Deb’s NYNY prompt for this week is about glamour. I agree with just about everything she says, especially about getting clothes tailored. Speaking as guy who has a 20 inch neck, if I did not get my shirts taken in they would look like a balloon.
There is one small point she makes that I wanted to make the theme of my own post. She mentions:
“The old cliche about looking your best helps you feel your best does have some merit, especially if you have love or job related goals. It doesn’t mean that you need to fit anyone else’s mold of looking your best but your own. If you don’t like wearing makeup, don’t. If you don’t like wearing a tie, don’t. This is about being the best personal you you can be and about feeling good in your own skin.”
Here’s the thing, there are a LOT of people who cannot get out of their own way when it comes to what they wear. This is especially true of people in the occult and magic community. Because the volume on our inner worlds is often as high, or higher than than the volume on our outer world, we can sometimes loose sight of how influential some of the outer stuff is. Sometimes we can also get so wrapped up in the way we think the world should work, that we forget how it does work.
Last year when I wrote a piece for the blog on the power of the necktie I got a few responses that were negative: one claiming that ties are a backward anachronism and that “appearances are nothing, reality matters”. Since then I have been doing some talks here and there and spoken with more people who find a tie to be outside their comfort zone, and feel that it is a betrayal of what they stand for.
Here is the thing though: appearances DO matter. They matter a lot. In just about any executive position, you can have all the skill in the world, but if you cannot project the image that people respond to, it doesn’t matter. In an election a candidate with gravitas with beat a candidate with intelligence every time. I was once laid off from a job over the fact that I did not dress as professionally as the other worker in the same position. Never mind the fact that the company was so casual that people sometimes wore pajamas to work; when it came down to finding a factor to differentiate between us: that was what it came down to.
So, in the case of casting glamour in the magical sense: it is often precisely someone else’s mold of appearance that does matter.
But that is ok, because in a way that commenter was right: appearances should be nothing. Not that we should expect that appearances mean nothing to everyone else. Appearances should mean nothing to US.
It’s crazy to me that people who can see the wisdom of home made robes with sticky felt triangles on indicating their rank within an order, or who are more than happy to meet up wearing nothing at all, are so easily thrown into discomfort by a business suite or make up.
Understand this: whatever your style is, however you dress, its a fucking uniform. No different than any other uniform. Your self-image should not be married to it. When you are a teenager it is more or less normal to need to identify with a tribe by dress. Part of being an adult is getting over that kind of thinking – but a lot of us don’t.
In the 60’s and 70’s Chogyam Trungpa used to make his hippie students dress in business attire to help deconstruct their ego. Your self image should not be tied to wearing a suit or not wearing a suit. It should not be tied to wearing make up or not wearing make up. I cannot speak to make up, but I can say that if you are wearing a good suit that fits there is almost nothing that is more comfortable to wear. To quote Barney Stinson, “Suits are full of joy. They are the sartorial equivalent of a baby’s smile”.
Ever watch that show “What Not to Wear“? People start out defending the fact that they dress frumpy, or like their 13 year old daughter, or like a refugee from a renaissance faire. They get told the rules for their body and age and profession. If you are a tatoo artist, it is different than if you are a project manager. If you are 20 its different than if you are 40. In almost every show the subject starts shopping and has a friggin melt down over letting go of their old self image. In almost all cases once they let it go, they feel better. Yes it is TV, but I have seen enough in reality to have seen that kind of thing myself IRL.
So in the New Year New You project, my advice is to recognize when someone else’s mold really does matter. You cannot not influence people – its just a question of how. Recognize when your comfort zone is entirely inappropriate for where you are in life. Even if you feel sexy dressing like a 20 year old when you are 40, other people are not seeing you that way and somewhere in your mind you KNOW that it is effecting you negatively. Even if you feel awesome in your 3 wolf moon shirt and 3 inch pentagram at the funeral – other people are not seeing you that way. Find out what it is like to stretch your comfort zone and detach your ego from that external crap. Once you let go of some of that baggage you will feel sexier dressed like a hot 40 year old and more awesome in a tie and jacket than you did before.
And, just to quote Barney again”Suit UP, because 2012 is going to be Legen….wait for it… DARY!”