Sunday, July 1, 2012


Mingling with the beautiful people at
New York Gay Pride 2012
If you will, let me invite you on a quick stroll down memory lane: When I was an intern the last summer before my graduation from undergrad, I met a fantastically kind-spirited and inviting Merchandising Buyer for the corporation I was working for. She was a refreshingly energetic woman who always had an interesting statement necklace for me to observe and admire. I first noticed her in my HR orientation classes, always sitting across from me but never in a position to interact, and yet, towards the end of my internship, lo and behold, the women with the interesting statement necklace was the Women’s Clothing Head Buyer as I came to find out on a run-in encounter. We exchanged information and during my last semester we kept in touch, and she even was very helpful on a project I had for my Salesmanship course. When I finally graduated and was looking for work, I contacted my new fashion insider to inquire about possible openings where I could gain buying experience, desperate to hear the slightest chance of gaining some sort of fashion industry experience (or for that matter any job considering the state of our economy in 2010). Even though I was disheartened to hear that there were no current or pending openings, one of the best recommendations I had gotten in a while came from our chilly morning meeting at Starbucks. She advised that I read a copy of the book, “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham. That day, I headed to the library to get me a copy to find out what keys to getting a job this book could offer me. Instead of explaining, specifically, what moves I should make to get myself hired; it offered a thorough study of implications as to what makes each one of us strong and capable of success in our lives based on our past experiences and how we developed as children. It was a book geared towards helping one to identify what innate talents each of us have developed in our lives, talents that will point us in the right direction towards where we need to be using our strengths to become capable of achieving our own levels of success, happiness, and balance in our personal and professional lives. I could see why she would extend this book to me for it really helped me to understand what exactly I am good at, and helped me to understand how I can best use my personal combination of talents to excel in life.

The reason I bring this book up on, is because this month I am focusing on “Acceptance”. This book helped me to realize, most importantly, that I am innately great at certain aspects of life, and that I am innately bad at other aspects—and that is OK, because we all are. My favorite quote from the book is a twist on a popularly conceived notion said by the wit W.C. Fields: “If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then quit. There is no point in making a fool of yourself.”  Buckingham does a great job of explaining why we people are the way we are and how we can accept the way that we were raised, and what skills we developed as children so we can focus on making our strengths as strong as they can be instead of focusing on masking our weaknesses. This is why I postulate in Sartorial Philosophies that, in my fashion, having strong style isn’t so much about knowing how to hide your flaws, but it’s more about making your strengths shine as bright as they can.

In my fashion, a real understanding of acceptance and tolerance makes for a calm and cool individual and can contribute largely to your style. Once you accept who you have grown to be, it’s that much faster that you can get on to making life an enjoyable adventure.  I say, get real with who you are, and once you learn how to utilize your talents most effectively, you can then use them to help you grow so you will be able to do whatever your heart desires in your trajectory of life. Decide, now, what are the things, actions, and behaviors you are willing to accept, and won’t accept in your life, and be smart about your judgments. Accept the ramifications of your decisions and what the future may hold when you make a certain decision. In my fashion, acceptance is what keeps us grounded, rational, and most intuitive about where one should go in life.

As a fashion stylist, when I style I have to figure that everyone is different and that they want to be different. I have to be accepting of the fact that items I feel that are “personally” awesome may not be what others will find awesome for whom they are. So, what I have to do is take all items in the market and figure what type of person would find certain items appealing, and to do so I have to put myself in the mind frame of different types of people and figure, “What would I, as “this” individual, be inspired by wearing that is going to remind me to stay focused on and confident about my greatest assets.” I think to myself, “If I was “so-and-so” type of person what different ways can I wear certain pieces that would set me apart from others like me.” I have to find out what is a clever aspect about a certain type of person that would be smart and interesting for them to translate it into fashion and style. I like to find out what are those insecurities we tend to hold on to without even realizing it. It’s my job to understand those insecurities, help people to accept them, and help people to learn how to live with them, instead of letting those insecurities bring them down daily, because after all there are good and bad aspects about everything and everyone, but we don’t want our flaws to shine brighter than our strengths!

"In my fashion, the joy of fashion is experimentation!"
In regards to style, in my fashion, it is important to accept that not everything is the best match for us, which is why I emphasize having a smart and well thought out reason for why you do the things you do, and why you wear what you wear. Come up with clever and smart reasons for why it’s good idea for you to wear a certain piece of clothing. Dwight and I have had many hairstyles in the past few years, and I enjoyed varying my hairstyle because I wanted to see what I looked like with different types of styles in order to find a style that is just right for me. I feel now we are coming to a point where we are trying to find a style that is timeless, convenient, unique to ourselves, and fashionable, and we are constantly refining what we want our hair to say specifically, and uniquely, about us as a person. In my fashion, the joy of fashion is experimentation!

"How will you know what ways work if you don’t try different options?"

You have to try out what you don’t like to get to what you do like, if I am not mistaken, so when it comes to developing your style I find its best to focus on what things you can do to best highlight your assets. In the end by highlighting your assets to the fullest people have no choice but to ignore your flaws, and associate you only with those positive attributes. How will you know what ways work if you don’t try different options? Distinguishing what your best assets are and highlighting them with pride and creativity will bring you much more happiness in your day than worrying about what flaws you have to hide from people. This month I want to focus on us accepting those flaws and doing something about them, instead of letting them bring us down. Look forward to focusing on size and proportion, distinguishing between our talents and skills, and really accepting that every one of us is different, and that it’s good to be different. 

The energy on the streets was full
or support and optomism! 

Proceeding from the idea of changing for the better, not only am I going to be focusing on accepting ourselves, but this month I felt it appropriate to highlight more serious matters affecting our nation, and people in general—it is being accepting of how others accept themselves. In four days, the nation will be celebrating another Independence Day this month when in 1776, 56 representatives of the 13 American colonies signed a document on behalf of the United States of America that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” [source] In my fashion, our present day government seems to be thoroughly disconnected from reality on the basis of which this nation was found. It confuses me so, that our government is allowing blatant discrimination of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) community in regards to gay marriage, and other same-sex policies. In light of New York Gay Pride I attended just last week, as I explained in my earlier coverage of the event there was a, “certain energy in the air, full of positivity and optimism, openness and excitement, and just sheer fun.” Me being a member of the LGBT community, I was enlivened by the fact that so many of us were out and about, flaunting our pride and support for each other for having the audacity to be who we want to be in this judgmental society, which in my fashion, is the strongest strength to have in this world.

This past May when President Obama announced his endorsement of legal marriages for gays, it was very upsetting to hear the opposition, especially from black clergy memebers, and those who try to use the Bible to condemn homosexual relations. Editorial writer for the Richmond Free Press, Deborah Mathis, wrote that week, "It sometimes makes you wonder if some of the Christian clergy have read both parts of the Bible. The "abomination" passage comes from the Old Testament, the annals of Jewish law and prophecy aimed at getting people to behave so that the Messiah would come. Notably, the New Testament, which chronicles the life of Jesus Christ and the infancy of such relationships and underscores God's grace, mercy, forgiveness and accessibility to all.” Mathis makes some great points, and I can't help but to think to myself, what would the world be like if rather than focusing on the negatives, we, as I suggested in the latter about approaching our style this month, put more emphasis on the positivity of what gays bring to the world, chief among all of our qualities is our open and exploratory mindset! (My mind can't help but remember the expressions of personal style, and the appreciation expressed at Pride.)

A scripture I live by;
Matthew 7:1
When I was comfortable enough to proclaim my true sexuality to the world, I had tattooed on my left arm a scripture that I feel should be brought to people’s attention on a daily basis, and it comes from the book of Matthew, chapter seven, verse one: “Judge not lest ye be judged.” The second verse continues, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” This to me speaks louder than any Bible verse that supposedly condemns homosexuality. This is one of my biggest personal tenants in life, for if there is one thing that being gay has taught me about life is that we all have a story behind us, and we are all learning how to get along in this life, and in understanding that I believe that there are lessons we should learn from how others lives, not taking matters into our own hands and dictating how someone else chooses to be happy, after all, who’s really to say what’s proper? Even though we may see someone going down what we, personally, may think is a wrong path, as Mathis concluded, there is no point in opening amouth to a closed-mind.

In my fashion, the more we are able to learn and take away from the people that we meet in life, the more capable we will become at helping others to realize the correct path for them to go down. It opens us to being able to form new, more effective, and efficient ways of communicating as to appeal to others and aid in someone else’s human experience on this planet. Forcing a life upon someone that will keep them from reaching their own true happiness is heinous in my mind for there are people in this world who are able to live any, and I mean any way that they want. Why restrict someone else of the happiness they find for themselves, especially if no one is being harmed in the process?

I would say the biggest lesson I would want for people to understand this month when it comes to our style is that it is ok to change. It’s ok to change in order to find a more effective and cooperative way of living. We, as people, have to share this world whether we want to or not, and the world around us changes constantly, whether we want it to or not. I feel that fashion really helps us to cope with these changes, and to be aware of the world around us so we can figure how we fit into our society as a whole. Going into July, I say this most importantly of all—BE ACCEPTING OF CHANGE! Things that are interesting are not too often things that have always stayed the same. We are naturally intrigued by change and evolution, so you must be open and aware when change is approaching, for you must prepared as to how you can best get on board with what is changing. In my fashion, the most ugly and unappealing way to look is ignorant, and the worst thing to be ignorant about is change! Being ignorant is what keeps us at a stagnant place in our lives, physically and mentally, and is what keeps us from growing! Don't limit yourself by being ignorant to change because, I feel there is actually much to gain from the things that change your way of life, as well as the opinions of others whose views are completely different than yours. If, “you should only look inside yourself with a little objectivity, you shall understand,” as Franca Sozzani has said on her editor’s blog for Italian Vogue. Growth should always be a constant, and should always be welcomed for its just the natural state of life. Challenge yourself to be open to letting yourself explore new boundaries and understand others so you can gain wisdom to attain growth.

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