The Spectrum

spectrum

Most messages that pertain to beauty describe a fixed point. Beautiful is a goal, a set of characteristics that must be held up and striven for, a way of being that is reserved for a select few. Beautiful is something that can be achieved with ferocious dedication to exercise, generous investment in cosmetics, and meticulous attention to grooming. Beautiful is precious, difficult, and extremely narrow. In these messages, beauty is distant, foreign, tantalizing, and other. It is a destination at which we may never arrive, but which we must always be scrambling toward.

Most messages that pertain to style describe a fixed point. Stylish is a goal, a set of tastes and preferences that must be held up and striven for, a way of looking that is reserved for a select few. Stylish is something that can be achieved with the help of trained professionals, the guidance of industry-approved taste-makers, and the investment of significant cash. Stylish is one idea of flattering, one idea of sophisticated, one idea of creative. In these messages, stylish is complex, expensive, specific, and exclusionary. It is a niche into which we may never fit, but that we must always be attempting to fill.

And it’s all bunk. All of it. Concocted to sell us products, to implement a false hierarchy, to keep us feeling off-balance and powerless. Beauty is not a fixed point, it is a spectrum. And there is room on that spectrum for us all. Style is not a fixed point, it is a spectrum. And there is room on that spectrum for us all. Beauty and style are highly personal and flexible concepts. Anyone who declares that there is one way to be beautiful or one way to be stylish is simply wrong. It’s easy to fall into that particular thinking trap because you, personally, may not see physical beauty in every human being, and you, personally, may not see evolved style on every dressed person. But both are incredibly subjective. Other people may see abundant physical beauty where you see none, admire evolved personal style where you see none.

The next time you find yourself scrutinizing yourself or someone else through the lens of fixed-point paradigms, remember that subjectivity. The next time you find yourself scrutinizing yourself or someone and judging, remember the spectrums.

Because there truly is room on these spectrums for us all.

Images courtesy girlwonderful, Jaana-Mari, and Putting Me Together.

Originally posted 2013-01-25 06:23:45.

Next Post
Previous Post

10 Responses to “The Spectrum”

  1. Linda L

    Beautifully said, Sal. I always try to remember that everyone thinks differently and my way isn’t the only way.

  2. Debbie

    Not only is the fixed beauty/style paradigm bunk, it’s unspeakably boring, too!
    Vive la difference!

  3. Lara

    EXACTLY!! It’s so disheartening when there are so many who insist their way or idea is the only valid one. We all have worth, we all matter. Variety is part of the universe, in ALL things. How can anyone possibly think there is only one kind of beauty or style or worth?

  4. Vanessa

    This! This is why you are top of my list! I consume a lot of different fashion and style blogs but you are the only one where this message is so clear and forward. So many other sites are designed to be the advice givers and style makers. I don’t need another “trend” setter. I need faith in my own ability to see my own style.

    PS, your book has changed my closet! What at resource! You are a gem!

  5. Rocquelle

    Beauty and style are individualistic, personal, and varying. Once we all realize that, we’ll be better able to appreciate the beauty and style that we bring to the world.

  6. Jennifer

    I love all three stylish ladies you featured, and was already following the Putting Me Together blog. Do you know if girl-wonderful has a blog? As a plus-size woman myself, I love finding blogs by people whose closets I relate to and who buy from places I can afford. Beautiful sentiment as well~style and beauty are not size or otherwise exclusive to a narrow few.

  7. Martina

    Oh man, Sally, I want to frame this post!

    Yes yes yes yes yes. I totally agree with this.