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What is Your Dress Code Personality #2

Personality Course 101

Orange & Lace Maxi-001Two weeks ago I published the first in a series of posts on What is Your Dress Code Personality? As I mentioned in that article, due to a number of garment categories and silhouettes within those categories it made sense to have an ongoing conversation on this topic.

We’ve already talked a little about lifestyle, disabilities, or physical inabilities, and how they influence our personal style. Today, let’s focus our attention on personality and how this trait also can play a major role in the way we dress.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to take a personality test you should give it a go, here goes a free one where you don’t even have to register: www.16personalities.com. While I don’t place a ton of emphasis on these types of tests they can be very enlightening.

Broadly speaking, people who are mostly exuberant, fearless, adventurous, and optimistic aren’t afraid to take risks. Also, these folks typically exude a confidence that allows them to journey through life without concern for what others think of them.

On the other hand, while those of us who are cautious, practical, analytical, and insecure outwardly view risk takers as crazy people, we secretly envy their zest for life. Though we may struggle with introversion and worrying about how we are viewed by others, there are times when we can be tenacious.

Orange & Lace Maxi3-001

This isn’t to say that all extroverts are consistently confident or all introverts are always lacking confidence, as humans we are far more complex than the results of any personality test. However each of us consists of many overlapping traits that vary day-to-day depending on individual circumstances.

With all of this being said, I believe our core traits are what drive us to behave, believe, think, and express ourselves in ways that ultimately comes through in the manner in which we dress. For example, while I possess clothing within the red spectrum the majority of my wardrobe is neutral, black and white because this is my comfort zone and risks are definitely not my forte.

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Dare to Change

Bright colors, patterns, fabrics, and silhouettes are not the only aspects of clothing that can be an indicator into to our personality but the type of apparel and how we wear it can also be a clue. Daring necklines, hemlines, attention-getting hats, shoes, and accessories give us an additional glimpse into the wearer’s personality.

Not every woman on the planet feels comfortable wearing heels and culottes, nor should they. Diversity in who we are and how we dress makes life far more colorful.

For those of us in the cautious range of the style spectrum, when we dare to try something different this can have a sizeable impact on our psyche in a good way. One of my friends made a 180 degree turn in her style by making a few simple changes. With my help she began incorporating more jewelry, experimenting with different styles of tops, added additional colors and the change was remarkable. There was even a noticeable difference in her demeanor. She felt good about herself and it showed.

Orange & Lace Maxi4-001

The changes my friend experienced didn’t change who she essentially was as a person, but it did elevate her attitude. I should mention that my friend’s revamped style actually began when she decided she wanted to alter her appearance. She started small and eventually expanded her wardrobe into one that made her happy thus enhancing her mood.

I briefly referenced color in this post and in today’s photos I’m wearing an orange maxi dress with three alternating bands of lace at the bottom, an over the head orange cropped crocheted sweater, heels, and blue/green tropical print fold over clutch. This maxi is so long that my heels can’t be seen which is a good thing because I would have preferred to wear heeled sandals. Filigree drop earrings and three gold bangles embellished with glass stones completed the look.

Even though black and white will always be my go-to colors in the summer I love wearing brighter clothes. The blue/green clutch really stands out against the orange in the dress. Since I chose to wear the cropped sweater with this dress I kept my accessories simple.

In the coming weeks we’ll continue this series on personal dress codes and see where it takes us.

So do you wear maxi dresses? If not, what is your favorite item of clothing?

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” ~Bruce Lee

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Silencing the Noise & Ending the Dupe Effect

Consenting to Crazy Marketing Schemes

Frustrated Business WomanIn today’s marketing era one of my major gripes is being bombarded with unsolicited mail, email, telephone calls, and social media advertisements. As a self-professed control freak, I need to protect myself against these marketing avenues of access.

Today I will share with you some of the steps I’ve taken to substantially lessen the amount of marketing materials I receive and a few money saving tips. I think it’s important for us as consumers to remember that we do have choices.

Do any of the following bullet points sound familiar?

  • Need it now…
  • Don’t miss! Final Hours…
  • Must Have…
  • Don’t miss these…
  • Last day!…
  • FINAL HOURS …
  • DROP EVERYTHING: CLEARANCE…
  • For A LIMITED-TIME:…
  • Your EXCLUSIVE ACCESS…
  • ACT NOW!…

The above are actual partial email subject lines from a number of online retailers to which I subscribe. As you’ll note the last five bullets use ALL CAPS in one or more words within their subject line – this is intentional as it creates a sense of urgency to get you to open the email.

Here’s the thing. These email tactics create an emotional response to urge you into acting within a specified timeframe. However unless the company is going out of business there will ALWAYS be another sale, another offer, another opportunity.

To give you an example of how this works, not too long ago I was looking to renew my homeowner’s warranty with a different company. During the research period I found a company that looked promising and submitted my email address for additional information.

Over the course of a couple of months I kept getting emails offering the first month free and an additional discount. Each email stated that I had to take advantage of the offer or lose this “valuable deal”. Well, guess what? I’m still getting new emails with the same offer.

Determining Needs Vs. Wants

I sometimes struggle with convincing myself that my wants are needs. When I used to go to actual brick and mortar stores a technique that worked well for me was selecting something I really wanted and carrying it around with me. Because of my internal dialog of having to justify the possible purchase, inevitably I would talk myself out of many items prior to checking out.

Thanks to online shopping the needs vs wants struggle has intensified for me but adding items to carts, then leaving the site has proved very effective. Doing this not only saves me money but occasionally the store will send me a reminder email about my abandoned cart and sometimes to my delight the item has been marked down.

In addition to talking myself out of purchases I live by the following three points:

  • Free Gift With Purchase – The problem with this theory is that gifts by their nature are free. If you have to buy something to get something free that “free” item is costing you money. The beauty industry is widely known for this practice
  • Free Shipping – offered in exchange for a certain amount purchased is not free. There are so many retailers now that offer free shipping and even those who don’t will often have special days of the year where they do offer true free shipping.
  • Trial Subscriptions – use great caution in trial subscriptions and pay close attention to the fine print, specifically the cancellation/opt-out policy. If I do a trial subscription and I pretty much know up-front that I won’t be in it for the long haul I put a reminder on my calendar so that I can cancel. Providing your credit/debit card information in exchange for a free trial can be tricky because the company then holds you hostage once that cancel by date passes. In this competitive environment it never hurts to shop around for trials that do not require credit card information.

The Power of Choice

Picture of a woman with yelling into a bull horn.

After years of feeling powerless, frustrated, and angry, last year I finally had to get aggressive in dealing with junk mail. The first thing I did was collect the offending pieces of mail, then I looked for contact information, made calls and/or went to the company website requesting to be removed from their database. While in this process I happened upon the following websites that put an end to the non-stop advertisements.

  • Federal Trade Commission –  This was one of the first sites I went to as they have tons of information and referrals to additional websites.
  • DMAchoice.org – (DMA short for Direct Marketing Association) is a great resource that allows you to set your mail preferences.
  • www.optoutprescreen.com – To reduce unsolicited credit and insurance offers you can opt-out for 5 years or permanently.
  • www.donotcall.gov – To reduce telemarketing calls from home and cell phones you can register your phone numbers at the National Do Not Call Registry. Although I’ve registered mine years ago and periodically check to ensure the number is still on the list, I’ve noticed an increase of spam marketing calls to my cell. Currently my solution to this situation is to not answer numbers I do not recognize.

Another way to lessen the amount of mail you receive is to go totally electronic from banking to bill paying. It’s efficient, convenient and there’s less to shred.

“There are three constants in life… change, choice and principles.” ~Stephen Covey

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Channeling Your Inner Sporty Chic

Descriptors, Disability & Dress

Standing frontal pose White Bermudas, Navy Striped Tank & FedoraIn the mainstream fashion industry disability is not a consideration when we talk about style. However for those of us living with a disability it becomes a major focus in every aspect of our lives.

In last week’s post “What Is Your Dress Code Personality?” I touched on two qualities that help us determine our style–lifestyle and disability. Today I want to talk about the complexity of our numerous personal characteristics that make us who we are and how it ties into the way we dress.

Adjectives used to describe me from friends and relatives range from focused, obsessive, passionate, serious, and rigid, to a funny and conscientiously idiosyncratic killjoy who’s a crazy perfectionist.

Working non-stop, placing impossibly high standards on myself, and being a control freak are the cornerstones to who I am as a person. I’m a pragmatic, resourceful, impatient, planner, list maker, and survivor.

I dream of being an adventurer and risk taker.  Ambitions of mountain climbing, backpacking in the vast wilderness, bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, scuba diving, skydiving, or even going completely off the grid are buried deep within me but contrary to my character.

Sitting with legs crossed frontal pose Standing rear pose

So how does the loss of sight impact my style or the way I dress? Having an affinity for the business/professional look emerged from my dominant serious side and the loss of vision hasn’t changed my desire to achieve a polished finish. However vision loss plays a huge role in my daily appearance leading to doubts and questions like:

  • Does this look right?
  • Are the colors harmonious?
  • Does it fit the way it should?
  • Is it hanging correctly?
  • Did that stain come out in the wash?
  • Do my accessories work?
  • Do I have panty lines?
  • Are my love handles showing?
  • Am I covered in lint or dog hair?
  • And a bazillion more questions and clothing changes

As a legally blind person, I can only speak to those disabilities as they relate to vision issues. However because the spectrum of disabilities and the people affected by them is so varied, I’d venture to say that the role that they play in the area of style is unique to each individual. In addition, depending on the disability, we cannot exclude the numerous tools of independence that also play a critical function in our style.

Standing rear post 2

Transitioning Style

Up until my retirement two years ago, business attire style of dress was practically second nature for me. The transition from my business style to adding a more casual element to my appearance was a bit of a challenge.

At times I’ve wished I were more eclectic or even whimsical but as I’ve learned throughout my lifetime I have to work within my given set of parameters. Unless I experience a serious personality transformation I will always feel at home in dresses, skirts, and the like however I’m learning to embrace a more casual lifestyle.

This summer I’ve worn more shorts than in summers’ past and since I’m older and have gone through significant bodily changes I look for shorts that are longer. I still haven’t made the leap into patterned shorts but at the same time I haven’t ruled them out just yet. Right now working with solids and neutrals are comforting.

Standing frontal pose 2

Combining an elegant top with casual shorts or a tank with classy shorts and wedges can be very stylish. Playing up accessories like a long pendant necklace, stacked bracelets, earrings, any, or all three, will give an added dimension to the look you are trying to achieve.

I’ve accumulated several hats & ball caps, sneakers, and hoodies to my summer wardrobe and I almost always mix casual and dressy. In the pictures included with this post I am wearing cuffed white Bermuda shorts, navy & white scoopneck striped tank, white sneakers, natural straw fedora, and tan hobo. I kept my silver hoop earrings and blue pavé crystal bead Shamballa bracelet simple.

  • Style & Co.Bermuda Shorts (old) | Macy’s
  • Striped Shirttail Tank (old) | Ann Taylor (similar HERE)
  • Fedora (old) | Forever 21 (similar HERE)
  • White Plimsolls (old) | Forever 21 (similar HERE)
  • Hobo (old) | Amazon (similar HERE)

As human beings, all of us are more than a complex collection of attributes. We are full of feelings, hopes, dreams, wishes and fears. Just because some of us live with disabilities this should not exclude us from the world of fashion.

“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” ~Charles Addams

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Make Money, Create Safety

Guest Post by Mel Scott of BlindAlive

Pile of shoesCreate A Safer Home, Make Money Have you ever tripped over shoes, clothes, or anything on the floor that you did not know was there? If you are blind, then you have done this for sure. In the beginning of my marriage and mothering years, I decided I had to find a way to manage the problem in a way that was effective and even fun. I remembered my behavior modification classes I took in college and when applied correctly, it really works.

First, pick something that absolutely must be changed in order for you to be safe in your own home. For me, it was shoes randomly thrown anywhere in the house. I showed the offender the problem and gave them one warning like this. “If I find shoes anywhere in the house other than where we have both agreed that they may be, you will either pay me with money or by performing a service of my choosing.”

It was difficult to hold them to it but I was strong. It was truly remarkable how quickly shoes disappeared. As the years have passed and I have lost more sight, the main issues have been kitchen cabinet doors and drawers being left open. I have sported several bruises to face and thighs and I finally got mad enough to impose a fine. My husband actually imposed a $20 fine upon himself when he witnessed a head banging episode with tears and bruises that followed. He paid me only once and that was enough to change the behavior.

The trick is to start small and increase your fee until you get the results you want. It will never be perfect but it really works to use behavior modification when changes must be made in order for peace to reign in your home.

I have not gotten rich this way and for which I am grateful. It has been and continues to be a very effective tool to make navigating my world a little easier. Try it and let me know what works for you.

Mel Scott is the Founder of BlindAlive eyes-free fitness. If you would like to know more about how eye-fitness works you can visit Mel at www.blindalive.com.