While we often recognise new fashion trends as the beginning of a movement or a social shift, I’ve come to realise that it’s actually the other way around. A trend is, in fact, the fruition of a movement that is already underway. It’s an awakening (and a cross section) of our mass psyche. It’s a voice that speaks to what’s happening in the world – and where our emotions lie. I think the most recent Fashion Week trends are a perfect example. There was such an intensive blend of power dressing and ultra-femininity – two sides of a woman that, these days, are no longer considered a duality. To me it demonstrates the collective new confidence in womanhood, and an acceptance and embrace of our complexities as a strength.
I’m personally more inclined towards a simple approach to fashion, but I’m not surprised by how far fashion can go or how fast or extreme trends can be. Sure, I might not like every look that’s out there, but I am learning to appreciate fashion from a more holistic perspective.
If you apply the idea of fashion not being just an external influence, but rather a more in-depth examination of the global psyche, you can find incredible insight into the collective consciousness.
One of the best side effects of working more on myself and my internal world is that I’ve begun to see almost every aspect of life in a different light. Even a slight shift of perspective has a way of doing that to even the most familiar – and even to things that may seem more surface level, such as fashion. But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Our inner worlds, and where we are within them, play a strong role in guiding how we present ourselves to the outer world, consciously or not.
Just a few years back, I was so much more indecisive about what I wore and would try to adopt every trend, regardless of how they actually suited me as an individual. All of my fashion influence was external and I don’t feel like I really had a style that aligned with my best self. While I still have a long way to go, ever since I’ve started focusing on the self from the inside out, my approach to style has begun to change. I am finding that I no longer need all the bells and whistles. The more work I put into being present and mindful, the more aware
I become of everything within me and around me – and the more I begin to prioritise the aspects of style that put my best self forward. These days, I prefer comfortable, clean, and understated items – and always tailored to fit. After all, every one of us is unique and anything but ‘off the rack’, so it would make sense that we take the same approach to what we wear.
The clothes we choose also have a direct correlation with communication – both with ourselves and with others. They’re a reflection of mood, attitude, what we perceive to be our assets, or where we feel we may be lacking.
These days, I find myself wondering not what a person is wearing, but rather, how a person was feeling when they put on what they’re wearing. I’ve discovered that a person’s priorities can be very clear when you examine what they are wearing in this light. And in so doing, and without judging, I’m learning to assess external factors in order to be able to connect better on a more intimate, personal level.
I’m still honing in on my personal style by asking myself similar questions – and forcing myself to be honest about the answers. Why did I choose what I’m wearing? What are my motives? How does something make me feel when I wear it? Confident? In control? Comfortable? Do I want to stand out – and if so, then why? Just as a mindful practice helps you interpret the external world, being honest with yourself and your motives will give you a more clear connection to your inner world. And the inner world is where everything begins.
From April 2018 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia
Photography: Ausra Osipaviciute. Styling: Taya Shalaby. Carla wears: jacket and trousers, Elisabetta Franchi