Mark Twain once said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” My wardrobe has led me to happiness and achievement. However, my early attraction to dressing differently sometimes got me in trouble.
Your unique characteristics often emerge when you are a child. Early on, you may have been artistic, creative, and funny. To be a happy achiever as an adult, you need to embrace and celebrate your individual style. This includes how you dress.
However, to fit in and feel like we belong in a group, we often suppress our colorful “odd” aspects. Then somewhere down the road of life, we lose our way and wonder who we really are.
When I was in seventh grade, all of 12 years old, my wardrobe selections were a little off-the-wall. Sometimes, I’d dress in all white. This is amusing, as nowadays, anytime I wear white clothing, red sauce will invariably leap onto my chest.
My pride and joy in junior high school was a tooled leather purse from Mexico my grandmother had given to me. It featured intricate tooled patterns and a pair of birds.
Dressing differently and possessing a fancy purse made me a target for a group of tough girls who made fun of me. The harassment accelerated into bullying and a physical attack in the halls at school.
A school counseling session with the group of tough girls didn’t help. The counselor started the session by asking us, “If you could order any flavor ice cream at Baskin-Robbins, what would you choose?” Almost each of their answers included chocolate. Mine was Daquiri Ice. Rather than establish commonality, the exercise only highlighted my eccentricity.
My unusual wardrobe selections continued through college and into the workplace. On a few occasions, I was admonished to dress more professionally.
I wanted to be able to dress with the natural flair I’ve felt since I was a child. And I finally found a way to do it. I became The Doyenne of Death®, a death educator who uses humor, funny film clips, and outside-the-box activities to help people address our 100% mortality rate and plan ahead.
Part of my brand is clothing: fancy cowboy boots and Western shirts embroidered with colorful skulls. The clothes make me stand out from the crowd and help start conversations about end-of-life issues. And all these clothes are a business expense!
As we age, if we’ve abandoned our unique characteristics, we may feel lost, frustrated, and insubstantial. When it comes to clothing, consider these tips to help hold on to your uniqueness:
When you embrace your uniqueness, you can change the world for the better. As the Smash Mouth song All Star goes, “Only shooting stars break the mold.”
How do you prefer to dress these days? What is your unique style? Have you been able to preserve it over the years? Or have you just recently rediscovered it? Please share your style adventures with our community!