by Gail Condrick
Waking up on the morning of a big presentation to secure city funding for a new park, you’re confident that you’ve done your homework: You’ve prepared handouts, memorized key points of an environmental impact study and lined up community supporters. Opening the closet presents a different kind of challenge: What’s the most effective way to dress?
Dressing Our Essence
Wardrobe consultants that apply the principles of feng shui to clothing believe the jacket we choose to wear carries as much impact as our words. Clothing pieces and accessories selected with conscious awareness and intention can bring us into harmony and balance, energize our life and transmit subconscious messages about our values.
Feng shui clothing stylists believe the five elements of nature—wood, fire, earth, metal and water—connect in an unending cycle of harmony that keeps the world in balance. Following an authentic and harmonious lifestyle connects us with this cycle and the environment in a more natural balance of human motion and planetary sustainability.
As pioneering stylist Evana Maggiore observed in Fashion Feng Shui: The Power of Dressing with Intention, “I came to the conclusion that clothing is your body’s most intimate environment and energetically influences your life in the same way that your home and business décors do. Body coloring and shape, style, personality, lifestyle, goals and clothing design can align perfectly with the colors, shapes, substances and energies of feng shui’s five elements. Because feng shui connects divine energy to physical form, I realized I could dress my client’s spirits, as well as their surfaces.”
Fashion Feng Shui, Maggiore’s international corporate legacy, maintains that combining intention and the five elements with awareness of our personal style attracts what we desire. Holistic image and lifestyle consultant and lead trainer Andréa Dupont, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, states that the first step is discovering our “essence,” or primary element. “You can’t dress yourself until you know yourself. I ask clients, ‘If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?’ Once we establish an individual’s inner strengths and core element, the results can be life changing.”
For Denise Medved, of Hendersonville, North Carolina, owner of Feng Shui Style, wardrobe consciousness shows respect for our individuality and the environment. “When I choose to dress in natural fibers such as cottons, leathers, silks or wools, or their vegan complements in manmade fibers, it represents the life force of plants and animals and builds qi, or energy,” says Medved.
She suggests assembling an outfit embracing three of the five elements. “A water/wood/fire triad might be black, woven, silk trousers; an organic, cotton, floral print shirt; and a red, recycled wool jacket. Personalizing this with the surprise of grandmother’s yellow stone pin on the lapel adds creative flair and earth and metal elements.” Nature’s jewelry energizes and circulates qi.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Practicing the three basic tenets of sustainability together with principles of feng shui keeps our wardrobe and closet resonating with life. Consultants agree that a wardrobe representing the five elements allows endless possibilities of creative combinations and reduces the need for having to keep up with new fashion trends. Shopping for such treasures at consignment and thrift stores, plus estate sales, allows us to reuse and repurpose clothing, energizing our budgets, closets and attitudes. Recycling items that pack closets and no longer suit our needs frees space and energy to create a wardrobe that is authentically ours.
The Practical Encyclopedia of Feng Shui, by Gill Hale, also contains helpful advice for bringing out an intended inner message and making a statement. The color green conveys the wood element, or individuals that are public spirited and energetic. Red suggests fire, the color of inspiring leaders. Supportive and loyal earth personalities gravitate to khaki, while resolute, metal people may select grey. Natural communicators that view life holistically will be reflected in the water element of black.
A feng shui philosophy provides guidelines for living in harmony with the natural world and in conscious awareness of life. Each choice expresses a stylistic living intention that will be noticed by the world.
Gail Condrick is an archetypal consultant and Nia Technique faculty member. Connect at GaelaVisions.com.