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Page 4 in the conversation "Clothing as "Restorative Niche..."" by gryffin
Jenni, I am so sorry about the bullying. You seem to be a very kind and compassionate person. Journalling is so helpful. I am an INFP. No surprise to anyone who knows me.
Ha, Jenni, that’s funny most of the actual journalists I know are very much introverts.
Surely there must be a mixture of people in journalism as well. My sister is a journalist ( in London, UK- moved there aged 23 and never returned) and she is an introvert. She found interviewing people difficult and was much happier when she became a sub-editor behind the scenes. Whereas I'm guessing some TV presenters are extroverts!
JenniZ - just reading your comments now. My preferences are, well, mine, and are based on my ideas of communicating authority, intelligence and expertise through dress. Of course it's absolutely subjective, and we all have different ideas as to what demonstrates those characteristics. My own doctor doesn't dress like gryffin either, but does dress quietly and professionally. As we all know, first impressions go a long way in the work world. What works for you may be different that what works for others !
Gryffin, thanks for the thought provoking topic. My response is going to be long, so forgive me, but I am so interested in this subject. I haven’t read my copy of Quiet yet, but I am definitely an Introvert who can navigate social situations, but find them exhausting. I suspect many in my specialty gravitate towards the I end of the I/E spectrum, although it isn’t a given. I live much of my life internally, and think deeply. It’s my job, and it comes naturally. I typically don’t share what I think with others. I keep most of my internal life private, despite the very rich thought process that takes place. I believe that my ability to think deeply, and to know and recognize my feelings and responses accurately contribute to my successful career and my success as a parent of two autistic children. However, as an introvert, my professional environment can be exhausting. I get very tired, because I use so much energy to concentrate while working and to navigate my environment with all the noise and chaos.
I like the concept of “restorative niche”. I don’t think anyone has mentioned accessories as part of their restorative niche, but I think it is probably the main part of mine. I wear jewelry that has been given to me by people that were special in my life, for example, my aunt, my grandmother, etc. I feel comforted by knowing I have this jewelry with me during the day. I feel like I can channel some piece of their personality that I cherish in a brief moment. I touch a bangle from my aunt and it reminds me of her wonderful poise in every social setting. She had perfect grace. She always looked good, and was welcoming. Her bangles remind me, even when I am getting tired and cranky, to maintain my compassion, to stay composed and calm, graceful under pressure. My grandmother was a storyteller, she was a reader, and she could talk to anyone. Her earrings reminds me that I can find the words I need to communicate with almost anyone. So, someone might argue that the jewelry is used as a sort of talisman, but it’s not luck or just sentiment I get from these objects. I get positive energy. I channel the traits that are hardest for me as an introvert when my energy is low, and my stress level high.
The idea of color vs. neutral as restorative niche is also very insightful. Certain colors give me calm focused energy. I think those are the colors in my work wardrobe. I have mostly neutral greys, denim blues and blue greens, and in summer some white. I do wear color, but typically color is mixed with the neutral, and is one of my calm focused energy colors. I feel happy in my colors, and they help me. Every once in a while, I feel the need to protect myself even more than usual. I need body armor in the form of my outfit and makeup. I think it’s interesting how different people do this in different ways. When I am in need of doing this I can go two ways, I can sink into the background and go all grey, or I can use all color. I find the either works to help me sink into the background and I maintain my energy better. I think it works because I am so tall. It’s as intimidating to see a tall person who is very colorful and powerful looking as seeing a tall powerful person dressed sharply all in grey. The very act of selecting my clothes and putting on my makeup has a calming effect for me sometimes. It helps me prepare. It is particularly useful when I have a migraine for me to wear colors that I like. For whatever reason, I find the energy boost from the colors useful when I am feeling lousy. In fact the worse I feel, the more careful attention I pay to how I look.
I am currently adding items with some movement and texture to my wardrobe. I have found that having some flow in a garment when I move is energizing, and makes me feel good, as long as it isn’t too much. I’m not about having too much drape. It can be a long cardigan so I have a cape like superhero effect flowing out behind me as I walk quickly. I have long legs so the effect would be dramatic. The idea amuses me, and I definitely have a playful side that is not extroverted. In fact I think it would be a mistake to confuse playful with extrovert. I wear a lot of things that I find amusing for one reason or another, often my reasons are private, and no one would ever recognize anything amusing about my outfit, other times they may be left wondering. However, because I do not want to distract with my clothes, I try not to do anything too outlandish. Sometimes I worry people will be distracted by my clothes, not because they are gaudy but because they are too nice or too formal in a very casual community. So, in my mind, there is a continuum where clothes go from dowdy, to fine, to dressy, to suit of armor, to overkill. I try to avoid dowdy and overkill, but wear all the others depending on my mood and environment.
The concepts of architecture and design are fascinating. If my mother could have picked my profession she would have picked architecture, not medicine. I have lived in two houses here in NY. The first was a disaster, It was a standard center hall transitional colonial style home. My kids couldn’t manage it. I felt anxious all the time because I felt like I was in a fish bowl. I read Sarah Susanka’s Books and A Pattern Language, and then went through a process of design and having a house built. I was instantly at peace once we moved. We have been here over a decade. I credit my home for helping with the success of my children. It served as a refuge for them. It gave them a sense of organization, place, and purpose. Our home makes sense, it lives well. It has a lot of natural light. My color scheme is earthy and blends well with the trees outside. My walls are filled with my daughters paintings and my plentiful shelves are filled with books, and photos. There are select objects that people have given to us or that we have collected. Our decor isn’t really organized decor as much as our collection of treasured objects. I think of our home as the hub of our shared experiences as a family. I once told someone that my house was like a summer lodge on Lake Michigan that I once visited as a teenager. Our home has a very warm feeling with large overstuffed chairs and couches, medium cherry wood and light cherry wood as well. Hardwood floors everywhere but oriental rugs. I have a mix of textures and patterns but not so much that they overwhelm. It’s pleasing and restful. There are nooks for reading, window seats, lots of windows and natural light. It’s open but still feels cozy. I love the connection with the exterior. Every room in my house except one has light coming from at least two directions, often three. It is definitely a place to recharge. It’s an introverts haven.
Several people raised the relevance of not wanting to be distracted by what their doctor was wearing, or wanting their doctor to appear as though their energy was spent thinking about and listening to their problems, not about their wardrobe. In my world we call that a transference, counter-transference issue, and I could go on and write an entire text book on the subject based on my experiences. (I will not though.). In my world, this is a fashion forum. Enough said.
Oh yay, that's awesome Staysfit. You will love the book "Quiet". I got it off the shelf yesterday to look up the spelling of "extrovert"- she does use the o but she addresses the issue saying that is the colloquial use with the a being more used in the scientific literature. Now the book is out I may read it for a third time. Despite my extroversion I still get very tired caring for people all day and need a restorative niche. Actually I think my bright clothing especially shoes make me happy during the day when I look down, and the shoes have started many a consultation in a friendly way if the patient comments. Which is why I challenged the comments about doctors' clothing choices. Thanks Lisap for responding to that above.
We get fairly deep here for a fashion forum!
Staysfit, I relate strongly to what you have said about you having a playful side which is not extroverted. I am an introvert as well and I also get amused by some outfits, or items. In fact, the playfulness is very important to me, it is a way to express myself (sometimes for others to see and sometimes just privately for myself). Anyway, it gives me joy. And also armor - a distance to things.
What wonderful stories you shared, Staysfit! It sounds as if you have created a beautiful and restorative home, and also as if you have found a way to carry your positive role models everywhere with you. What a gift of imagination and empathy. And yes! You were one of the doctors I was thinking of as a positive example of playful, conversational style. I like what you say about the varied levels of dress you consider...this might be particularly valuable in your sub specialty and community.
I want to do want to clarify that I would never less of my doctor if she (or he) seemed to care about fashion! On the contrary -- I would be feel curious about this and perhaps would connect more easily with that doctor!
I love what Staysfit wrote. Great response. I can relate to so much of it. I may come back later when I have more time.
Yes, I am with you. I like that there is now a word for me to this concept. I love reading all the members stories that came from this question. Thank you!
Staysfit - I so wish I could have a long talk with you. When we were contemplating the renovate or move question - that's when I found Sarah Susanka and A Pattern Language. Areas of shelter around activity, window seats, light from up to 4 directions, integrating the interior to exterior, "exterior rooms" build in bookcases/storage. We designed each room around purposes and decorated accordingly. The harmony, the peace, the restoration and respite. The is HOME. Here is renewal, safety, in essence - sanctuary. My playfulness is mostly realized in my home. Each room contains something faux. The foyer with it's faux "marble" cream and apricot stenciled floors, the faxu jute Aubusson, the dining room server with it's sepia painting of greek ruins, the painted screen, the tile rug - each room contains is secret - the mellow golds, creams, apricots, mossy greens and terracotta brick and large uncovered windows integrates the exterior "rooms" into the interior. Home is sanctuary.
I also use jewelry as a restorative niche. I carry my harmony ball necklace in my purse. I can not have it far from me. So even when I don't wear it I remember to stay grounded, centered, focus on the important not the annoyances of life. My playfulness is wearing my "dog" charm and dog jewelry. I wear special pieces from my dad and grandmother to channel everything they were and find the best of them inside me.
I also enjoy movement in clothes. No one plays to this better than EF. Clothing is alive and when there is harmony in our surroundings and dress that gives me the well of peace from which to negotiate my day. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I wish I could hear more of them.Jenni - our touchstones. The things that "spark joy."Katerina - I always think of the private jokes and pleasures of dress as "the hidden life" and the fact that they are private but in plain sight gives me joy.
What an interesting thread! I appreciate your original post, gryffin, and all the responses. Angie, I want to let you know you have company: I am an extravert. (I am surprised at how many introverts YLF has attracted!) And high-five to Sal. I felt myself nodding along with you. Back to restorative niche--thank you for introducing the term to me, gryffin. What a useful concept, and fascinating how you see clothing as a way of creating the niche. I don't, but I am definitely a mood dresser. Today I have on comfort clothing, for sure, on a day that I feel like wrapping myself in cosiness. My outfit is boyfriend jeans, one of my favorite warm undershirts (Uniqlo heat-tech), under a soft, medium-blue cashmere sweater. My fun floral loafers. My favorite studded belt. To go out, I wore my knee-length navy trench coat, light gray knit floppy newsboy cap, and light gray backpack. It's not a restorative niche outfit, but it reflects the mood I'm in.
Gryffin - this is such a thought provoking post. For years I have thought I was an extreme extrovert but I am realizing that I might be an introvert - I crave stimulation but only to a point, and I MUST recharge myself after social situations, or even after a few hours with my (very loud but very lovable) kids. Still trying to figure that one out.
Your thoughts made me realise that I do use clothing as restorative niche, definitely - but it's all about the texture and feel of the clothing. I am very sensitive to the feel of things, and one of the things that grounds me is changing into 'cozy clothes' at the end of a long day (soft sweats and a fleece robe.) I must do it the second I get home as it nurtures me - so much so that my kids refer to me in my home clothes as 'cozy mummy.' I completely use this as a restorative ritual bury didn't realise it until you pointed it out!
Roxanna - I so get this. You come home and enter your cocoon of comfort, to restore and recharge. I so that with several pieces - leggings and tank with either the Everlane chunky cardigan coat http://grechenscloset.com/ever.....er-review/ you can see it here. I wear it buttoned as a coat dress. of the Emerson fry https://www.bing.com/images/se.....3A2CF9AE7A long oversized sweater. But when I really need to recharge it's barefoot dreams cozy chic long zip front robe in indigo. Although I'm 5'3" and 115 lbs and usually a small 6 I buy the size 2. So it's ankle length and big and cozy and warm. It's like wearing a hug. My work clothing is so comfy and enjoyable I no longer change to lounge wear right away, I used to, so I totally get this, but when I need to be soothed that above is what I wear
Firecracker - to me dressing for mood to enhance and support is what I w consider as restorative to me. I don't think it's important how we label things but to understand what things and actions help us get more happily through the day. Your outfits are always interesting, elegant, comfortable looking and practical but always unique and personal. I'd think they are very nurturing to all that you would do.
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