Sporty jacket and denim skirt fabric....romantic embroidery and lace on the cami-top.....classic, sexy strappy sandals......clean and dramatic silhouette, all put together in an offbeat manner. Emily Cho's ideas helped me learn to express all of these sides of myself in ways that are true to who i am, where i live, and what i do.
Today's post title is a mash-up of a couple of Emily Cho's book titles. Loyal readers will already have a grasp of why i love Ms. Cho's philosophy - she very much emphasizes the importance and opportunity of fully expressing your personal style through all aspects of your life. I only had one book of Ms. Cho's, It's You! Looking Terrific Whatever Your Type, published in the 1980's. The plentiful, very well done illustrations became dated over the years, but the insight into building a wardrobe and especially understanding and developing your own style never went out of date.
There's a ton of style advice out there on the web. I find that the vast bulk of it falls into a few categories: how to find/express your aesthetic tastes, how to flatter your face and figure, how to make current trends work for you, how to put together stylish outfits, how to use accessories, and shopping tips. Much less popular but still available is advice on how to build a wardrobe suited to your particular needs, dressing for your professional life, and dressing from certain practical angles (Angie's Mom On The Go looks, for example).
Emily Cho approaches style and clothing from these angles, but her focus lies elsewhere. She discusses style and clothing from the perspective of society, your 'audience', social occasions, and the community at large. In other words, you don't just get dressed to shield yourself from the elements or strictly to express your aesthetic creativity. You dress in order to tell the world, and particular people in your life, who you are.
This may well sound stereotypical, and it is. This type of categorizing and pre-judging happens in our society, for good or ill. Emily Cho's system provides one way to become conscious of this stereotyping so that you can make a decision about how you want to participate in it. For me, working with Ms. Cho's ideas helped me to make my peace with all of this and dress in a way that feels honest to me while not undermining my own goals or creating needless strife with family, co-workers, etc.
At your workplace your dress tells your boss if you are hard working, dependable, and ripe for promotion. At your sister's first baby shower your dress tells her how you feel about her and if you're willing to put your rivalry aside to support her at this time. How you dress to meet your boyfriend's parents for the first time lets them know if you're 'the one' or if you're too flighty, slutty, or bohemian to be 'wife material'.
|equestrian boots add a touch of the dramatic for my am walk|
I'll close out today's post by naming the six type: Classic Elegant, Sporty Casual, Romantic Feminine, Sexy Alluring, Exotic Dramatic, and Arty Offbeat. Chances are excellent those of you who've never heard of Emily Cho before already have a good idea about who and what make up these types.....next up, discussion of these types and how they relate to one another.
Some Links About Emily Cho:
Great take on Ms. Cho and 'Seventies Adult Style' in Peculiar Beauty
Short blurb on image consultants in 1986 L.A.Times
TIME Magazine on Looking Good in 1985
Emily Cho's books on Amazon