Tag Archives: fashion

A Life of Fashion

Recently, I’ve spoken at several fashion shows.  It might seem an odd match:  life and business coaching paired with runway models, however I’m a master at metaphor and it works rather well.  Last week, I realized my message is quite relevant to anyone that wears clothes, so I want to include you in the audience:

 Today is no ordinary day. 

Today, we are surrounded by beauty, by the faces of happy, hopeful people, by conversation between friends and new acquaintances, and by laughter.  Look for it, it is here.

Today is a gift. 

The gift of today is a gift of the present, of life, of being given this day, these moments.  Each of you can live this day in beauty and contentment, with aliveness and excitement.

Who is with me?  Would you enjoy finding more fulfillment in today then you expected?  Or would you rather let it be an ordinary day, one you waited to pass by so you could go to bed and prepare for another ordinary day?  Who prefers to only come alive for celebrating big events?  Not me, not you.  We let ordinary happen by accident, not on purpose.   

Let’s take full advantage of our moments here together, right now.  When we live on purpose, we embrace life fully and feel the gift of each day. 

You may wonder how fashion can be used for life change.  You may not expect to use clothing to tap into the pure simple beauty of being alive.  It can be done.  Clothing is a structure we use for many things.  It is a method of identifying ourselves, of conforming – or not – to society, of protection.  It is so many things.  Today, I will show you how to use clothing to be more present in your life.  It’s simple, and doesn’t require the purchase of anything new, although the idea can be a little more fun if you do!

Living a life on purpose is a beautiful way to live, and all it takes is focus and some gentle reminders.  We need gentle and frequent reminders to recognize the gift of today, to be purposeful in action, to stay beautiful.  Clothing can be such a structure.  A structure is a method for reminding yourself of what is important.  There are many other ways to remind ourselves to be alive in the moment, to see the beauty present in our lives, to be grateful.  Some people start their day with reflection, meditation, or prayer, but I’m going to use clothing.

Here is how it works:  before you dress in the morning, consciously decide how you want to spend your time, and what you want to feel like while doing so.  Let’s say you want to spend a day in the office being efficient and professional.  You want to project an image of capability and strength, but not feel like a workhorse.  If it were me, I would be deliberate in my clothing choices:  Yoga pants for flowing movement, comfort, yet professional appearance.  A blouse with a flash of turquoise to remind myself I can have fun, too.  Black knit jacket to cover my shoulders and project professionalism and task efficiency.  This is good for a start.  It sets my intention for business and comfort for the office.  While still in my closet, I can choose to set my intention for lunch as well.

Having flexibility to relax at lunch is important to me, so I choose a blouse that can be worn alone.  This way I can take a walk or sit outside at lunch, feeling the warmth of the sun on my arms while slipping away from the office pace for a few minutes.  When it’s time to return to work, I slip the jacket back on and return to work refreshed and ready for the afternoon.  The act of putting on my jacket reminds me to refocus on business tasks, while the respite keeps the day from feeling too long or difficult.  I’ve already dressed for success, but there is more.

Many times I have an event after work.  I bet you often go from one place to another in your day, too.  Sure, there might be time to go home and change, but why add the stress of having to run home?  Besides, my plan to go home usually fails and I end up going to the event in my work outfit, feeling out-of-synch with my friends and colleagues dressed to mingle and have fun.  Instead, plan an outfit for the day that can be dressed up for night by a simple addition or change.  If  going to a networking event, or even dinner with friends, my choice is to slip a different jacket over my work outfit, or change my office jacket to a flowing colorful evening piece. 

By using a simple everyday action like dressing, you can make yourself conscious of your intention for the day.  Think of the possibilities for the day and what you want from it, and bring your focus to the gift of today.  By choosing clothes that match your intentions and transitions, you have physical reminders of what you want from the day.  You can move freely from event to event feeling put together and beautiful and more alive in each moment.  You can be purposeful from the moment you dress for your not-so-ordinary day. 

Before I learned to make clothing a part of my transitions from one part of the day to another, I often felt restricted by what I was wearing.  Instead of embracing a dinner out with my friends wholeheartedly, I spent time worrying and debating with myself to either rush home and change, or risk feeling a bit dull wearing my business like clothes to a social event.  I noticed too, that just having a simple item to change my look also changed my attitude.  I automatically went from efficient, professional businesswoman, to a friendly, outgoing businesswoman at the chamber mixers, and relaxed, festive friend at dinner.

In life and business coaching, clients are encouraged to create structures for making change.  A structure helps hold you accountable for doing what you value.  Wearing a favorite piece of jewelry can be a structure, leaving yourself post-it notes in your car and on your computer can be a structure.  Setting appointments with yourself to focus on the gift of today, and writing it down in your calendar or making it a daily habit can be a structure. 

I think you will find beautiful clothing is one of the easiest structures of all.  Try it out when you choose your clothing tomorrow.  Open your heart wider to the gift of life and decide what you want from your day.  Then take it out and wear it.

          

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Beauty

Some people say there is nothing more beautiful than a confident woman at ease in her body and with herself.  We all need role models like that, and the young woman I met last night is a good one.  She was radiant, confident, quietly electrifying and beautiful.  She drew people to her as we gathered in the dressing room to model for a fashion show.  Ariana had never modeled before and said she was a bit nervous.  She didn’t look nervous.  She looked beautiful and sure of herself in an understated way.  I wondered if my college-age son knew her from school, so I asked Ariana how old she was.  I guessed she was about twenty.

Ariana is just thirteen.  Thirteen, the age when most American girls fret over how they look, worried that something or another is not just right.  A nose too big, a chest too small, skin not clear enough, an outfit not cool enough – those are the things young teenagers often worry about, and those worries usually show up in how they carry themselves and connect with others.  Some of us carry those worries into our adult selves, continuing to build on theories of “not enough” and “too much” while downplaying strengths. 

Rarely do you see a thirteen year old girl with the unassuming confidence Ariana had in herself, especially a young woman that is about to walk down a runway for the first time.  She had no training; only a demonstration of how to turn and pose had been given her.  She had seen the lights, cameras, and large white screen that would greet her at the end of a runway woven through a crowd.  The show was for business owners that represent JR Collection www.jacquerudman.com.   Ariana was ready.  At about 5’10”, many girls might have worn flats or low heels.  (Models were given complete discretion on footwear.)  Ariana chose spiked 4” heels.  She looked fantastic and glided easily down the runway. 

In a world where many hesitate to reach out with 100% of their capacity, this young woman stood tall and ready to take on a new challenge.  So many girls and women hide or dim their natural gifts.  Few understand the freedom of living life to the fullest.  As I stood next to Ariana waiting for my turn on the runway, I smiled and thought about how much fun she was having.  She seemed calm, though her eyes showed a sense of excitement and anticipation.

I was in the presence of someone living entirely in the moment and it was contagious.  It was then I realized what a role model Ariana was being for each of us that night.  I relaxed and stepped out toward the runway feeling good, moving smoothly and smiling as though each person there was a good friend.  Ariana helped me do that.  She was modeling so much more than the clothes, and she doesn’t even know it.  Thank you Ariana, for modeling the kind of woman I want to be!

I think we all need a little more Ariana attitude in us.  Here is a question to ponder if you agree: 

Who would you be if you let your beauty shine 100%?

This is the kind of question my clients often use to decide where they want to go and what they need to do to move there.  It isn’t a selfish task.  Being the most radiant you is a way of showing appreciation for your gifts, of respecting the life you’ve been given.  Give it some thought, and decide what you want going forward.  Then lead yourself and others to a more beautiful self.

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