July 15, 2013

A Responding Manifesto

My previous post about the necessity of refocusing on my aesthetic, drew a comment from Nadja Sands of La Domna. If you haven't had a chance to take a look at her blog, I highly recommend it. She is an excellent writer but her main, amazing skill is in writing some of the most evocative and gorgeous descriptions of perfumes that I have ever read. My nose is terrible, but reading over her descriptions of, say, Midnight Gypsy Alchemy scents made me want to go out and buy a collection myself.

Now, her comment (bolding mine):

I don't focus very much on creating a cohesive aesthetic in my style.... I don't want to have a set of rules, self imposed or not, to follow... that would just kill my joy and creativity! My only guideline is to wear only what feels good and feels "me". This method has actually led me to have quite a cohesive personal style, but one that doesn't fit into any single mainstream aesthetic (but drawing inpiration from many). I guess what I'm trying to say is that if I like a particular aesthetic, or parts of one, I can always find a way to make it mine and part of my personal aesthetic! I feel no need to classify my style, put a name on it or impose rules...

First, this comment really show cases an alternative method of pursuing one's aesthetic than mine- a method that may be more common in the community. Which is great. Different people have different methods for choosing their aesthetics just as they have different aesthetics in general. For me, I like overthinking things. Finding rules, laws and patterns in my life is a source of entertainment and learning, even if I know the laws won't stay in place for more than a week. But, not everyone spends as much time up in their heads, and it is great to be reminded of that.

But what really struck my attention was the line that was highlighted above: my only guideline is to wear only what feels good and feels "me". 

I don't have a "me." Oh, there are some broad generalizations: strong introvert, cerebral (see above or this blog), etc. But for a me? A me that I can look or wear an outfit or a piece of clothing and say "ah, this is me?" I don't have that.

Part of my personality is that I am very, very easily influenced by external stimuli. In psychological terms, I'm highly sensitive  If you were a hypnotist on stage, you'd want to pick me out of the audience. The books I read, the music I listen to, the clothes I wear all have distinct and noticeable effects on my personality and actions.  

For example, the longer a skirt I wear, the more quiet and mature I feel. Cardigans make me feel tired and dumpy. Wearing my vest makes me more more put together. High heels mean that I stop to smell the roses and am more outgoing. Wearing all black, makes me feel more dramatic and melancholic. More rugged, outdoors clothes, really do make me more adventuresome. Etc. These aren't the most original changes to happen depending on the clothes I have nor have I learned all of the changes that can occur. However, the change can be striking.

As with everything, there is both good and bad in every character trait. My extreme impressionability is unfortunate because I don't have that core of personality and strength to draw on. I can't look at a dress, a job, a potential friend, an activity, and think "this is right for me." It has always been, "let me be right for them." The problems that relate from this are  numerous and don't need to be entered into at this point.

However, there are strengths. Imagination and flexibility are important qualities. I can empathize very highly with someone if I take the time to stop and think (another reason I don't read the news). But most importantly, with enough foresight  I can stop and make conscious decisions about how I want to act and feel in a certain situation and then take steps to deliberately alter my mood to reflect that. This deliberate alteration is becoming a theme of this blog.

Neo-Aristocracy is, for me, my attempt to create an aesthetic and lifestyle that is the ideal lifestyle for this world. The parameters of that are always changing, but five important characteristics of a neo-aristocrat are: capable, life affirming, seeing and living in the real world, finding and cultivating beauty in your world, and practicing these qualities daily. 

Given those qualities that I want to practice and thus embody, I can make conscious choices about my wardrobe to make me feel and act like a Neo-Aristocrat every day. Right now, my closet holds a lot of options that don't make me feel capable or beautiful or are coherent with my aesthetic. But lacking a strong inner compass for just wearing what is me, I need a set of guidelines and rules to help me develop a self. 

This has been a really interesting enunciation of my dedication to Neo-Aristocracy. It's clear that I'm going to need to go back and re-examine my application of this to my life. Thank you, Ms. Sand for prompting this!

Now, this blog is dedicated to my aesthetic, but also my method of coming to terms with this aesthetic. I would love to hear and discuss your methods for creating a coherent aesthetic, discovering what you like and why you like it and even if you think these questions are important.


  1. First, thank you for your awesomely kind comments about my blog!

    How very interesting that my little comment prompted so much pondering!! I guess in comparison to you I have always had a very stable and unchanging personality. In my teens and early twenties I went through a phase of getting to know myself (as everyone does I expect) but know I feel like have a very good sense of self, especially when it comes to aesthetics.

    1. It's funny what things will strike a chord with another person. The simplest, little throw away lines can really resonate in surprising ways.

      Now, I'm still in my early twenties, so maybe there is hope that I'll get this whole personality thing more stabilized later in life. Is there anything in particular that helped you develop a sense of self during that time?

    2. I got to know myself and my sense of style through a process of trial and error... Just lot's of experimentation! :)