Why I Aspire To Be Imperfect

23 Aug

image via here 

 

When people first meet me and discover I’m a personal stylist  I think sometimes they’re taken aback a little.

I’m not that impeccably groomed, blow-waved and meticulously manicured person they might assume I will be.  You see I aspire to be imperfect.

Those of you who are born perfectionists, as I am, will know it can be exhausting and stressful.  In a couple of areas of my life overcoming my (Virgo) perfectionism is still a work in progress, but when it comes to how I dress I think I’ve just about nailed it.

I like my hair to look undone (slightly messy even), my nails to be short and neat, and my jeans to look a bit worn in.  Sure I can pull it all together and look very well presented when I need to – I did it for over 20 years when I worked in banking – but these days you’re more likely to see me in my favourite black (sometimes faded) jeans, a Gap t-shirt and a blazer with my hair slightly tousled.  It’s my personal style.

Recently I was reading Nina Garcia’s, The Little Black Book of Style and came across a passage that resonated with me.  It was titled, “How to be imperfect”.

“I call it “The Kate Moss Factor”.   Kate Moss has this tactic down.  She never looks like she is trying too hard.  Something is always a bit off.  Her hair is messy, her accessories don’t match, her shirt is rumpled.  And yet, she always looks amazing.

It’s kind of painful to see girls so pristinely put together all the time.  Those girls that always look like they are ready for a photo shoot do not interest me.  I’m more interested in those girls who are less than perfect (perfection is overrated).  They are the ones whose hair is not flawless, whose outfits are not perfectly matched, who are somehow breaking the rules. Every time I see a girl who has mastered this tactic, I smile in silent worship.  They know how to live, these girls.  They know how to have fun and let their hair down.  They never look too perfect.  These are the girls who know the most about style”

It was during my first trip to Paris when (as Oprah says) I had a light-bulb moment.

Parisian women, well at least the Parisian women who caught my eye, were not over-groomed.   Certainly there were those walking their poodles with coiffured hair and  couture suits, but these were not the ones who inspired me.  It was those who were casually, yet stylishly dressed.  I realised it was all about how you wore the look.  If you stood and walked tall, ensured there was an element of uniqueness and femininity, dressed in clothes that flattered your body shape and did it all with confidence – you could be chic and elegant in a simple jeans and tee combo.

Ines de la Fressange, who masters this look beautifully,  talks more about French imperfectionism in this article here.  Of particular interest to me (as a woman in her 50’s) were her views on grooming.

“It gives you a lot of age if your hair is too done—I am fifty-four, and it makes me look much older. I think it is good to take care of yourself, but it shouldn’t show. I hate, for instance, when women have things on their nails, like a French manicure. I think that sometimes women do too much—they put earrings, and color, and necklace, and the lipstick, and fake eyelashes, and fake hair—it’s a nightmare.”

 

These are my style influences and this is my style – not my Mums, my sisters, my friends or my clients. Just mine.  Who are your style influences and what’s your style?  Have you spent time working out what your unique personal style is?   Have you defined it?   Understanding your personal style will help when you shop.  Knowing how you want to look and dress will mean that you won’t waste money on clothes that are not complementing your style.   It will make you feel confident and self assured.  By understanding how you want to look and the image you want to achieve you’ll fill your wardrobe with things you love and things that will make you feel confident.  Not understanding your style properly means wearing things that might not feel right and feeling uncomfortable and often self conscious.  No one wants that.

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