Maybe Jean Cocteau had it right by summarizing, “Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.” I believe that style could mean something as simple as visually and non-visually expressing who we are, without any filters. And, wonder if style and freedom are more closely related than we realize. As I search for my personal definition of style, I’m drawn to this: style is expressing the truth of who you are (outwardly and inwardly), with freedom from boundaries.
If someone is not oppressed (by government, organizations, or personal situations), then he or she is free to truly express his or herself by outward appearance, words and actions.
It is fascinating to me to realize that people who are not oppressed by outside forces, and are free to express themselves, so often place self-imposed boundaries, which prohibit them from communicating their true personal style.
If we have confidence in our ourselves and our personal decisions, then it is possible to release self-imposed boundaries like worrying about judgement from others and experiencing guilt for self-indulging. On the flip side, a narcissist or completely self-focused person cannot successfully express personal style, because true style must factor in bringing pleasure to other people as well as ourselves.
And really, how is a being a painter of true art much different from someone who spends real effort on self-expression through presenting his or her body and mind in the best way at the highest level?
Self-expression is an art, which in turn becomes a pattern of personal style. Monet and van Gogh painted a certain way, which of course, rendered a definitive style–so much so, that we recognize the artist by simply viewing the painting itself. So we too, may develop a style specific to ourselves…to the level that we could be recognized by others even before they see our faces. This is an incredible thought.
Perhaps you recognize these people without the benefit of seeing their faces?
Answers: Jackie O, Oscar Wilde, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, James Dean, Brigitte Bardot, Ryan Gosling, Princess Di, Steve McQueen.