From February 2009, a post in which it begins to dawn on me that my
aversion to avoidance of accessories is working against me. Unfortunately the article referenced is no longer available.
My philosophy has more or less always been that the personality is more significant to the idiom than is the persona; my ambition is still to create a system that uses personality, rather than physicality, to suggest style. I will get there!
idiom: A style of artistic expression characteristic of a given individual …
personality: an individual’s behavioral and emotional characteristics
persona: an individual’s social facade or front that reflects the role in life the individual is playing; a mask
On this blog, I use the term “style personality” to describe one of six types based on personal characteristics such as how quickly we adopt new styles, whether we prefer to stand out or blend in, and how much fashion pain we will tolerate. “Idiom” includes everything: personality plus silhouette, signature color, lifestyle and geography, etc.
Now enter “persona”. Sometimes used interchangeably with personality, I am snagging this word to make an important distinction: personality is based on what you think, persona is based on the opinion of those who see you.
A persona can be almost like a cliche. When a man wears a navy polo shirt, khakis, and neatly groomed hair, it conveys a certain look, along with a certain set of expectations. If any man (who had all his teeth) wanted to put on the traditional persona for a casual setting, all he would need is a navy blue polo shirt, pair of khakis, and a trim.
This is all part of a recent epiphany I had while reading an article on Style Personas. This outstanding quote says it all:
Whether you like the idea or not, other people will be classifying you and making certain judgments…why not help guide them in the direction you wish them to go? If you are looking to make a certain impression, it pays to know how you will be interpreted.
She then goes on to describe five commonly understood personas, along with some of their sub-sets, and the characteristics commonly ascribed to each.
Having previously struggled with the question “how do you wish to be perceived by others?”, trying to identify one attribute at a time; with the attributes clustered by persona I was instantly able to see both which one I want (CHIC/SOPHISTICATE) and what my problem has been (A chic dresser favors black and neutral colors with bold accessories). Without the bold accessories, I look either conservative or earthy.
But it doesn’t really explain my compulsion to seek out groovy prints! Five and a half years later, I am wondering whether the Chic/Sophisticate was/is authentic to me, based in the fashion of the day, or rooted in some sort of faulty thinking. But I still love the groovy prints 😉