Don’t Make It A Costume

Styling Tip To Take To Heart:


Say you want to do an original, creative look. You have a bright color you love and you decide to match your outfit. You put together a neutral skirt, an orange shirt, an big orange bead necklace, a big orange bead bracelet, and a big orange flower in your hair. You’ve been reading BTFM and you feel like “This sends a message! I am in charge of my image. I am communicating vibrancy, creativity, and a sense of fun and joy.”

All of that is wonderful, but you’ve gone overboard if you’re piling on that much detail.

Remember Coco Chanel’s rule? Get dressed and then before you walk out the door, take off one thing? Yea, I never do that, either. But it’s great advice. In general, because I find that clergy are so bloody drab and horrible at styling their outfits, I ignore Coco. Most of us need to PUT ON something, not take it off. However, for those who are working the accessories thing and taking risks, her admonition may be quite wise.

Too many matching accessories is a bad idea. Matching your shirt to your bracelet to your necklace to the flower in your hair or on your blazer is the sartorial equivalent of yelling, and although some women (and men) can carry off an outfit that blares, most of us will simply wind up upstaging ourselves and veering dangerously close to costume territory.

A bright colored necklace, sure. A bright colored necklace with a contrasting top in another color? Sure. A bright top AND a bright flower in the hair AND a big belt or shoe buckles AND a bracelet AND a big pair of earrings AND … no. Pare it down. Edit.

The best way to dress creatively is to make one piece a stand-out piece, not all the pieces. Start with one stand-out piece, say, a great jacket. Wear it with neutral pants and a cute but classic shirt. Wear a slim belt. Do a dramatic eye or lip, not both. Wear fabulous shoes OR big earrings — not both. Go for balance. Watch proportions. As always, comb the style blogs and magazines for ideas. Take one small risk. Or if you’ve already been taking risks, take a critical look. Are you overwhelming yourself with too much blaring color or accessorizing? What do we notice first when you walk in the room? A screaming vision in purple? A huge green hat AND a bright green skirt? A bright yellow sports jacket AND crazy pants?

Too much.

Because although it’s great to make a statement, you don’t want the statement to overwhelm and upstage you. If it takes a parishioner a close-up and personal conversation to notice that you have beautiful, soft eyes, your clothes are taking too much attention away from YOU.

It’s hard, I know, but keep at it. And ask Auntie PeaceBang when you’re not sure. She has an eye for these things.

2 Replies to “Don’t Make It A Costume”

  1. Took your advice to heart. Fabulous white and coral that’s almost red white print cardi over a dove grey trumpet skirt and grey cami. black snakeskin kitten heel pumps. Dangly multi-colored bead earrings that pick up the coral. handmade silver and coral necklace that is simply but has enough oomph to be there. Feeling ab fab, thank you very much.

  2. Doh! necklace is silver and turquoise. Sorry I forgot to engage my brain while writing that — I look much better than my syntax!

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