How much do you want your style to blend in or stand out? Do you want to be the focus of attention or to disappear into the background?
Jill Chivers of 16 Style Types and I discuss this in the video.
Watch the Video on Blending in or Standing out with your Style
This is a continuum rather than an either/or question for most of us. And your personality will impact on your preferences as well.
Introvert or Extravert?
As an extravert, Jill Chivers tends to be happy to stand out, she wants to be in-the-mix, be part of the action. Be noticed but not necessarily the star of the show. She likes to be part of a collective, but seen as part of that collective rather than overlooked. She is energised by conversation and wants to be seen and noticed enough when out and about to be able to easily start and have those conversations.
Jill has noticed that when she speaks to introverts, they will want something quite different. That the introvert wants to be very selective about who they have conversations with (not just everyone on the street) so as to preserve their energy and not “waste” it unnecessarily, so may opt for a style that blends them in, or doesn’t invite conversation in the same way.
In my own experience, as an introvert, I don’t want to start a conversation when I’m out and about, particularly when I’m in an external environment (such as shopping) which is already full of stimuli, I don’t need my energy sapped so may avoid standing out with my outfit so I’m less noticed and people engage less with me.
When I do want to stand out, and will then make a conscious decision to stand out with my style too, (and I’ve made a deliberate decision that this is the environment for me to do this) I am doing things to manage my energy so that I have the energy I need to “extravert” in that environment.
Some Outfits Talk for Themselves, Whilst Others Stay Silent
Colours can be used to help you stand out, or to fade away (we talked about this topic here). Warmer overtone, brighter colours visually advance and grab attention (which is why stop lights and signs are red, because red grabs attention easily). So if you want to be seen or noticed, adding in some red, orange, pink or yellow to an outfit will help you achieve this more easily. I use colour frequently as part of my energy management strategy. To either fade away when I need time to be alone and want to blend in, or to be seen without me having to say so much and waste precious energy on just getting noticed.
Not all outfits that stand out have to be overtly loud and dominating. You may just choose a small element to stand out (like my pink rose brooch above) or Jill’s leopard hero jacket below.
When we did our Style Types research, one of our ENFP style muses told us how her personality was already so bold, she consciously wouldn’t wear red or bold colours because she had come to realise that she could easily overwhelm others and stood out too much, it became negative, as her personality already made her stand out.
Do You Use Your Clothing as a Tool?
You can use your outfit as a tool each day, to decide if you want to stand out and be seen or noticed, or to blend in and take a back seat. It’s important to remember that extraverts don’t always want to stand out, and introverts don’t always want to blend in (as is often assumed and are the stereotypes that you hear and see with regards to extraversion and introversion).
You have the choice and the power to decide what to wear, which colours and styles that will make you stand out (a hero garment like my shirt above, a bolder or brighter colour) or blend in (more neutrals, darker colours, more low-key and simple styles). If you need to stand out and be seen, to step into the light and claim your space, it’s great to figure out how you can use your style to assist you in doing this. What are the ways you can use your style to help you be noticed and to stand out and be remembered? It’s important to think about if you are building a career or your own business and developing your personal brand image.
We have found that there are definitely some personality types that prefer one over the other (beyond introversion and extraversion) and it’s something you can explore in depth in our Your Type of Style program if you are interested in really understanding how your psychological/personality type relates to your style and how you express your style so it feels authentic to you.