. We're here to show people that you can color in the lines, over them, around them or erase them entirely. Can and will. Chanting it with you my kilted friend.

@Friar, yes you're right but I didn't want to get overly complicated and have people thinking I'd gone to the dark side. :-) Don't you love creative license? Besides, we write these things so that you will come and comment, enlighten us and make us laugh. I did good, eh? :-)

@Kelly, I love your style! It comes through so clearly in your writing. We used to make fun of boring people and their matchy matchy attitudes and clothes, we called them Garanimals (after the children's clothing line). With my clothes and home I like to throw in something totally wild just to mix it up. Life is so much more interesting that way, don't you think? Your daughter sounds like one sharp cookie, gee could she have gotten that from her mom? She takes out the trash and has her own style! I can see her taking the world by storm. Sounds like she and Ellen's daughter would be great pals. It will be so cool if we can all meet one day...Algonquin anyone?

Brett Legree said...

LOL I sure am glad I didn't wear the kilt last night... I hit 8 km in about an hour, which is right on the pace I want to set.

Yes, blind acceptance of the rules even when they are flawed or too limiting is a bad thing. You can always follow the spirit but not the letter as long as it all works out.

Hope you're having a good day - Brett

Words For Hire said...

@Brett, congrats! That's a good pace and you are ramping up quite nicely. Is that your comfortable pace or race pace? I'm still struggling with my ITB so am not pushing high miles right now. I round out running with yoga, weights and jump rope. With gas prices soaring, I'll also be riding my bike instead of driving. :-)

Brett Legree said...


Thanks! (hope it didn't sound too much like bragging...) that is my comfortable pace, I used to run 11 km/h in normal shoes.

Hey, you've got a well rounded program yourself. And I hear you about gas prices. I'm learning about hypermiling with my car right now to see how much I can save...


jamiegrove said...

I've struggled for years to keep my writing live and my computer live separate. They just never seemed to go together and I always worried about being "pure"... (whatever that means)

I'm in the process of merging these two aspects of my life and I'll have to say that I not only feel more productive, I'm having more fun doing both.

Great post, Karen! Now if I could only be more successful merging my wacky ideas in fiction... ;)