Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Style, Self-Expression and Sonnets

One of my favorite discussions of free will and determinism is found in a passage in Madeleine L'Engle's classic A Wrinkle in Time. Here, one of the characters compares our lives to a sonnet. She makes the point that a sonnet is a very strict form of poetry, with exactly fourteen lines, a strict meter, and each line ending in a rigid rhyme pattern. And yet within this strict structure the poet has complete freedom. And so it is with life. "You're given the form," the character says. "But you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you."

My friend and musical collaborator David McMillen once asked me where self-expression fit into my Style Development philosophy, since I tend to work a little backwards when it comes to discovering and developing your style persona. I believe that many of the questionnaires that we endlessly fill out to determine "who we are" in order to know what to wear are a waste of time. I think in most cases it is more valuable to figure out how you want the world to perceive you FIRST. This provides you with a structure.

So my answer to David was that self-expression is then how you personalize the you "color inside the lines"... you write your sonnet.

(For more information on style and wardrobe planning, please visit my Wardrobe Planning Website.)


Lisa M. McLellan said...

I'll be hiring you for a personal consultation yet, my friend. I had my girlfriend checking out your blog the last go around. She loved it.

Darryl Pace said...


Thank you for your well-written, thought provoking blog. I'm curious -- do you help your clients with clothing choices, or do you help them discover their individual style through sessions with them?


matthew shields said...

Great Post

You do have a very eloquent way with words


Cindy Eyanson said...

Great post! I can learn from you, a lot!

Cindy Eyanson Online

ana7mari said...

So meaning...where your mind could be inclined is how well you'll carry the styles you choose for yourself.
Like, if you're a rocker but have a poetic'll affect what you put on and how you carry them?
Its making sense..

David J. Parnell said...


Philosophical, poetic, practical and psychological... You covered a lot of ground... Looking forward to more.

David J. Parnell

Anonymous said...

Hey Jennifer,

You are wonderful with words and wardrobes. What a winning combination.
I look forward to learning more.

Aslo, I would be very greatful if you were to post my links to your site.



Everything Raw Food!

Raw Food Resources

Kevin Hogan said...

color inside the lines....

millena said...

Your professionalism is proven by your writtings.
I really enjoyed reading

Lena Milukh said...

Your professionalism is proven by your writtings.
I really enjoyed reading

Jennifer Skinner said...

I'm glad to hear that your friend enjoyed my blog! Thank you for sharing it with her.

Great question! Wardrobe planning is an ongoing process rather than a destination. What I do is to help my clients decide upon their wardrobe persona and then take them through the process of building a functional, small wardrobe. I then teach them how to maintain and improve their wardrobe over time.

Matt,Cindy, Lena and David-
Thank you!

You've got the idea!

Thank you, and I've got you covered.

Nice to see you here!

Jennifer Skinner

Romance Coach, Online Dating Coach said...

Hi Jennifer,

You are such a superb wardrobe expert. Indeed, the need for self expression is one of the core human needs, is it not? and yet, as you wisely point out in your style and wardrobe advise, without structure we closets full of clothes and NOTHING to wear.

A little like having lots of dates or sex, but no RELATIONSHIP ability, isn't it?

All the best,

April Braswell - Online Dating Coach, Romance Coach

Online Dating Sites Review, Internet Dating Sites Guide