Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Are You Revealing or Covering Up?

An estimated 2/3 of U.S. gross domestic product comes from retail consumption.  Retail sales include the restaurant industry as well as all stores that sell a finished product.  According to the most recent report available from the United States Commerce Department, total retail sales in 2011 were 4.7 trillion dollars.  What does all of this mean?  Americans spend more on shopping than they do on bills, investing, traveling, education, things that really matter.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to shop. I am a fashion blogger and image consultant...of course I love to shop. However, I have noticed that many people use shopping, clothes in particular, as a means to cover up their lack of self-esteem, insecurities, etc.  We spend an exorbitant amount of money to create a life that does not line up with who we really are or how we view ourselves on the inside. Over time, instead of our wardrobe being an investment we can be proud of, it has just been a continuous cycle of wasted funds due to the fact that no purchase will ever bring satisfaction as long as we are covering up flaws that can only be fixed internally. Let's take a deeper look into what I am discussing.

People who are unhappy about their appearance will spend more than a reasonable amount of their income trying to cover up the areas they are unhappy with, rather than actually dealing with those areas.  For example, I am a slim man.  Let me be blunt...I am a skinny man.  I know others like myself who purchase clothes that are way too big for them because they don't want to accentuate how skinny they are.  This signifies that they don't want people to really notice how small they are, they don't like their size, or they are self-conscious of what people think of them. Either way, they are not happy. The same can be said of people who are a bit on the larger side.  I am constantly telling my full figured clients that no matter how big you are, if you purchase your clothes too big you look sloppy and you end up looking like more of a mess than you already think you look naturally.  Their are clothes for every body type. It is always imperative to purchase clothes that fit. If people were not talking about you before, they are now because you look crazy. Many times we feel that people are looking at us and judging our appearance based on our own preconceived ideas about ourselves. This is not always the case. Low self-esteem and self-confidence will cause this reaction.  Bottom line, if you want to be bigger, take supplements, work out, or come to grips with the fact that this is your body type.  If you want to be smaller, diet, exercise, or come to grips with the fact that this is your body type.  If you are not willing to put in the work to change what you don't like then you should learn to love YOU and accept who you were created to be and how you were created. Low self-esteem is a real issue that a piece of fabric can't rectify.  Deal with the issue instead of funding it frivolously. Whatever your size, purchase clothes that fit and stop wasting money to cover up what clothes will never be able to correct. Unhappiness with our bodies is not the only reason we waste money on fashion.  There are some deeper issues that come into play. Depression, loneliness, lack of self-control, and obsession with status are additional reasons people overspend unnecessarily. 

An estimated 19 million Americans suffer from major depression. Instead of getting on medication or seeking professional help many people turn to "retail therapy" as their coping mechanism.  Not only is this not healthy, but it is also not fiscally responsible.  Sure, you will have a closet full of clothes, but is your total financial portfolio balanced?

Loneliness is another major contributor to retail therapy.  Approximately 60 million people, or 20% of the total population, feel lonely.  Loneliness is when a person feels a strong sense of emptiness, yearning, distress and solitude. This is a natural feeling that many people face at some point in their life.  The issue is that some people suffer from chronic loneliness and instead of filling the void with human companionship, or changing their attitudes because some people are lonely because they are mean, nasty, cantankerous, and obtuse, they spend their time purchasing things they don't need, want, or even like. I don't understand people who have a closet full of clothes that are ten years old with the sales tags still affixed.  Clothes were meant for you to wear.  If that was never your intention leave it in the store and save your money.  If not, it just becomes a bad investment.

Lack of self-control should probably be at the top of the list for reasons people waste money. When we think of habits, bad habits specifically, we think of alcoholism, drug abuse, overeating, excessive gambling, and violence.  We don't typically think of shopping as a bad habit. I think shopping is wonderful and I enjoy when I have the opportunity to participate in this activity.  However, when a person gets to a point where their shopping is out of control and they say "I can't help it", it becomes a problem. Shopping is certifiably a bad habit when you begin spending rent or mortgage money.  You are dressing very nice and have more names in your closet than a college has on their roster but your lights are always being turned off and your car insurance is consistently lapsing. This is a complete lack of self-control and a habit that needs to be broken.

The last issue I want to deal with is the obsession with status. People are so willing to ruin their financial stability to make it appear that they have arrived to a certain status in society.  What ever happened to hard work? Take the time to put in the sweat and tears so that the "things" you acquire in life are worth it and have significant meaning. Stop trying to "keep up with the Jones'" and keep up with yourself, which is keeping up with reality. If you can't afford it, leave it on the shelf, leave it on the lot, save up to purchase it.  Don't let items of importance go lacking because you have to keep up appearances. Unless people are funding your lifestyle, live the lifestyle that matches your bank account. People who are obsessed with status are not necessarily driven to succeed for healthy reasons.  They are normally trying to prove something to those around them. When you are satisfied with yourself you don't have to prove anything to anyone.

What do all of these things have in common? They are all issues that we need to deal with. When we neglect dealing with our issues we allow destruction to slowly creep into our lives. People with purposefully unresolved issues account for more bad investments than all of Wall Street during the collapse of the housing market and recession combined. Instead of resorting to retail therapy, invest in therapy that will help you get to the root of your issues and begin to foster real healing so you can live a wholesome life. Fashion should be used as an expression to reveal who you are, not cover up who you wish you weren't.  Are you revealing or covering up?

Lil Divo

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Psychology of Fashion

Many of us would like to think that the clothes we purchase and the combinations we choose to wear are solely based on our personal taste and style.  We make our own fashion decisions with no outside influence or peer pressure.  This is only partially true.  It is not a secret that the advertising industry, the fashion industry, and even Hollywood cater to our subconscious mind and influence the decisions we make when it comes to fashion and style.  Most want their wardrobe to be up-to-date.  How is up-to-date determined?  Well, ad campaigns are only revealing the latest line.  Hollywood stars are dressed in whatever is deemed to be IN or the upcoming trend.  You may argue that these entities don't determine what you put on in the morning, but to the contrary.  Unless you are part of the minority that actually designs and/or makes your own clothing, every garment in your closet is influenced by an outside source.  Even how you choose to put those items together to make a complete outfit has some elements of someone else.  It could be something you saw in a magazine or something your girlfriend or homeboy wore the last time you all hung out.  This is not to suggest that you had no originality in your outfit, but it is likely that each look you walk out of the house with is not completely your own.

In psychology there is a phenomenon known as "collective behavior".  Merriam-Webster defines this as the mass behavior of a group whether animal or human (as mob action) : the unified action of an assembly of persons whether organized or not; also : the like or similar response of the members of a society to a given stimulus or suggestion.  This is prevalent when it comes to fashion.  How else can you explain a Macy's in Washington, DC having a totally different collection of clothes than the same chain in Miami, FL?  Individuals in certain geographic locations tend to all have a similar look.  Think about it.  You pass someone on the street and based on their hairstyle you might say, they must be from Baltimore, she is surely a California girl, he is from the dirty south.  We associate certain trends to geographic locations and even demographically.  If my mother were to show up to a party in 5 inch stilettos someone might comment that she is trying to be young again.  Why?  Collective behavior says that a woman her age should be dressing more conservative.  However, if it is something she likes and looks good in, why would it be deemed inappropriate?

Moving beyond the fact that fashion is not 100% individualistic, I do believe that what you wear should compliment who you are.  Negating the new trend of online meeting, people see you before they ever hold a conversation with you.  Your personality can be expressed before you ever open your mouth to form a word to someone.  How do we move beyond collective behavior to really allow fashion to be an expression of the individual?  Glad you asked!  After you see the trends get in touch with yourself and make every outfit your own so that in some way it brags about who you are as an individual.  Despite what psychology teaches, you can still be in charge of your own style even if everything in your closet was designed by someone else.  How you choose to take different garments and display them on your body is when fashion becomes art.  You can only be an original artist once you dig deep into yourself and transcend what the ads display and tweak what it is you see your friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers around you are wearing.  The ladies of Sex and the City, living in one of the fashion capitals of the world, each had their own distinct style and look.  Sometimes they were trendy and sometimes they pushed the envelope and became fashion forward.  Each of their personalities came out in what they put on.  You can do the same thing.  Take what is and make it your own.  It just takes time, effort, and creativity.  If you feel you are not up to the just need A Divo's Touch!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A New View of Fashion

Good Afternoon! Welcome to A Divo's Touch.  My name is Jason Mathis and I am a fashion stylist and image consultant.  I help people put their best look forward by offering fashion tips, home decorating tips, and business image consulting.  I also help people market themselves or their businesses.  More importantly, as my first blog (after this introductory blog) will discuss, I seek to assist individuals in overcoming low self-esteem and low self-worth by transforming their image from the inside out.  Many of us spend a lot of money trying to keep up with the latest fashion trend or fad but don't understand why we wear what we do.  Then there are those of us who use fashion to cover up the mess of a person that lies beneath.  For some, the transformation of who they are on the inside begins on the outside.  This may seem strange to you but there is a psychological aspect to fashion.  Ever notice how you don't want to wear a certain color on certain days depending on your mood?  Well, that is proof that what is going on inside of you effects what you do externally.

Fashion is more than a trend or a fad and should represent who you really are on the inside.  I take the time to get to know a person and help them become an individual instead of a follower.  Fashion experts are in the business of making money and they don't normally take the time to teach people that you can't wear everything.  There are common fashion do's and don'ts that are floating around, but that doesn't teach a person what to do on a realistic or individual level.  That is where I come in.  My goal is to help you put your best look forward while teaching you that your individual fashion should represent you, and complement your height, weight, shape, and complexion.  THIS WILL NOT BE YOUR TYPICAL FASHION TREND OR DO'S AND DON'TS BLOG!

With all of that stated...have you ever wondered why it is inappropriate to wear white after Labor Day?  Have you ever stopped to evaluate why it is deemed inappropriate for a man to wear a hat inside but it is acceptable for women?  Do you know why young men actually started wearing their pants baggy or hanging below the waist?  Did you know that colors can alter your mood?  That is why it is important what colors you choose to paint certain rooms in your residence.  These are just some of the topics that I will deal with in upcoming blogs.  The real answers to some of these questions will surprise you and challenge what you think you know.  Ultimately, I hope you are challenged to grow and be an individual.  If you operate as an individual you are being the best you possible.  You can get just need A Divo's Touch.