Monday, June 2, 2014

How DO You Tell Your Story?

    I made a pretty emphatic pronouncement a few days back about telling your story with Attire. I meant it and I still do.  But how do you go about doing that in a conscious, thoughtful way, without bashing people over the head or turning yourself into a cartoon?  If the idea here is to present your essential truths and aspirations, then diluting the message seems wrongheaded. But turning your message into a visual scream is not very appealing to most, either. Where is the balance point?
    To get to the crux of this seeming conundrum, first you have to come to a clear understanding of what exactly you want to present about yourself. Naturally, for most of us, that is not exactly an easy prospect; but getting as clear as may be is the first best step.
    I'm going to go ahead and use myself as a point of reference for this, since I know what my motivations and choices were for the event and outfit that I will discuss.
    I was invited, some weeks back, to an industry event called Fashtech, which was about fashion and technology, and was going to have ample opportunity for networking.  Now I am a man of a certain age, working my way into this milieu, so what I wore needed to state with clarity that I was able to talk the talk with the rest of the (far younger) crowd.  I also figured, rightly as it happens, that a lot of people would default to black as an easy way to go.
    So, starting at the bottom here's what I did.  Shoes are important. Every woman knows this, and in an industry dominated by women a man is a fool if he ignores that fact.  I chose a pair of gunmetal gray metallic leather shoes with black toes.
My socks were purple.  Now, you know that I am a kilt wearing guy, but of late I have been re-introducing pants into the mix, and this evening I wore a pair of brilliant red, trim cut ones. Why?  Well, you'll understand as we move upwards.
My shirt was a lightweight black knit one with a cross fronted hood/cowl. And I wore that with a bolero style black jacket that is a go to of mine that looks like tooled leather.  Final touches?  Peeking out from under the cowl of my shirt was a costume jewelry necklace of Indian design I had gotten for a costume I intended to make but haven't gotten to yet. It has red, purple, and clear stones in it, in a gold finished metal mounting. And I had a simple black belt.
    So to sum this up, I did the black to create a connection point with me and the others in the room, since its easy to digest; the red to draw the eye, and indicate I can be on point with trend; and two widely separated accessories, one to break up the mass of black and connect the lower half of the look to the upper, and the other to reference the shine of the necklace. 
    I can tell you that this telling of this part of my story worked quite well.  In fact, the venue host came over right away and said that as soon as he caught sight of me that he knew I was someone he had to talk to and find out about. So, job done, tale told.   Am I always successful in the telling of my personal tales?  No, of course not.  I just use myself as an example, because frankly, it was an easy way to approach answering the question of how we actually do tell our story.
    So, the simplified, bullet point answer is this. Forethought.  Consider what you are going to be doing, who you will be with, and what you hope to achieve, if there is in fact anything conscious you want to get to. 
    Of course, not every time you step out the door needs to be a chapter in the multi-volume version of you; but introducing, now and again, this kind of consideration to the choices we make, can inform, not only those around us, but ourselves, as we discover things about our own natures through the process.


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