Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Somebody hates what you're wearing....

Me, Venice, January 2003

Yes, someone hates what you're wearing.  Someone else hates what I'm wearing.  Ultimately, there is absolutely NOTHING any person can wear that will be pleasing to 100% of the population.

Okay, maybe the only person who hates your outfit is some disenfranchised 14 year old with purple hair and a bad attitude.  But the underlying message is the same - you can't make everybody happy.

We know that about so many other aspects of our lives, but we can lose sight of it when it comes to getting dressed.  The idea of choosing a polarizing garment (like my favorite skirted leggings) can be terrifying for some people- they'd much rather wear safe, neutral garments that doesn't say anything, rather than wear something that makes a statement to which some might disapprove.

Giving yourself permission to please yourself, first and foremost, is key to finding a signature and living joyfully in that signature.  But it's very difficult...

Wanting to please other people is a critical part of living in society, and of being a nice person.  But if you know that you're going to have limited success in choosing garments that meet with everyone's approval, you can concentrate on being yourself, and letting your genius, your kindness, and your great big heart shine through in your actions.

me, age three.  How my mother got my hair that straight, I will never know...


  1. Adorable! Did you have a favorite dress as a young girl?

  2. I assume this post is in response to a criticism. Very politely and effectively stated. Keep doing what you're doing!

  3. Oh Janice you were so cute! And still are of course! I am back from my travels and practically the first thing I did was read the last few weeks' posts. I was delighted to see that you are doing this full-time now. All power to you, my dear!
    Thank you so much for the moments of delight you provide us with every day, and for the lessons in style. I have been fine-tuning my summer wardrobe, largely thanks to your help, and am getting quite a kick out of looking in and seeing only clothes that fit properly, and that I like or love. Thank you. Elizabeth.
    PS It's very hot over here in France where I live. I'd love to see some cool and colourful summery clothes if that takes your fancy.

  4. Janice, what is "the long-running script" that is now making it so slow to access your blog? Of course I'd wait however long for you, but the anticipation time is pretty significant.

    (Is that a container of Irish steel-cut oats on your childhood breakfast table? When my own mother was shoving me off to school on refrigerator biscuits?)

  5. So well stated. And, you are right. It can be very difficult to please yourself first when confronted with criticism. I always try to remember that those who spend time criticizing others are usually very insecure about themselves.

  6. Well said! If you dress to please others, at some point it feels more like a costume than clothing.

    Also, I'll throw in my vote for summery posts. It's hot here in New England, too. (Although "hot" in New England is anything above 90 degree F. ... Readers in tropical climates feel free to chuckle at will.)

  7. If everyone dressed the same it would be a very dull world. You have to dress to please yourself. Who wants to wear something they are not comfortable with to suit someone else?

    Very cute picture. I enjoy looking at those pictures of a simpler time.

    I am so glad to finally get on your blog again. It hasnt been able to download for the past few days.

  8. Adorable picture - your natural sweetness shines through. As I age and come to better understand the woman I am, dressing authentically is a lot easier. I love the clothes you present in your blog - classic styles with a fresh approach and very stylish. There have been times I have gasped at your beautiful layouts(Thinking about the flowered Gucci coat recently.) With that said, I live in a small town near our more metropolitan state capital. I would not have cause to wear high fashion. I have, however, found a way to express my style to suit my workplace, express my own personal style and stay within my budget. Always enjoy reading your posts.

  9. True true!
    But let's not bad mouth people with purple hair and a general bad attitude, shall we? Some of us still love to read your blog, even if your style isn't to our punky taste. Capsule building and packing is tough, and you make it easier!

  10. Pleasing others..... Certain ways of dressing are 'expected' / 'accepted' in a downtown business district, a suburban neighbourhood, etc. Certain styles, cuts, fits are considered the current norm. There is a strong pressure to 'fit in' that we internalize without even realizing. Sometimes you know you will stand out or draw looks if you decide to buck those expectations. Not an easy choice.

    Thanks for being so much more than a style blog.

  11. Hi Janice,
    Sorry to bang on about the blog problems again. I just checked the whois lookup for the domain name viviennefiles.com and it is saying the domain is available - meaning that although you thought you bought, it didn't get recorded as yours, which may explain why the whole blog disappeared from the domain. Try buying it direct (i.e. not through Blogger) to at least secure the domain name, and worry about plucking up the nerve to move the blog again later!

  12. How your mother got those bangs so straight: scotch tape. Worked for me in high school. Wet 'em and tape 'em. As to those leggings you love...I don't wear them because I'm afraid of displeasing someone. I don't wear them because I don't like them. I don't like leggings in general. I wear hats a lot. I'm not in the mainstream of fashion with that, but I love them and find them useful. You go ahead and wear those skirted leggings and enjoy them. I'm glad you do.

  13. I agree ... and disagree.....up to a point. I think that it's important to decide what is the most important thing that you want to achieve in any given situation and dress accordingly. There are times when you don't want what you are wearing to shout louder than what you are saying. If I am going to an important meeting, for instance, I won't dress to be a female version of the men in grey suits; but I will dress in a way that won't be a major distraction from my input. That doesn't mean no colour or quirks etc - sometimes, just enough "not-a-grey-suit" can be enough to make you memorable (help them remember what you said)/ help catch the eye of the Chair or whatever (or make them look at you if you are the Chair!). And if you want to know how much impact what you wear can have, just remember Madeleine Albright and her famous pins (see http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Q-and-A-with-Madeleine-Albright.html)

  14. I love your blog, Janice. I love that you don't dictate and
    pretend to be someone that you are not. No pretense, just
    a beautifully displayed collection of possibilities.
    I get so much inspiration from your detailed collections. I love that you're posting the sources for your pieces. Although
    a Nordstrom's shopper I hope we'll still see other resources.
    Believe me, I want you to get the generated revenue, I just love to see lots of options. Please help us beat the heat with a few more warm weather options. We're sweltering here in New England. Coats can wait for the moment as far as I'm concerned.