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Recapturing a Childlike Wonder at How We Are Made

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Girl In Front of Mirror, Norman Rockwell, The Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge (detail).

My 6 year old daughter Sierra, comes to my wife and I and presents what she is wearing and how she looks. She wants more than approval, she is seeking validation; for the choices she has made, yes, and she is looking for more, she wants to know that she is ok. The external validation supports and gives shape to how she thinks about herself.

The Triumph of Individual Style is a book that speaks to us in this way. We are able to find ourselves in these pages; the works of art teach our eyes to see and believe that we are beautiful.

Feeling beautiful and being Ok
are often the same thing to a girl.

If we are brought up in a home where this kind of external affirmation is non-existent we become alienated from our own bodies, we become split, our sense of self is diminished. The Triumph of Individual Style reconnects body, soul and spirit. It speaks clearly and directly to us in the loving tones of a parent with a vision for our wholeness.

Starting with the Introduction, Carla Mathis and co-author Helen Villa Connor place before us Norman Rockwell’s, Girl In Front of Mirror. They speak of the beast of self-hatred, that troll at the foot of the bridge that leads to self-acceptance, to a lifetime of being beautiful. It accuses; “I hate your nose. Your eyes are too small. Why does your hair have to be so curly? And my God, your feet are HUGE!”. Mirrors are designed to be our friends. They are often our enemy.

Using artworks from all over the world they present feminine beauty in all her lovely forms. In chapter 2, for example, they show us how to identify our bodies natural silhouette.

Are you a RECTANGLE? rect
(Your shoulders are as wide as your hips/thighs, your waist is relatively the same width)

Mars and Venus United by Love, Paolo Veronese, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1910 (detail).

Mars and Venus United by Love, Paolo Veronese, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1910 (detail).

Are you an OVAL? oval

(Your shoulders are narrower or as wide as your hips/thighs, your waist is wider)

Girl in Red, Edgar Degas, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Chester

Girl in Red, Edgar Degas, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Chester

Are you a FIGURE-EIGHT? figure8

(Your shoulders are curved and as wide as your hips/thighs, your waist is narrower)

Parvati, standing, Islamic, Sculpture, South Indian, Chola Dynasty, ca. 900, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Cora Tinken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Tinken Burnett, 1956 (detail).

Parvati, standing, Islamic, Sculpture, South Indian, Chola Dynasty, ca. 900, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Cora Tinken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Tinken Burnett, 1956 (detail).

Are you an HOURGLASS? hourglass

(Your shoulders are square and as wide as your hips/thighs, your waist is narrower)

Madame X (Mme Gautreau), John Singer Sargent, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Arthur H. Hearn Fund, 1916 (detail).

Madame X (Mme Gautreau), John Singer Sargent, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Arthur H. Hearn Fund, 1916 (detail).

Are you a TRIANGLE? tri

(Your shoulders and waist are narrower than your hips/thighs)

Bather Arranging Her Hair, Auguste Renoir, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Chester Dale Collection (detail).

Bather Arranging Her Hair, Auguste Renoir, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Chester Dale Collection (detail).

Are you an INVERTED TRIANGLE? inv_tri

(Your shoulders are wider than your waist and hips/thighs)

Nude, Roger de La Fresnaye, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Chester Dale Collection (detail).

Nude, Roger de La Fresnaye, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Chester Dale Collection (detail).

In each of these beautiful paintings the artist has celebrated these women and their bodies AS THEY ARE. There are no value judgements! We look at these paintings and marvel at their beauty. The Triumph of Individual Style teaches us to look at our body’s with the eye of an artist.

You are a work of art.

To be painted by an artist is to see yourself in a new way. To see what she or he sees; an extraordinary creature with a form unlike any other!

This book elevates self-perception to an art form. It guides us step-by-step through every feature and facet of our bodies on a journey of self discovery, a journey of self-acceptance at a level that is at once new and as old as art itself. We have forgotten how to perceive ourselves aright. We have forgotten how beautiful we are.

work_of_ArtThis book will help you recapture a childlike wonder at how you are made. It will change how you approach getting dressed in the morning. It will transform what for many of us has been a painful reminder of our own failings (Putting on clothes and still not looking as good as we had hoped) into an opportunity to express what is unique about us, to affirm what we now know to be true; we are beautiful and worthy of recognition.

We know how to admire paintings. Let’s learn how to admire ourselves.

In each chapter you will learn how to make the connection between an element of art and your body (In the example above, you learn how to identify the SHAPE of your body’s natural silhouette). You then learn how that art element translates into selecting clothing and accessories that are in harmony and balance with your body. You become a living work of art.

art-to-body

There has never been a book like this one that not only helps us to see ourselves as works of art, but also teaches us step-by-step how to create a beautiful and artful composition every day.

As a father, I am in awe of my daughter. As a son, I am in awe of my mother. She has created something (So beautifully expressed with co-author Helen Villa Connor) that teaches us all how to see ourselves in a new way. I use this language with my daughter all the time. It has helped me see myself in a new light as I look in the mirror every morning and throughout the day. I look at myself with affirmation now. The negative, critical thoughts have been replaced with a new language, the language of art and affirmation.

Thank you mom for a new vision. It is now up to us to open our eyes and hearts to this new way of seeing ourselves and other people. Together, let’s make the world a more beautiful place.

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TIS_Webinar_SeriesWant to learn more? Join a live, interactive chapter-by-chapter walkthrough of “The Triumph of Individual Style” with co-author Carla Mathis being held July & August 2015. Participants can send photos for personalized advice related to each topic. Following the live sessions each webinar will be available as a recorded session. Sign up here…

Get the Book here

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Style Lessons From The World’s First Size 22 Supermodel

Bravo, Tess! Congrats on your cover for People Magazine last month, “The World’s First Size 22 Supermodel!” You are an inspiration. Finally, all of our bodies are being celebrated in print. Tess made her dream of being a model happen. What an encouragement for women the world over…of all sizes and shapes to go after our dreams…to embrace our beauty.

So, how does Tess do it? What tips can we pick-up to make our plus size and full figured bodies work for us at play, at work and on camera?

First, Tess intuitively chooses clothes that work for her Figure-eight silhouette.

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Tip 1: Discovering your Body’s Silhouette is the first step to creating looks that flatter your body from every angle.

Tess’s shoulders and hips are relatively the same width, while her waist is smaller, creating a classic figure-eight.

Let’s look at how Tess accentuates her small waist. She has a high hip with a shelf right below her waistline. She places her hands on that shelf, drawing attention to her small waist. Voila, a great pose for her and anyone with a figure-eight!

Tip 2: Tess takes advantage of her beautiful skin and balances her body’s width proportions with those deep wide necklines.

Her shoulders are proportionally wide for the width of her face. Showing all that skin focuses attention on her face and allows us to enjoy her gorgeous complexion.

Her long full hair balances her shoulders, and also balances her long torso.

Tip 3: Tess wears high heels to elongate her short legs relative to her long torso.

Her high heels draw a long line up her leg so we don’t notice that her legs are relatively short. She’s also showing skin below her ankle teasing our eye to travel quickly up from her feet to her beautiful face.

Ok, so what about the rest of us? How can we make ourselves look this good?

Let’s start with Tip 1: Discovering your Body’s Silhouette.

Are you a Rectangle?

rectangle

If so, don’t even think about highlighting your waist! Instead find a garment with a deep and dramatic neckline that highlights your beautiful upper chest…. Then have the garment drop tunic length and wear slightly narrower skirt or leggings. Choose sassy shoes, and no one will notice that your waist has gone into hiding!

Are you an Oval?

oval

You’re wider thorough the tummy and chest area but narrower through the thigh and hip. Highlight your shoulders with an interesting neckline or collar and have what you’re wearing on top slip right on by your not really there waist. Bring attention to your relatively narrow hip with a sash or scarf. Show off your curvy legs with a pencil skirt that peeks below that hip band, and va va voom— you’re looking gorgeous!

Are you a Triangle?

tiangle 

Your thighs are wider than your hip and shoulder. That pencil skirt is not for you, my dear. Worse, a pair of white jeans that shout, “Look down here at my behind and not at my face!”. Your deliciously sensual and curvy body is asking for a lighter color on top and a nice flared skirt (Gently flaring from your thighs) or a flared trouser. Flare is your friend. Leggings and pencil skirts—the enemy!

Are you an Inverted Triangle?

inverted_tri

Your shoulders and chest are wider than your hips. Now, you have the body that IS asking for leggings and pencil skirts! Accentuating your slim legs and feet is dreamy. Flared skirts on you “box” out your natural V silhouette. Draw attention to the slim end of your triangle. The eye will then dance back up to your face for balance.

Remember the great Diana Vreeland’s maxim, “The eye has to travel.” She ruled the fashion world as editor of Vogue for all those years for good reason.

 Alright, Tip 2: Proportion.

Example1No matter what your size, if you dress for your height and width proportions, you will look terrific. It is all about your face. Balancing the width and length of your head and face to the rest of your body is a secret used by all the top fashion stylists and photographers.

  • Is your torso long or short relative to your head and face?
  • Are your legs long or short relative to your head, face and body?
  • Is your face wide or narrow relative to your shoulders and hips?

For example, this beautiful woman on the right has picked a perfect dress for her body. She has wide shoulders and upper arms relative to the width of her face.

By opening the neckline to her shoulder, our eye rests on her face and then jumps down to her curvy leg revealed by the medium length slit. Brilliant. Do we care that she has a tummy?! Do we even notice, she’s gorgeous!

latifaQueen Latifah got it right! The lighter color draped blouse shows off her beautiful neckline as well as diminishes her tummy. The loose deeper-colored jacket slides right by her waist… We don’t care if she has one or not…. We only look at her beautiful smile and presence.

Discovering your body’s silhouette along with your width and length proportions are only two of the many features we analyze to reveal your unique VIDA Signature. Visual IDentity Analysis (VIDA) is a new way of looking at your body and your self. Seeing yourself in a new way and learning techniques to make who you are beautiful every day is what we do at The Style Core.

Tess, you inspire us! Let’s celebrate our beauty and make tomorrow the day we too become memorable, more ourselves, more at home in our own skin.

 

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Want more tips and tricks to help you look your best? Find options here.