Intro to Style: Form & Function

Style is fun. It’s wearable art. Any kind of art takes a certain knowledge of your self, your preferences – what colors belong on the palette? What are you painting on? What types of brushes do you prefer? These are the questions that must be asked when figuring out your style. I could write a whole essay on the case for having personal style, but put simply – don’t you want what people see to represent you accurately?

What do you want your painting – your art – your self – to look like? Some prefer garish prints and neon colors, while others enjoy muted tones with a focus on texture. Really the possibilities are endless. The two principles to consider, under which all others rest, are form and function.

Form should follow function. This was a principle of the architect Ansel Adams that always stuck with me because it makes sense – and his work is gorgeous, workably beautiful. I like to be comfortable in my clothing, but that doesn’t mean wearing sweats. The function of clothing is also make me feel incredible. A bomb outfit boosts the confidence. But it begins by feeling good in it. The two go hand in hand.

I can do anything in a long pleated skirt.

I can do anything in a long pleated skirt.

Form

This is the visual aspect, the textures, colors, prints, silhouettes. It takes getting to know your coloring, body type, preferences. Do you look better in warm or cool colors? Solids or prints?  I’ve done this through trial and error. I’m drawn to textures – I have velvet shirts, leather and wool skirts, a denim dress, silks, and all kinds of blends. I like clothes that hit my natural waist, calf-length skirts, backless anything, and fitted shoulders. With experimentation, I’ve found that shades of red belong both in my hair and in my wardrobe. Warm colors, olive greens, oranges, mustard yellows – rich, fall hues. I wear far more color in the summer than I do in the colder months. I like my accessories to be black and versatile. All my jewelry is gold, with various gem stones.

To figure this out for yourself, pay attention to what compliments people give you, to how you feel in various colors, etc. I once saw an episode of Scrubs in which Elliot returned a dress because she didn’t get three compliments on her first day of wearing it. This is excessive, but it’s worth noting that people don’t usually lie when they compliment you. And people notice when you feel good. Feeling good is the ultimate goal. And that leads us to…

Function

I like to be comfortable, to be able to move freely. I like room around my waist because I don’t want to feel like I can’t breathe. Soft, luxurious fabrics feel nice against my skin. I have two bags – one backpack with sturdy straps, and one simple black cross body number. I have a shoe for every occasion, but only 4 pairs, all of which are comfortable and worn regularly. I wear the same pair of earrings every day and rotate through five rings. All of my clothes can be mixed and matched [part of why color palette is so vital]. Everything goes with everything. It makes getting dressed so much easier. But it’s still fun! Like when you were young and had a Barbie doll with a 4 piece clothing set that allowed for at least 10 outfits. That’s me every morning. And it gets fun trying to find all the combinations.

Notice what you feel comfortable in. Take into account your lifestyle, your daily activities. There’s no point having a closetful of sky high stilettos if you’re on your feet all day and rarely go out in the evening. They might be nice to look at, but it feels better to use everything you own, to make your wardrobe your own.

Another aspect of function is price. I like high quality, always have, but I’m forever on a budget. And maybe it’s my Jewish heritage, but I love a bargain. And I find some of my nicest pieces on clearance or at a thrift store. The hunt is part of the fun. I also customize things – little fixes here and there make pieces uniquely your own.

Style is a journey. Hopefully seeing mine will inspire yours.

Style is a journey. Hopefully seeing mine will inspire yours.

Style is important to me. Remember that the phrase, “Look good, feel good” is axiomatic; “Feel good, look good” rings just as true.

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About the author

Bethany Ramus Bethany | ביתענה - household of response, occupation, affliction, and Divine Presence.

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