And how that can help you discover your personal style, let go of clothes that don’t suit and build a better wardrobe
This morning I was having a conversation with one of my lovely image consultant (personal stylist) graduates and she mentioned that she has great difficulty throwing out clothes and makeup that don’t work, but no issue if it’s something else around the house that she feels isn’t right or is passed its need in her life.
It made me think about the reasons why (because I know there is a psychological reason for everything we do) and I’m sure there is something to do with us wearing the clothes and makeup on our bodies.
They are the things that are closest to our skin, that cover us, that project our identity to the outside world.
Therefore, they may feel more like a ‘part of us’ than any other thing we own or use.
They lie close to our skin and often close to our hearts. They hold memories of times and people, occasions and places.
Yet, we also hold onto clothes we’ve never worn because we think we should “be able to make them work”.
Why You Should Imagine Your Body is a Room
Now, imagine your body as a room. This room may have a slightly odd shape. It might be a small room or a large room, or just medium sized.
Say you went shopping to purchase a couch and you got it home and realised that it was way too big for the room. The scale was off. What would you do? Well you’d return it straight away. “It’s not right for my room” you’d say.
But when you buy a piece of clothing that’s too large or long, that swamps your frame, you keep thinking that it’s you that is wrong, not the garment.
Now imagine your room with it’s interesting shape needs some decorating. You’d figure what to put there, you’d work around the existing shape. You’d take some measurements and try and figure out what will work in the space before you even make a purchase. You wouldn’t spend your time blaming the room for being wrong, fat or stupid. You’d just work with what you have.
So why not dress your body this way. No blame on your body for the shape. Instead think about how to highlight its best features. How to enhance the best view possible. How to make your furniture (clothes) and knick knacks (accessories) work in harmony with the space and the decor.
What Kind of Room are You?
You may be a small room (petite) or a larger room (plus or tall). If you’re a small room, you just can’t fit as much decor into it. If you’re a larger room you can have more focal points and interest.
You may have boobs, a bum, thighs, a tummy…. all these features can be enhanced and flattered. They are part of you. They are your features. Love them and learn to live with them.
So if your clothes don’t fit right you can renovate (alter) them to fit, or you can get rid of them.
If your clothes are dated and old and tired, like an old sofa with springs that have become uncomfortable, you’d replace it with a new sofa.
Remember you will still have the memory when you let go of the thing (I still remember that first gold velour sofa that I bought when I moved out of home 25 years ago). So you can let go of the clothes and retain the memory of the time, the people, the places you wore them.
How to Decorate Your Room
When you think about decorating your interior space you may love a more minimalist style (like Scandi) or more opulent look (like Traditional). You may prefer a country cottage feel or a modern industrial vibe. How you decorate your house can give you clues as to how to adorn your body and your clothing style.
Your body is a room. You can decide what sort of room, how to decorate and enhance it. Discover more about your shape and how to flatter it with my body shape calculator quiz and downloadable body shape bible.
Which room is your body and how would you love to decorate it?
And if you’re not sure about your style, taking part in a style challenge like Evolve Your Style can help you see what is and isn’t working now for your room!
Great blog, Imogen. I’ve hired a friend who is an interior designer to help me shop and arrange my house. She knows me and understands the look I like and but I don’t have the eye or skill for arranging. That’s why I love your blog. Even though I naturally don’t have the skill for dressing and accessorizing well, I have learned and applied so much that you have taught. Sometimes you need to hire (or read) a professional! Great analogy.
Thanks Katie – and i’d love to know if you personal style relates to your interior style too?
Yes there are many similarities between my decor and style. My house has 2 signature colors in the decor, Robbins egg blue and avocado green. These are two colors I love to wear from my color palette. The decor also suits my signature style: classic with feminine and relaxed overtones..always comfortable. I want guest to feel relaxed when in my home. My home is styled intentionally and I strive to dress intentionally. Many of my favorite items in my home help me to pinpoint style words: vibrant, lovely, inviting, pretty.
I’ve found some really useful and unique information on this blog so thank you for that! I can understand how women’s bodies carry lots of meaning that a private room does not- appearing in the world, being seen, being pushed to look various ways. A woman is unlikely to be punished at work for decorating her bedroom exactly as she pleases but there is a strict, and often unspoken, code of how a woman must dress at work. I want to push back at the idea of thinking about your body as a room. I am a human being, my body is me, and it is not an empty vessel waiting to be filled with stuff.
Hi Jenny, I don’t think you understood my analogy – it was about the stuff you put in the room (decorate) not the the empty vessel of the room that is the body. It was about why we find it harder to let clothes that don’t work go than we do other stuff that we keep in our rooms.
Excellent post! Thinking about dressing as decorating makes so much sense. It’s so much better to consider one’s assets objectively. A tidy, well-appointed room brings joy, as can your appearance. The trick would be in not overly identifying with the wallpaper, couch, or body part. Thank you, Imogen!
This is brilliant!
I don’t wear clothes that look anything like I decorate. I often see myself in all black and red and bold shoes sitting on a floral sofa, surrounded by vintage items and think…. this doesn’t look like this is my home, but, I love my country style at home and bolder clothes on my body but there is always the softer part of my outfit. Like a softer blouse under a structured jacket with padded shoulders. So… its there, in doses.
About the makeup… its like you hang on because you know that in those tiny drawers is $100’s of dollars worth of purchases. The little things add up to large amounts.
Your article fascinated me to no end, Imogen! The first piece of furniture I bought was a huge bed that I fell in love with and I slept on the floor for a month to save for it, lol! I still have that, my childhood desk (refinished), and quite a few other pieces which I really love which I either bought or inherited (I never accepted any which I didn’t love and am very picky, lol). It is an eclectic collection and I love dark colours on walls (except I will have a frilly bedroom). Slipcovered and comfy sofa which is plain to blend in! Sounds like me! Also, I can’t see ever replacing any of it although I may refinish since I still love it.
Wow – the comparisons with your style, your ability to keep recreating your clothes (refinishing them) and your furniture is so close!
Great article, thank you. I had a similar thought one time, that when you choose and hang a picture you consider the colours and the placement of it without thinking of yourself as overly fussy, so why should you say “oh, that will do” about a piece of clothing on yourself. I hadn’t thought about the skin connection. It could also be that you have to look in a mirror or at photos of yourself to figure things out, which can seem vain.
Love your thoughts about hanging pictures too! And we are so taught that vanity is a sin that many of us go too far the other way.
Oh wow – this goes into our psyche and helps understand why when it comes to things closest to our bodies we think things over. I know I do, anything else in the house goes without much ado.
Great analogy Imogen. It’s time we all stopped blaming our bodies for not being able to wear clothes that are marketed for other body shapes!
Exactly, such great advice and insight. Thank you!
Exactly, such great advice and insight. Thank you!