The second in our series on authenticity and style, in this article we explore the second myth commonly held about style and authenticity. Catch up on Myth #1 here.
Myth #2: All That Style Stuff is Shallow
This is a genuine concern for some people – that spending too much time on how they look will mean they are shallow. The presupposition seems to be that an interest in style and clothing is a shallow pursuit, right? That only one-dimensional people with not enough real issues to worry about will spend any (let alone much) time, money or energy on their appearance.
And here at 16 Style Types, we understand that. We like to think we’re three-dimensional and the opposite of shallow (let’s say thoughtful and considered).
It’s a question of identity
So here’s where the issue of identity comes in. Clothing, style, and appearance are related to our identity. Lars Svendsen is a Nordic professor of philosophy and the author of Fashion: A Philosophy.
The book offers an interesting take on fashion through the lens of philosophy. It’s worth noting that Svendsen observes that philosophers usually study more weighty topics than fashion, so he is going out on the philosophical limb with this choice of topic.
“… fashion always contains two opposing elements … allowing individuals to show themselves as themselves, but at the same time always showing them as members of a group”.
Where I belong
He’s talking about the paradox of clothing in efforts to conform and fit in…. and how clothing expresses something significant and personal for each individual.
Take the striking and highly visible example of a person dressed in the goth mode, adorned head to toe in black, pale white makeup and black kohl applied liberally. Whilst making a decision to look different from the norm they are making a statement as to their group affiliations and the community in which they feel most aligned.
When it comes to its place in shaping our identity, clothing isn’t just clothing – it’s signaling membership to a group (and by extension, it also signals groups to which we do not belong).
Clothing and our overall style signal that we belong somewhere. Clothing and our style signals something personal about us. Me. You. Who we are as individuals, what we’re feeling and who we’re being (at least on that particular day).
It seems clear to us here at 16 Style Types that clothing, style, and appearance is far from shallow. Style signals something – to others, sure, but more significantly, to ourselves. Style, however we experience it, whatever we think and feel about it, and whatever decisions we make regarding it, are connected to our identity and our place in the world.
Your style is a reflection of your identity.
At least 16 paths to identity
We wouldn’t be so bold as to suggest there are only 16 paths to exploring your identity. But we are confident in putting forward the 16 psychological types – and by extension the 16 Style Types — as thorough, respectful and transformative pathways to exploring one’s identity.
In our research, we discovered significant differences between the 16 Style Types in how they approach style. An ENTP has a different style experience, and a different set of attitudes and actions, when it comes to her style than does, say, an ISTJ. An INFP requires significantly different things to an ESFJ when it comes to making her style meaningful, and will express her style in markedly different ways to any of the other Style Types.
And so it is for all of the 16 Style Types. They are each a unique and beautiful pathway to style, and to exploring identity. They are 16 paths to exploring and expressing oneself.
Want to Know Your Style Type?
Discover your innate Style Type and how it influences your approach to style, how you view it, what about it is important to you, and even how you can further develop your style in an authentic way that feels just so right to you. Click here to discover more about the 16 Style Types Reports and get yours today.
Read the Other Myths About Authenticity and Style
Myth 3: It Doesn’t Matter What You Wear