Neural Pathway to Personal Style


How I put together what I want to wear on a particular day is always a complex web (like the neural pathways of the brain) that spark and fire and contain equal doses of affect and cognition.  New and productive neural pathways are laid down when we experiment, try something different or new and repeat that process. My interaction with my environment, which includes the fashion system and the garments produced within it, is changing my brain because these experiences are making me feel something that gives me pleasure. This feature is my answer to repeating questions I get on all my social media about putting together a look, where I get my clothes and how to take a garment from runway to street.

The Context

The context is the environment that my brain and body will be transacting with. I had to do an interview for a magazine (and it would be videotaped) the day after I had my NYFW meltdown. During fashion week I had been experimenting with very different clothing well outside my comfort zone. Loved some of my experiments, not loving others. I also still get nervous about these sorts of activities. For these reasons I wanted to pull back into familiar and comfortable, yet needed to have a wow factor for the shoot.

Affective Process

Affective process is how I am feeling and how that influences my choice of what to wear. I was really tired and even feeling ambivalent about doing this but had made the commitment. I did not quite frankly, want to get out of bed. I wanted to feel really comfortable and the most comfortable things I own right now are my Gucci fur lined mules. They feel like wearing slippers so it was a compromise for having to get up. I was also feeling "overexposed" because of fashion week and really wanted a more nondescript look closer to my body. The coat could be added or subtracted but what was next to my skin was familiar and could melt into a crowd. I also chose garments that had ties that served to make me feel more contained and less "undone".

Cognitive Process

Cognitive process is what I am thinking and how what I need to achieve factors into my decision-making. about what to wear. I felt all over the place during fashion week and  identified that I needed some self regulation and containment and so it's back to austerity and somber, calming (for me) black. My black Comme des Garcon shirt(purchased for under $100 in a consignment store in Brooklyn that carries Japanese designers)  has a demure Peter Pan collar but has ties that can be tied loosely to conceal or tightly to reveal. I did a small peek (can you see it below?) just to give the black a momentary relief and expose and share a little of myself with the audience. This was the maiden voyage for the Ann Demeulemeester pants purchased most recently at the basement sale of my favorite boutique, again for under $100). I love the high waist, the ties and I left the buckles and ties at the ankle open because I like a sense of movement around my feet. I also like to add a little flaw to my look to make it interesting. The wow factor of course is the silk coat, on loan from one of my many talented emerging designer friends, Yajun. I think she's brilliant, click on this lightswitch for a peek. Since some of my readers are curious about how I translate a runway look into something wearable in everyday life, I included a photo below of how the designer styled it during fashion week and how I adapted it. These sleeves can be worn straight for a more casual look or puffed up as I wear them here to heighten the drama. Between the brocade of the fur mules and the sheen of the coat it elevated my everyday black to a magazine worthy look.

Supportive Process: Hair, Makeup and Accessories

Supportive structures support integration. Staying with the theme of simple, I did a straight easy blowout requiring minimal styling since I have straight hair to begin with. That also led to very soft and natural makeup with some color on the lip. Long black bone dagger earrings were my way of saying, "Don't get too close, I am needing some space", yet I can still give you some drama. These were a gift from a designer,  Jeri Warlick, I met in Seattle. I chose a more minimalist pair of sunglasses from my extensive collection. A few months ago,  I had it in my head that I wanted some small round sunglasses that would put me in mind of a cool, elusive, cerebral, Japanese style vibe. Have any of you used the search site Lyst? I often use it when I do not want to visit every site that I think might have the object of my desires. It pulls up every store and site that carries what you are looking for and allows you to find the best price. Found these glasses on Lyst by Dick Moby and they are made with recycled materials to boot. 


I felt relaxed, comfortable and contained and did a good job on the interview and during the shoot. Afterwards I took off the coat, entered the crowd, met Calvin and had the best salad I ever had at Spring Natural in Soho.

If you click on the photos below you can get a closer look at details.

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