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Elements of Style: A Life Lesson to Future Queens

Image result for rhinestone heels illustration

For as long as I can remember, the one thing that has driven me was the possibility of getting dressed up.  If it was a special occasion the next day, I would be in bed the night before, too excited to sleep, thinking about the out I would be wearing the following day.  The women in my life each played a significant role in molding my ideas about what the well-dressed female REALLY is, and the importance of wielding this power.  Te right outfit can mesmerize an entire room, and has the potential to effect the outcome of certain situations.  It was the summer before I turned 13, and my aunt Dinneen gave me a lesson that STILL resides with me, and is apparent and active in my children...the Art of Style...

I had always been involved in the process of picking my own clothes to a certain extent, but I had NEVER gone school shopping without my Grandmother.  It had ALWAYS been our thing, and I looked forward to it.  This particular year, however, when I was entering middle school, my aunt Dinneen told me she and I were going to do my back to school shopping together.  I didn't mind particularly, I mean, Nana and I used EVERY opportunity we could to shop, so it would be a nice change to do it with just my aunt and I.  The only thing slightly odd at the time was that I was only 1.5 weeks into summer vacation when this conversation took place.  My aunt Dinneen is PROMPT, and leaves NOTHING to the last minute; so by her timeline, 6 weeks in advance was cutting it close!  Later on that afternoon, we ventured out on the 1st of SEVERAL trips to prepare me for entry into the 7th grade...

On one day in particular, I can recall a two-part trip; the first leg of the journey landed us in the shoe department of Sears at Newport Centre Mall.  My Grandmother was still working at the time, and it was always the highlight of a trip to Newport for me, to stop by Sears and see my Nana.  When there, I rarely looked at clothes, because, let's face it, if it was worth having, my Nana either already got it for me, or already had her eye on it.  Aunt Neen and I were chatting her up at the counter, trying hard to look like customers.  She was working in an area where the shoe department was within their line of sight, so my aunt made the suggestion that I go over and check out what they had.  I was NOT hopeful.  There was generally only 1 type of shoe purchased for me from Sears: the kind that was worn with 1 outfit in particular, and went back into the box until the next use.  I performed a half hearted once-over, and came back to report 0 prospects.  In disbelief, my aunt led me back over to complete a more thorough inspection.  I took a seat, convinced this second take would be a waste of time...

In true Aunt Neen fashion, she emerged with a shoe that I thought was sooo dope!!  It was a navy blue tee strap, spectator style, with a 1 inch heel.  My face was all the approval she needed, turned to the associate and requested my size.  As we sat waiting, we talked about how much I loved the shoe.  When the woman returned, she came to break my heart; she announced it was the last size.  Aunt Neen didn't flinch, she simply asked did the shoe come in any other colors.  "Another color, of course!" I didn't even think about that!  She wasn't sure, but was willing to check, so I remained cool, just in case.  Minutes later, she emerged from the back, a box in hand.  My heart was racing as she approached and removed the lid; I held my breath.  I peeked over the top, and inside sat my shoes in the most gorgeous burgundy shade, AND in patent leather!!  I was ELATED; but then, my adolescent thought process kicked in, and I immediately became self-conscious, even before trying them on.  My mind was talking me out of the purchase.  It's times like those that it is absolutely wonderful to have someone who knows you better than you know yourself.  This whole conversation took place in my head over the span of perhaps 10 seconds.  Aunt Neen turned to me and said, "You had all the years before 7th grade to be like everybody else, it's time to have your own STYLE."  I sat or a moment, quietly contemplating; I finally took the plunge and decided to buy them.  From that moment on, every time I got dressed, or made a purchase, I thought about what each item said about me, and how my personal style was reflected in it.  It also sealed my fate for a lifetime love of shiny things!!

We sometimes get so caught up in what other's perception of us will be that we completely loose ourselves in the process.  At the heart of style is INDIVIDUALITY.  You command 0 presence in ANY situation if you are not your authentic self; this is in life AND getting dressed.  There will be countless times when we must dress for an occasion; but it's all in the HOW.  You are in charge of what the world perceives about you, and should be the ONLY one weighing in.  After all, the Moon and the Sun are both stars; they both show up to their respective events dressed to kill, and ready to shine.~The Queen

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