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Page 2 in the conversation "Clothing as "Restorative Niche..."" by gryffin
Oh, I think it very interesting, gryffin. Very meaningful. And I for one am far more interested in the why behind than the actual outcome. (Lol, y’all can wear flour sacks, I just want to know why.)
I’m thinking about nuns again. The habits of the various orders. The habit is meant to have a quietness. It’s meant to, oh I’m forgetting the word, both enhance and calm the senses. But for example, the Pauline blues and Franciscan browns are so much more... softer and effacing than the Jesuit and Dominican (traditional power players) black and whites. The former are to me ugly and dull; the latter sharp and cutting. I don’t intend any value judgements here - I just note a qualitative difference in the quiet.
Also... it occurs to me there is the introvert / extrovert spectrum... is this the same as sensitive / contained ? I don’t know. I enjoy visual stimulation, not so much sound. I have a lot of thoughts, but I don’t know if that means I’m introverted.
Rachy - that's really interesting about nun's habits. We guess the psychology behind uniforms in general would be fascinating. And does the habit and visual have any relationship to what "order" someone would gravitate toward? I don't know. Same w military, essential personnel .... you get where I'm going with this. Interesting question. I think I/Evhas more to do w how people react to stimulation. That's how I take it FWIW
efbgen - I am so very sorry. I am not ignoring you. My eye completely missed your thoughtful and insightful response. Mia Culpa!! I was an English major and wrote my thesis on Shakespeare, so your quote truly resonates. That's a very interesting observation about E/I and how they respond and modify uniforms on the job and irl. Under times of stress, my threshold goes way down for chaos too, so order and anything that restores it is particularly soothing. And yes the goal of, I think most of us here, is authenticity and that feeling of harmony when the stars align and your wardrobe enhances, reflects and supports self!!
Very interesting thread, what a range of fascinating responses. FWIW, I’m an introvert, although at the mild end of the scale, heading towards being an extrovert. However my restorative niche is actually colour and pattern. This seems to make me feel soothed, refreshed, calm. Wearing all neutrals actually makes me feel a little down. One thing I attribute this to is that my mother, my aunt and my late grandmother have always dressed very brightly, so perhaps I grew up seeing bright colours as the norm, and don’t feel dressed without them?
It is very interesting to wonder about.
This is such a fascinating discussion, thank you for starting it gryffin! I am also very interested in the "why" of dressing, so I appreciate this line of reasoning so much.
I am a fairly strong introvert and I very much relate to the idea of using clothing to create a "restorative niche" -- although, I must admit I had not thought of it that way prior to reading your post.
My style is not minimal, neutral, or visually "quiet" by any means. Rather, I like lots of color, unusual color combinations, pattern mixing, and some degree of layered maximalism (e.g., necklace + scarf). I think that for me, this style of dress creates a "restorative niche" by essentially cocooning me in a kind of private narrative -- somewhat similar to what La Pedestrienne mentioned about wearing things that are meaningful or talismanic. Also, it is a narrative that I can control (vs. the narrative of social interactions).
I wonder if this is part of why getting dressed in a fully thought out ensemble is important to me even though I am self-employed and work from home. My job involves a lot of talking to people on the phone, emailing people (usually strangers) to ask them for favors or to share my ideas etc. I have realized recently that the emails, especially, are extremely draining for me (and they are in fact a social interaction). Even anxiety-provoking. So maybe I really need that cocoon even though I am generally working in *physical* solitude.
Gryffin- No problem here- this is meant to be fun and informative not stressful and cause for apologies. I think it is awesome you did your thesis on THE BARD! I am sitting here in snow storm smiling as I think of my high school English teacher that made me love Shakespeare- and he was one of only a handful of my teachers who was not a nun. So rachylou's post on nun's uniforms has been making me ...reminisce.Again- thanks for the great post! Great fun reading the responses.
What a wonderful post, Gryffin and a wonderful thread. I have not read the book, but I am intrigued.I am most probably an introvert - most tests gave that result. However, my job and other positions require a lot of interaction with a lot of people. I love it and I am often taken for an extrovert. But, same as Janet, in certain time I get exhausted and I really need to be on my own. When I read your post Gryffin, my first thought was that I, despite being an introvert, still prefer to wear bright colours and dramatic contrasts. Rather maximal outfits, actually. But then, after reading more, I realized that I crave colour only in certain situations. Often in social settings which require me to act extrovert. It provides an energy boost and probably also a certain boost of confidence - a kind of an armor. When I am in the restorative mode - I do not want bright colours, I crave soft and harmonious clothing. I was actually about to type the word "outfits", but it did not feel right - I typed "clothing". I do not do "outfits" when I am restoring my strength and energy, I need calm, cozy and harmonious "clothing". No requirements to look elegant, polished, chic etc. But don´t take me wrong - I love being elegant, polished, chic etc. But not always. There are different modes.... Anyway, this thread gave me a light-bulb moment - very grateful for that.
ETA - it just occurred to me that this might be the reason why I kind of struggle with chic and interesting casual outfits - they kind of do not exist in my wardrobe - another light-bulb...
What a wonderful and wonderfully rich thread! Thank you, gryffin! I like the idea of clothing choices as a "restorative niche." I identified very much with what LaPed said here:
"I think that, perhaps, rather than looking to my clothes to provide respite from social interaction, I use them as a means of boosting my energy in social interactions that might otherwise be draining."I'm an introvert, but not at all shy. I enjoy cities, people-watching, and travel. I also enjoy quiet, time in nature, and I need lashings of solitude to function.
I do in fact sometimes wear a dark navy/ ink uniform. At times of stress or confusion, I definitely wear it as armour (especially a jacket, which I know you understand!). At those times, I'll wear an entire column of ink for days and be happy with this, providing the accessories are high quality and substantial.
But my more typical approach is to use colour to boost my energy so that I will feel less drained in the social situation, as LaPed described. Depression is an ongoing risk for me and colour boosts my mood to help ward it off.
I totally agree with the earlier comment someone made that clothing can be an armour and even talismanic. That’s certainly how I think of my clothing.
It’s like, well, there are so many things we can’t control, or only partially control, but our clothes are something we have complete authority over! And that’s refreshing in this workaday world
I am on the extrovert side (but only just). I can understand how people use colour for soothing, or for energising, or for retreating, or for building confidence, or as armour. This definitely makes sense to me - how we dress and present our selves to the world is and has always been important.
In saying that, I can't pin it down neatly for myself, I am a bit too contrary at heart, and while on the surface quite conventional, I have a mercurial streak, and like Angie, am a mood dresser. One day a floral sundress will make me feel confident, the next day a monochrome pants and jacket look. Sometimes being at home all I want is my ugg boots and a cosy sweater, the next day I will dress up just to please myself. I work for our own company which is in a technical field so the dress code is very broad and I do mix it up from a dress and heels, to jeans and boots, based on a mix of mood and practicality and weather and what I am favouring (a new trend for example).
Thoroughly fascinating....I keep coming back to read more replies. We could start parsing by profession or occupation too, when it comes to dressing (still keeping in mind the wearer's need for restorative comfort). I *want* my doctor to dress like you do; I don't want her dressed in casual, linen, cotton, drapey stuff...and nor do I want her dressed all in brights and the trend of the moment. I want her attention on me, and I don't want to think her clothing reflects her need for visibility and energy. On the other hand, I dress in a different way than you do because I *need* or *use* my clothing to project the energy and vitality I may not naturally have . I'm not loud, don't immediately run up and hug someone, I'm not laughing and moving about, and don't grab attention because I'm super-animated etc If I wore subdued clothing, I don't think I'd command any respect or attention , which you need in sales, especially when your personality indicates you'd rather be at home with a book.
jussie - that's very interesting. Yes, if you associate color with beloved family, then wearing color would be like wrapping yourself in a warm hug. What a lovely thought!Sarah - I love that "I think that for me, this style of dress creates a "restorative niche" by essentially cocooning me in a kind of private narrative -- somewhat similar to what La Pedestriennementioned about wearing things that are meaningful or talismanic. Also, it is a narrative that I can control (vs. the narrative of social interactions." There's no question that "control" is a big part of the security of our sartorial cocoons. I also get dressed carefully for my non work life, yes, even if I'm going no where but to the computer or to clean in the basement. But really important to dress for work even though you work from home. Do you follow Fly Lady? It's part of the program to get dress to "shoes" because we act differently because we are dressed "professionally" no matter what the profession is. Very important!efbgen - it's William Horman, not The Bard, but I do believe "Manners maketh man" Not that I thought you would take it as a personal slight, but your response was insightful and eloquent. It deserved response!Katerina - that's very similar to me (although you are a gazillion times more chic!!) but work/out and about/social require different outfits but sometimes you just wanted to be embraced in a warm sartorial hug of clothing!! Comfort clothes!Suz - like Angie you use color to reinforce mood, support and modify mood. And then we have power pieces, the outfits and pieces that make us secure, comfortable, armored, fierce. Pieces that make us happy. Sometimes it's having the right outfits for the important situations in life. And yes, there is no bad or good day, that a great blazer can't help!!Jussie - Agree. It's a tremendous control issue. In a world which often seems to have gone mad, how we present ourselves is within our control. Sal - totally agree. It's not meant to put any of us in a box. But if different moods are reinforced or ameliorated by different clothing, colors, fabrics, etc, it might make it easier to understand the "multitudes" that are within us all!!Lisa - I think your outfits are very visually arresting. I would want to talk to you, even if we had never met in any way. You always have a beautiful hair cut, and your outfits are edgy, elegant, interesting. You are uniquely you (which is my highest praise!). In sales I'd imagine the "I want to be her!" feeling would be a huge asset! And yes, different outfits and styles are dictated by situation, stress, energy, formality, weather...as life is never the same, we are never the same and that's probably one of the important reasons that we evolve our styles!
Lisa makes a great point, too, I think. I tend to agree with her...I want my doctor to look different than my art instructor and my art instructor to look different from my sales rep and my sales rep to look different from my ski instructor...
I think a sober and quiet appearance would be a great asset in a doctor. You want to know your doctor is thinking carefully!
And yet, now that I say that, I know of doctors who dress quite whimsically or in ways that call deliberate attention to the outfit , and that also works for them! (Mind you, they might do their more serious work dressed in scrubs or a lab coat.)
I guess it goes back to your original point, gryffin -- if it is true to the person, it feels right, no matter what. At the same time, there are some fashion parameters that make it easier or harder to earn trust from those we serve in various positions.
Suz - I think you and Lisa are striking a tangent issue of place, situation, respect. I think everyone here gives great attention to "appropriate" attire and respect for persons and place. But then we have to run that through our personal filters of individual style for those situations and then modify for what we feel and need from our clothes that still fills those parameters. Is there any wonder that there is always plenty of discussion to get such a complicated task if wardrobing done?!! Yes, my don's dentist, her favorite color is pink. Pink scrubs, pink clogs and pink glasses!! She's marvelous and so much fun, as you might imagine. She's also a major extrovert.
Fun thread. I like reading the generalizations, AND the exceptions.
Gryffin, applasue for being spot on in your reply back to me:
"In many ways we like very similar clothing - elegance, clean lines, formal, unfussy, quality, but we differ in how color effects our soul. For you color reflects, enhances and restores you. It's how you "balance" your emotional state and maintain your happiness equilibrium. It's makes total sense. Because at your core you are always you (always evolving of course) but how you feel is ever changing and color expresses and balances the change"See pic of our living room today, (with his Lordship draped in the background). I surround myself with colours that make me happy. Although these are NOT Greg's happy style colours, he loves our light and colourful home, helped decorate it every step of the way, and wouldn't want to live in a neutral minimal home. Not so different to you
Suz, you are a VERY high functioning introvert.
Sal, YAY. At last. Another extravert. I enjoy your controlled mercurial streak and love how you explained that.
We choose an outfit based on our mood. Yet we choose an outfit to put us into a desired mood. Opposite sides of the same coin.
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Angie - I see clean lines, Asian pottery and stand (me too), the juxtaposition of antique style Modern(although I have more period pieces), repetition of color, rooms filled with natural light, unobstructed sight lines, carefully chosen accessories often organic all for the pleasure and comfort of our pups, of course. At core similiar the expression different to suit our differences!
What a fascinating thread! I read Quiet asap when it came out - I am an extreme introvert, although that comes to a surprise to some people as I have "learned" to be social some of the time. Introvert, as the book confirms, does not mean I don't like people, don't need to socialize, etc. It is more a question of what gives me energy and what takes it away. So, regarding clothes, I like mine to do a bit of the small talk for me. I do not find my image to be a restorative place for me - I am very aware that the only place where how I look is not integral to my image is in my own head. Grey hair, unconventional haircut, unusual clothing, "creative" combinations warn the observer what they might be in for without me saying a word - without me even noticing the observer at all many times. That is my bliss .
Shevia - I so relate. If I read you right outfit/hair days "This is me. You have been warned. Deal with it!" I'm 58 yo so edgy cut classic hair is a must. I wear a classic inverted wedge bob, so it's shorter in the back and angles down to my chin. I wear bangs which I tell my hairdresser "hack at them like you are s toddler w mommy's cuticle scissors". So they are spikey and jagged. I don't do "old lady!" I too use my clothing to make a statement - formal, dressy, strict, intelligent, balanced, polished, edgy, unique. Formality let's me work into relationships but puts people on notice that I'm no pushover. And yes that's bliss. But I was slightly confused, does your clothing give you pleasure? Do outfits make you feel your best you? To me that's the restorative part or is it simply armor to you?
What an interesting topic! I loved the book 'Quiet'. I am an introvert and could relate to so much of the book. I work with people and enjoy my work. It brings me great satisfaction and I am extremely grateful to have had that experience. Interacting with people and being an introvert does not seem conflictual to me. I found ways to rejuvenate myself such as taking a walk by myself at lunch, doing Yoga, meditating, etc.I am curious about the use of "high functioning". What is meant by that? What would a high functioning introvert be? It sounds a bit like some qualities are of higher value than others. Perhaps I am reading that wrong.In terms of clothing, I have always worn earth tones and simple lines. I always want to be comfortable but at work, I want to look professional. Now jeans can be worn but in the 80s I would never have worn jeans.
Style Fan, I don't know if there's any clinical definition of "high functioning" introversion, I think it's more of a pop-psychological term, but to me it means that your introversion is not anxious. Basically, you can find a day of interacting with others to drain your energy even though the interactions were positive and enjoyable. People who are called "high functioning" introverts are often people who appear to very sociable, even outgoing, rather than the stereotype of a very withdrawn/shy wallflower. I do feel like it's a term that was pretty clearly coined by extroverts.
The question of home design and habitat is an interesting one. I don't see Angie's living room, above, as particularly "busy" despite the bright colours. I see tidiness, clean lines, nothing extraneous. It looks to me to be very orderly but also welcoming. Truly minimalist spaces rarely read as welcoming. (I often feel rather on display in very spare minimalist homes, like an exhibit in a museum.) I also know plenty of very reserved people who live in very "busy" looking spaces -- and sometimes that visual busy-ness is a direct result of leading a very vibrant private life -- lots of solitary, hands-on projects going on at all times, etc. Again, because solitude is where an introvert is at their most energetic, the place they go to get things done...
From a psychological perspective, I think social stimulus and environmental stimulus are two completely different things, and tolerance can be high for one and low for the other. Plenty of introverts live in bustling metro areas and love people-watching, etc, and in that case it's not the general degree of environmental stimulus that is overwhelming, but rather direct social interactions with individuals. I think lots of introverts rather like the feeling of being alone in a crowd, in contrast to small-town life, where no one is a stranger and you're expected to chat with your neighbours at the Post Office...
Style Fan - I took the term "high functioning" as meaning, to those who used it, as simply closer to the extrovert end of the spectrum. I don't think the term is optimal because it implies (although we all know that no one here would mean to imply that, but the construction of the phrase could make it appear that way) that there is something "wrong" with being an introvert. That the closer to extroversion, the more "normal," "high functioning" (like you'd use in autism, CP, s/p stroke) the introvert would appear. Of course, this is one of Susan Cain's points that extroversion is valued in our society in ways that introversion is judged less optimal. IMHO introversion/extroversion are simply the way we interact with stimulation. Neither is good or bad, both ends and through the continuum of the spectrum have strengths and weaknesses - in making it through the day. The ideal is that we recognize who we are and what we need to be our best selves in the world. "Know thy self." I do think it's always best, to take everyone's words in the most positive way possible. Language has limitations and it's always difficult to phrase things in a way that no one could take them out of context. I try and respond to the "spirit" and many times not react to the "letter" of the response - past the "seems-seeing" and to the soul of the reply. But hey, I'm an introvert, that's what I do! LOL!!
Wow, I'll have to allow all these to sink for me so I could come back later with my comment. Thanx gryffin:-).
La Ped - I think it's important to tease out shyness from introversion. Introverts may or may not be "shy." Introverts are simply drained by over stimulation - and I totally agree they may have more or less tolerance for all different kinds of stimuli. Shyness is a different factor that may exist along side or not. I think "restorative niche" was really in reference to finding the repose an introvert needs to recharge their batteries. In the same way, extroverts are often, again depending on where they are in the extrovert continuum, looking for stimulation to recharge their batteries. For my son, who is off the charts extrovert, he uses music, tv, youtube, games, conversation. He is the first law of physics - an object in motion stays in motion. He's always trying to tap into the energy in the environment to keep his "batteries" optimally charged!! OTOH, I'm trying to sneak off for a quick moment of quiet and repose, to tank my batteries up!!
Lyn - we will be interested to hear what you think!
I am extrovert and like colour, texture and shine one day and then minimal clean lines the next. I like a sense of drama in my outfits, hope I'm not a drama queen!
I like my clothing to energise me, whether that be calm and confident or high energy. I like to go with my mood and also don't mind standing out. I often feel that I am a bit of an outsider working in a male dominated field and find that the way I dress will often draw female colleagues to me.
HIgh five, LaPed! Nodding with you again on every point!
I think the term "high functioning' introvert must have been coined by an extravert!
When I left secondary teaching a lot of my colleagues wondered how I would manage "on my own" all day...wouldn't it be an awful shock to the system? I could not understand their question. The constant press of people was precisely why I had to change careers. To be alone is balm. To be in company with many all day and no space to recharge or rest is torture.
Bijou - your wardrobe sounds very empowering to you! Kudos! Yes, I do find women especially respond to other women's wardrobe choices. It's a nice bonding subject! We all have to get dressed! I think most men wear more "generic" clothing so it's less an issue for them. Although men who are more fashion oriented seem to be just as open to discussion.
TBH, my definitions go like this: introverts talk to themselves, extroverts talk to others
This makes the most sense to me. When it comes to stimuli and sensitivity, I feel like these should have their own trait category.
Because I’m an armchair philosopher / psychologist
Suz - just curious, is your daughter an introvert or extravert? My son is more exhausting than my work day because he requires constant stimulation. It's a constant battery drain!! And yes, happy as a clam in my little clam shell!!
Rachy - for me that's a truism. I am always looking inward (it's why I have a terrible sense of direction, I have such an inner dialog going I'm never paying attention!) while extraverts are outward focused, seeking stimulation. I'm interested if the extraverts agree, or do you guys live as much in your heads too? Inquiring introverts want to know!!
Thanks for the clarification of the term high functioning. I did not take it as negative but was curious because of my clinical background. It was a term that I really disliked in the clinical setting but I have not felt this forum has a place of judgment.I liked the book 'Quiet' for many reasons. One of them was the way she described how Western Society has come to value extroversion over introversion. It was not always that way. Interesting. I live in my head a lot. I am very reflective and always thinking things over. I can happily spend lots of time alone. Mr SF is more extrovert and needs to be around people for energy. He was a teacher so what Suz wrote makes a lot of sense. He misses being around the students.
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