This astonishingly powerful quote was recently made in reference to the impact that understanding your style essence has:
“Until you uncover all that you are inside and understand your values, needs and how you want to project and be seen, you’re just dressing a mannequin.”
What a wonderful turn of phrase: “dressing a mannequin“. That hit me like bolt of lightning.
The idea that until we know who we are on the inside, what we’re doing on the outside is merely dressing a mannequin.
That until we know the real us, and have not only understood who the real us is but embraced all we are — our gifts and our beauty, as well as blind spots and challenges — that all we are doing is putting clothing on a human-shaped inanimate object.
That there’s something a little empty and perhaps even directionless about dressing the outside when the inside has no real shape to it.
What a fascinating idea. Time to explore more about mannequins!
The Mannequin Challenge
This powerful comment about “just dressing a mannequin” got me researching more about mannequins for this article. I stumbled across the Mannequin Challenge, now long since disappeared from our social media screens having had its heyday way back in 2016. Feel free to do some searching on the Mannequin Challenge, including looking at some of the many many videos posted showing people doing it.
The Mannequin Challenge is thought to have had its genesis in a Florida university with some seemingly bored students dreamed it up then quickly got out their smart phones and turned their vision into reality toute de suite. Posted on social media, it quickly became a craze with everything from Presidential campaign singers to professional sports teams to everyday people embracing the challenge of “striking a pose” (like a store mannequin) and holding it for the length of a pop song whilst being filmed.
And the point is….?
I can’t quite tease apart my thoughts and feelings on challenges like this (they include a mixed bag including “well that’s kind of clever, who’d have ever thunk of doing such a thing!” to “what a ridiculous waste of time, I can’t believe any grown adult would want to do that!” and so much more. Social media confounds me so often and I often feel like I’m missing some important ingredient that everybody else seems to grasp which would make it all suddenly make sense).
But what is very clear is that this Challenge, amongst the plethora of other such challenges that go viral in our online world, sparked a range of responses from thinking writers who cast a reflective and often critical eye over this and other social phenomenons. Their articles often help us make sense of this online melting pot of seemingly random activity.
Purpose defines impact
I found one such article – short and profound in its assessment of the Mannequin Challenge. Quoting directly from this thought provoking piece (emphasis mine):
1. There are many people across the world in a purposeless activity.
2. Success, popularity, fame and notoriety is not necessarily tied to purpose.
Activity could be exciting, but purpose defines impact. Like the Mannequin challenge isn’t it interesting that we have many people in the world running a purposeless cycle, a cycle without necessary impact in the end.
You can read the full article here.
And this is where we tie back into style. When we consider the idea of “dressing a mannequin” — dressing in a way disconnected from our style essence and who we are at our core — we are offered the opportunity to reflect on that behavior through the lens of purpose and direction.
When you have the alternative — purposeful style that derives from a clear sense of who you are at your core, your innate and beautiful self — then “dressing a mannequin” could seem directionless, lacking in purpose, and therefore lacking in real impact. At the very least, “dressing a mannequin” is a short-lived pursuit with short-lived impacts. It lacks something in the way of authenticity.
Certainly when it comes to fashion, and fast fashion in particular, I can relate to the quoted article above when it states: a cycle without necessary impact in the end. This is so often how I feel about the fast pace of fashion – that it is an endless cycle without necessary impact. Read more reflections from me on the difference between fashion and style.
Whereas when your focus is on your authentic style journey and not fashion, everything shifts. When your style expression flows from a deep connection to your style essence, your style becomes purposeful – full of direction, focus, and impact.
And that’s what we, here at 16 Style Types, want for you. This is at the heart and soul of why we created 16 Style Types – to have you connect with who you really are, and from that place of strength, confidence, and beauty, to express your style in a way that only you can. To feel fully confident and authentic in your style. To wear your clothing like a second skin.
So if you’re interested in connecting your style essence with your style expression and to stop “dressing the mannequin”….. If you want to get into the core of your style so that you can discover what kind of style will feel most natural and authentic to you … If you want to uncover style’s true value in your life, then now is the time.
You are a dynamic, living and breathing, beautiful human being – not a mannequin.
Have your style reflect that simple yet profound truth. Get your Style Type Report here.