For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
– AUDREY HEPBURN-
When I Style people they often ask me: “Who do you think are the most stylish and elegant men and women on the planet?”
In my entire career in Fashion and Entertainment, I have met very powerful men and women coming from all walks of life. Many of them had high-end and expensive wardrobes and were impeccably dressed. However, only few of them really had Style. As the saying goes “You can buy fashion but you can’t buy Style”. Some behave and relate to others in a way that isn’t as precious as the image they project. They’re like the impeccable facade of a building that is lifeless and empty on the inside.
In human history, there’s always been a tendency to define Success with appearance, social standing and material belongings and nowadays, social medias have exponentially expanded and rooted this way of thinking in our minds. People “follow” each other looking for acceptance from their peers. “Social Influencers” are the new Born stars that create trends, the more “followers” one has the more (apparently) successful he/she is. I find it funny that with all of this technological evolution we end up losing individualism and are going back to living in a tribal mentality.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I use social medias too and I think they are extremely useful and powerful to spread a message out there. I just don’t believe in acting like a sheep and following the mass. I’d rather see or hear about people’s mission and a vision than knowing what brand someone is wearing or what they ate for lunch. I’m more interested in the stories of the “Outsiders” that are committed to make a change in the world.
I believe that who you are, how you behave and what you have achieved are more important than any material possession or nice picture. I am more inspired by those outspoken Individuals who have the courage to express their ideals, to let themselves be seen and who serve their community and their environment. Sometimes those people might appear understated, yet they stand out from the crowd because of their presence and personality. Before choosing their wardrobes (which by the way is not random but researched) those people dress themselves with VALUES. Here are the ones that I personally cherish the most and strive to have every day.
When we are kids, we are open and eager to discover. We know what we want, we invent worlds out of nothing and simple things make us happy. As we become adults we lose that curiosity and creativity. We think we already know everything and rather than pursuing what makes us feel good we do what others make us believe is right for us. We follow trends, rules, society, medias, influencers and we become fearful of being ordinary. We have found the “not enough” society in which we believe our relationships are “not enough”, the house we live is “not enough”, our job is “not enough” and guess what? everything else around us is “not enough”. We live in the idea that if we don’t do extraordinary things, or surround ourselves with expensive material possessions we are not good enough.
Authenticity is a virtue of the heart. To be authentic means letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing everything that is Us: Our story, where we come from, our relationships, our passions, our feelings, our desires as well as our imperfections, our dark sides, our mistakes and our failures. It’s daring to break through all the noise of this world and shout out loud “I am enough, just as I am and I don’t care about what other people think”.
No one else is like you, no one else has your experience. You are Authentic because you are original and true, there are no copies or imitations. You are more than enough, ‘You’ are Unique.
I believe Integrity walks hand in hand with Truth and Respect, which is important to have for ourselves and for others. When we lie to others, pretending to be someone we are not, we lie to ourselves in the first place. Lying is like building a house on the sand, no matter how beautiful we make it, a wave crashing, rain falling or a wind blowing will be enough to make it collapse. Lies usually arise from a low self-esteem and from the incapacity to believe that we have the ability to be complete and successful. It all goes back to the “not enough” mind setting we talked about earlier; we believe we are “not enough”, so we make up a story to be loved and accepted by others gambling on our relationships and killing trust.
Being out of Integrity is not only making up stories or pretending to be someone we are not. It is also talking too much without taking action on our words. We can be “talkers” or “doers”. The talkers spend their time preaching how things should be done but never do them; whereas the doers don’t waste their energy on words, they just take action and DO things. Are you a talker or a doer and which of the two personalities do you tend to surround yourself with?
We all lie at some point in our lives, no one is exempted. Whether we think it’s for a good or a bad reason and whether it’s to others or to ourselves it doesn’t matter. At night, when we go to bed and we are alone with ourselves, we know where our truth stands.
Living in integrity can be difficult. People who live in integrity will not move away at any cost from their principles and their morals. They stand in their truth and are willing to fight for what they believe in. They respect others because they have a great respect for themselves. Where does that respect come from? It comes from being vulnerable.
Modern society has hypnotized us with the idea that “in order to be successful, we must project an image of success all the time” (I stole the line from American Beauty, one of my favorite movies). We’ve been raised in a culture where LOOK became more important than FEEL and we’ve been taught to armor ourselves against feeling exposed, uncertain, uncomfortable and vulnerable.
Have you ever had a time in your childhood when you cried all of your tears out and after five minutes you were back to playing and laughing? Babies and kids don’t fear to be judged when they cry, they express their feelings. Crying is not stupid, it’s not something that makes us weak. Crying washes and liberates our soul that’s asking for forgiveness. It’s a way to express that we’re ready to receive because our heart is open, it’s creating space for change.
Vulnerability is telling people how we feel, even when those feelings might not be understood. It’s giving up on control and embracing the unknown with no expectations. It’s being uncomfortable in intimacy because we do feel naked and exposed. It’s being open to listen and receive from others instead of wanting to have all the answers and do everything by ourselves. It’s having the courage to say “hey, I fucked up, I failed, I was wrong, I made mistakes, I lied” or to say “Hey, I’m not feeling well, I’m sad, I’m scared, I’m pissed off, I need help” instead of pretending it’s all going great when it’s not. Vulnerability is embracing ourselves as a whole, without running away from who we are, searching for truth and sharing our story with the rest of humanity.
Theater and Acting gave me the chance to put myself into other people’s shoes and I was able to use those experiences to deepen the understanding and the Modus Operandi of different types of characters. My acting coach Ivana taught me to never judge my characters, especially when it came to playing serial killers, drug addicts, prostitutes or criminals. She said “No matter how cruel someone is, there is always a reason for it, which is usually a “response to heinous physical, emotional or sexual abuse they endured as a child”.
Empathy is the ability to see the world as others see it, understanding their point of view and their feelings without judgment. We all have dark sides, empathy comes from knowing our darkness well enough so we can sit in the darkness with others and eventually help them see the light. We can’t have empathy if we don’t embrace our vulnerability and face our shame first and for that we need Courage.
Fear is a human feeling and we all have it, no one is exempted. Every time I was scared, my mom would tell me “when something or someone scares you, look at them in the eyes. When your fear has a name, you’ll realize that there’s nothing to be scared about”.
Courage is being able to face the darkness of the world. It’s embracing your own darkness and using it as a motivation rather than seeing it as something that can block you. It’s choosing to be human, with all of our imperfections and allowing ourselves to be seen in our nakedness and to feel our emotions.
Yes, the world is a scary place at times, the good and the evil have always existed and always will. Yes, life challenges us with painful moments. Darkness is nothing but a place where light doesn’t shine. Have you ever wondered why people like so much sunsets and sunrises? This is how I see it: “When a day begins, a night ends and when a night ends, a day begins. Light cannot exist without the dark and so the dark without the light, they have to dance together so that life can be meaningful.” To live in our light we must be able to acknowledge our dark sides.
Confucius said “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
Reflection is recognizing that the world is our mirror, through relationships with others we learn about ourselves. Imitation is surrounding ourselves with people that are smarter and wiser than us and being open to receive their knowledge and their teachings. From the day we are born to the day we die, we never stop learning. Anyone can be our Master: from the old man to the kid, from the maid to the multimillionaire, anyone can teach us something. Wisdom is being open and willing to receive from others and let all their experiences flow into our lives and inspire our journeys. The more we’re open to learn and receive, the wiser we become. To quote Socrates “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Last but certainly not least is Experience and that is the hardest one because you must live in on your own skin.
The greatest lessons in life, are learned through mistakes and failures, if we can accept and embrace them as teaching tools, we keep growing and expanding our knowledge. When we do, we earn the right to teach our experience to others and leave our Legacy. Some have heard of it, some talk about it, some have lived it in their own skin and those are the real Masters.
It’s obviously easy to be grateful when things go well, and hard when they don’t. Life can be challenging at moments. There are always going to be times in which we’ll have to overcome obstacles and hurdles. The attitude you’ll face them with is the real game changer.
Gratitude has the power to shift how you feel about yourself, other people, your day ahead and other life circumstances. In my personal journey, I have learned that my worst moments have been my greatest gifts for they brought more awareness into my life and they made me realize how EVERY SINGLE SECOND in life is precious and important.
The day after my mother died I was feeling grateful. There was a beautiful moon in the sky that reminded me of Alice in Wonderland Cheshire cat’s smile. It was one of my mom’s favorite characters and I knew that, in some way, she wanted to tell me I had to keep smiling and living life to its fullest. Every day I take a moment to stop and reflect upon all the gifts life has blessed me with: a healthy body, a shelter above my head, food on my table, the love of my Family and Friends, an endless Creativity, the possibility to follow my Dreams, traveling the world, meeting new people, sharing my stories, the Nature I’m surrounded by. The list of things I am grateful for is endless and surprisingly it’s the little things I’m the most grateful for.
Gratitude creates a powerful energy within us that reflects on our outer world. The more Gratitude we put out there, the more the Universe responds by sending us back the things we are grateful for.
As a conclusion, here’s my answer to the question at the beginning of this article: I believe that the most stylish people in the world are the ones who dress themselves with VALUES.
STYLE IS NOT ABOUT THE WAY YOU DRESS, IT’s ABOUT THE WAY YOU LIVE.
– coxy –
If you feel like you need more help in creating your personal Style, feel free to contact me and connect to my social media.
Be everything that is you.