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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Comments from the Peanut Gallery

I've been tring to be more aware of the feedback that I receive from those around me. Since this is usually in the form of unsolicited comments from colleagues, clients, etc, I often don't "file it away" in my brain. Recently I've become aware of just how valuable this commentary is to me in my quest to be chic and elegant on a very frugal budget.
I came across a quote (if I knew to whom it should be attributed, I'd gladly give credit) that has stayed with me of late. If you look chic and elegant one day, but not the next (or not every day).... it means that the chic day was an accident. I don't want my chic days to be accidents. I want every day to be terrific looking and feeling. I want that to be my signature style... my image to the world.
The truth of the matter is that, for me, there are good days and bad days. I do not manage the elegant image every day. I'm getting better. I'm moving toward that image. But I'm not there yet.
That was when I realized that the unsolicited comments from those around me were valuable clues as to what was going right and what was going wrong. So, I'm trying to be more aware of those comments. And I'm trying to use the information to aid my quest for a chic, elegant image.
Yesterday was a day that held some of those clues. Truthfully, if you had asked me about how I felt yesterday, I would have responded, "Pretty blah." I need a haircut, but can't get to the stylist for another week and a half. My nails are done, but ready to be re-done. My everyday makeup just didn't look quite right yesterday. I was bone-tired and ready for a nap by 10:00 am. I had put on an outfit based on time pressure and convenience rather than what I really wanted to be wearing. And although I love black, it wasn't the right color for my mood and well-being yesterday.
Then came the comments from my personal peanut gallery... "You look very efficent today" (not sure what to make of that one!) "You look very relaxed today." (certainly not how I felt). "I don't know what it is, but you look great." (I love when I get this comment. It means that it isn't about one particular piece of clothing that is stealing the show. The overall effect of my clothing is exactly what I'm striving for when it generates this kind of a comment.)
Obviously, I was doing something right yesterday. My "plain" black wrap sweater, houndstooth trousers and black loafers were working together for me in a good way. That outfit is now a "keeper" for me. It makes me look good, even when I don't feel particularly good and even when I don't have the time or energy to work at looking good. That was excellent feedback from my peanut gallery!