I practice outfits
A mindfulness of clothing practice
We are going to discuss clothes. But not in terms of fashion trends or socially approved attributes of the male or female body. We will also do without categorizing things as beautiful or ugly, right or wrong, and good or evil.

What does matter is:
Can we develop a trait, access a state or change our embodiment through our clothes?
What is the link between embodiment and our identity and personal style?
Finally, can our clothes become a practice and raise our embodied awareness?
(You can read more about identity, expression and influencing others in Part 2)

The answer we have arrived at is "YES", and we are keen to share our ideas on how to "practice" outfits!

Can our clothes become a practice and raise our embodied awareness?
Intro. In her book, "Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence", psychologist Thalma Lobel talks about how external triggers activate our senses and in this way influence our behaviour and our decisions. The book cites relevant experiments and research done in this field. Oh, yes, indeed – people actually research this kind of stuff. This means we are not alone in our search and we even have scientific data we can refer to.

We spend most of our lives wearing clothes. It's a fact! Our clothes become our silent, passive companions as they follow us around every moment, in contact with our skin. But are they as silent and passive as they seem?

On the one hand, when our clothes touch our skin, this stimulates our tactile receptors. As they are a certain shape and carry a certain weight, they affect our posture, our breathing, the freedom, speed and manner in which we move. As a result, it can affect our short-term states: the depth of our breath, the character and variations of our movement, and even the way we walk – imagine wearing a mini-skirt or heavy boots. They can also have a long-term effect on our embodiment.

On the other hand, the way we feel in our bodies, the patterns we follow and the "identities" which we take on (consciously or unconsciously so), may influence our choice of clothing.

There are several areas worth focusing on:
- Awareness of the image I am conveying here and now.
What am I conveying now? How am I doing it? Why did I pull these particular clothes out of my closet today? Awareness and reflection.
This way our clothes become a message that we send into the world that reflects not only our personal story, but our current state and attitude. Who am I? How do I want to be perceived? How do I want to influence others? What am I afraid of? What matters to me? What do I love? What do I need?

- The social strengths and weaknesses of my embodiment.
Do people really judge by appearances?
When we meet someone for the first time do we look at their clothes and their appearance or their embodiment?
Do we pay more attention to their personality rather than their clothes? ("She could wear a potato sack and still look like a goddess!")
Could a person's clothes, perhaps, complement their embodiment? Could their clothing and embodied patterns combine to create a wholesome image or style? (that's what the picture is about)
Embodiment may be cultural, professional, or possess any other social attributes. You would probably recognize a military officer even if he was wearing plain clothes. Many of us wish we knew the secret to "dressing like an Italian". And when you're on holiday you can easily recognize your compatriots without even seeing their socks and sandals!

DON'T TRUST a word we say – TEST IT:

Stop reading this article for a moment and try feel what you are wearing.
Can you feel your underwear?
Can you feel the fabric on your skin? How does it feel?
Can you feel the weight of your clothes?
Is there anything that makes you feel tight or restricted (belts, elastic bands, cuffs)?
How is your breathing when you wear these clothes?

At this point in our embodied clothing exploration, we would like to distinguish the primary characteristics of clothes that affect our embodiment (though we do not claim full knowledge). We will look at the connection between clothes and the body.

1. Colour / print

2. Shape and size

3. Weight

4. Texture

How can we use these four simple and obvious characteristics to develop a certain quality or even "manage" ourselves in the moment?

Let's have a look at how these characteristics can be applied to a classification of styles which is based on two models: the 'four elements', which is a beautiful metaphor accessible enough even for a child, and a typology used by professional image consultants.


1. Simple geometric prints and patterns (polka dots, stripes, checks), 'traditional' prints (tartan, houndstooth, fleur-de-lys, etc.). Neutral, predominantly dark or subdued natural/classic colours (brown, beige, grey, black, dark blue, terracotta).

2. Classic shapes and silhouettes. Simple and neat, with definite lines and structure to the point of perfection. For instance, a well-defined waistline or shoulders (a classic fit suit, straight leg trousers, a pencil skirt, etc.).

3. Natural textiles; durable rather than delicate.

4. Since the fabric tends to be thick, it will most likely be heavy and may be tight and constrictive. We can also apply this to accessories: briefcases and bags with a definite outline that are spacious and functional. Jewelry may be subtle (as in classic looks), geometric and minimalistic or not be there at all.

5. Shoes: stable, made of a firm material, a perfect addition to a classic look. They make you feel grounded, collected and structured. They can be flats, thick-soled shoes or dress shoes.

1. Bright, pleasant, natural colours.

2. Clothes that are soft, sleek or shapeless; layers, flowing and cascading elements, asymmetry, Boho or being wrapped up like an onion.

3. Soft, cozy, loose-fitting fabrics, knitwear, comfy everyday items like jeans.

4. The clothing envelops the body, creating a sense of comfort and coziness, like being wrapped in a blanket.

5. Accessories: scarves or shawls, necklaces made of wooden beads and earrings made of natural materials (wood, shells, grains, seeds, dried herbs, etc.). Shoes: comfortable, ones you can walk a long distance in, such as trainers, canvas shoes or moccasins.

1. Bright, eye-catching bold colours (red, yellow, gold, etc.), contrast, animal prints.

2. A neat fit, accentuates your shape through elements, such as slits or darts. Images from various eras, which represent sex appeal, seek attention and feel theatrical.

3. Fabrics are mostly lightweight and blend with the natural shape of the body.

4. Expensive fabrics that may have decorative prints or elements. Leather, velvet, etc. Tight fitting, shiny.

5. Shoes: fashionable, gendered (high heels for women), may be shiny (patent-leather or with some decorative elements). Accessories: expensive and luxurious, gold, shiny, bright. Gloves, hats.

    1. Predominantly light colours, may have a bright central piece or tender pastel elements. Playful versions of classic patterns: polka dots, paisley and other chaotic patterns.

    2. A variety of shapes and fits, may play around with contrast, exaggeration, creative combinations. Lightweight fabrics, minimalistic, futuristic.

    3. Lightweight and airy, yet justified by the overall outfit.

    4. Texture – creative designer fabrics.

    5. Shoes: heels and platform shoes both for women and men. Accessories: glass or clear materials, lightweight and subtle or large and impressive.
    This model is obviously a guideline. No one represents a "pure" element because boundaries are erased and we often end up with a mix of features. However, we often prefer certain things while giving less attention to others.

    We would like to offer you some PRACTICAL EXERCISES – a few questions to reflect on your own image:

    1. Look through your closet. Which element is represented most? Do all of your clothes fall under the same category? Does one element dominate? Which element is underrepresented? What message does (may) this set of clothing send about you?

    2. What are the contexts in which you choose a fiery, watery, airy or earthy style? Why?

    3. How do your clothes affect your embodiment? What will change if you try out something different? Do some of your images correlate with certain life situations? Say, I wear conservative clothing to work, but I'm actually airy and dramatic, so when I'm with friends or on holiday the way I dress is much more flashy. These images may be at odds with each other or they may be a result of your conscious choice.

    4. Is there a link between a certain element in your style of clothing and the time of year? How does your choice of clothes change depending on the seasons? Which element comes out? You can also use the metaphor of the elements when you consider the way you get dressed. Do you plan what to wear the night before or do you make a spontaneous choice in the morning because you're running late for work?
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