Strange Love: 3 Ways to Look More Unique
Monday again! What a week! In case you've been wondering where all the blogging and Instagramming has gone, I had to be rushed to urgent care last Wednesday for a freak migraine-cum-panic attack. I had never had either of those afflictions before, and I was seeing things, shaking, puking, and losing feeling in my fingers at the height of it all. Thanks to my brilliant and resourceful client (yes, this happened at work!), I received great care and was able to recuperate this weekend and catch up on clients...
... but that means I don't have any of the outfit photos I'd planned to share with you. So instead, I want to share some thoughts from a few conversations with friends and clients on how to create a unique and personal look amidst a sea of ever-changing trends.
What does it mean to be unique?
Sometimes magazines and blogs conflate the idea of uniqueness with very loud, over the top, or edgy styles. Those things can all be very fresh and different, but personal style can be quiet and subtle, too. Being "unique" simply means being the only one of your kind - and the good news is that you're already totally unique, because you're the only YOU! And your inner quirks and quibbles (i.e. the things that make you unlike other people) are the perfect jumping-off points for creating a truly individual look.
1. Wear stuff that others can't get.
Most of the clothes made in today's society are mass-produced by big retail chains - which means that thousands upon thousands of people out there have the exact same stuff - which in turn means that you can look instantly more unique simply by avoiding big mall chains in favor of locally-made, custom-made, hand-made, specially curated, or pre-owned items. Sometimes this translates into a big price tag, but sometimes it just means a lot of elbow grease and patience browsing at thrift stores. If a look is hard to get, then it follows that fewer people will have it.
2. Wear stuff that others wouldn't expect.
This basically means to think outside the box and all the prescribed labels that are placed on the products in our lives. Cross the great divide and shop from the mens' section of the boutique. Pick up some unexpected "jewelry" at the hardware store. Wear sneakers with your ball gown. Turn your blouse upside down and backward. The further your look is from actual clothes, the fewer the people who will be wearing it.
3. Wear stuff that others won't like.
This is at once the easiest and the most difficult piece of advice that I tend to give, because we all generally want our friends and family to like how we look. But what makes us truly unique is what's on the inside, so creating a unique look often starts with a strange love. Do you have a strange love for death metal music? A secret passion for poodle prints? An inexplicable yen for hideous tapestry fabrics? Don't be afraid to embrace what everyone else dislikes - because honestly, next season, it might be the next big thing (Cat Lady trend, I am looking at you).
Individuality and conformity operate on a sliding scale - and most people will want to display signs of both attributes. If you look too radically individualistic, you might come across as un-relatable and unpredictable - but if you look too radically conformist, you might come across as completely boring or even secretive. The trick is to find a balance within your dress codes and social contexts that accurately represents you.