I recently wrote about having a personal mission statement. The process brought me so much clarity that I remembered a book I read a few years ago called Style Statement: Live by Your Own Design. While a mission statement might define our style to some extent, a style statement is all about it. I’ve never considered myself to be particularly stylish, and I don’t follow trends, but I do hope to express a consistent and authentic presence. Joseph Campbell said, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
Authors Carrie McCarthy and Danielle LaPorte created their style statement to be a two-word compass that directs all of our style choices. The first word is our foundation and represents 80% of our style. The second word they call the creative edge, that extra 20% that makes our style unique. Some examples are contemporary + organic, refined + playful and classic + creative.
The book is filled with stunning photography, real-life examples, a long list of possible style words and a bunch of soul-searching questions. In one section, there are dozens of word pairs from which you choose the word that most resonates with you. Let’s try a few:
Questions like these really get you thinking. Once you come up with your two words, the authors ask you to consider, “What is the spirit, look, and feel of my style statement?” They further guide you to imagine it in different areas of life. Based on your style statement, what would your jewelry, stationery, couch, and hair look like? A style statement extends to non-material things, too. For example, what type of music, exercise, entertainment or vacation best expresses your style statement?
My own style statement came to me quickly: simple + significant. I stole it from Don Draper, a flawed character if ever there was from Mad Men. I liked the concupiscent advertising executive a little more when I heard him say, “Make it simple, but significant.”
I find a two-word style statement to be an effective decision-making tool. It helps me decide what to buy and what not to buy, what to keep and what to give away. It also helps me make decisions that have nothing to do with physical possessions. Having a style statement simplifies life and makes me feel more confident and composed.
You don’t really need to buy the book to get started on your own style statement, but if it sounds interesting, I highly recommend you do. It’s available on Amazon in hard-copy and Kindle versions. I’d love you to leave a comment about your own style statement. Even if you say you don’t care about style, you’re still making a statement.
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