February results of the Image Experiment

In January, I decided I would do an Image Experiment. I started off with make up, but quickly moved on to other aspects of image.

What I learnt working on my image this February:

  • it’s super hard to meaningfully communicate who you are through what you wear
  • people are friendly to you in proportion to how well you suit their sense of style (a variation of “people like people who are like them”)
  • buying expensive “investment” pieces is overrated
  • taking photographs of your own outfits leaving the house is a really easy way to see how others see you
  • on a practical note, having your eyebrows waxed is far less painful than getting them threaded or shaped – and clay masks are it.

Even though Christmas is only a memory at this point, Santi continued to be kind by invoking some awesome sales. I purchased a black faux shearling coat, a pink wearable blanky puffy coat (both in Zara) and dug out a pink garçon cut woolly coat (Betty Barclay), all of which seemed to have garnered me some respect from people my own age (see points one and two above). Cos has also been full of pleasant surprises.

I have found that the expensive investment pieces go out of date, even if they are deemed to by “timeless”.  God is in the detail and having experimented with both “timeless” and “trendy”, I think there is something to be said for the freshness of cutting edge detail. On that note, I bought an Italian leather bag so minimalist it is hard to imagine how it could be any stricter. I felt though that it reflected what I needed and what I wanted to say.

I know that everyone is saying it, but really, less is more when it comes to clothes. In rearranging my wardrobe, I realised that I wear only about 10 things and the rest is 80% deadweight legacy occupying prime real estate in my wardrobe and 20% special occasion wear. Needless to say, I moved all the deadweight stuff out, which eliminated the illusion that there was all this choice and made it easier and more pleasant to decide what to wear.

The theory is that your style is a way to signal your substance. This put me into an absolute brain spasm, for I have no idea how to translate the substance into image. I guess that’s the reason for the experiment.

I have figured it’s important to acknowledge that between my height and that I am always ID’d, I look a little younger than I am. I never felt quite comfortable in a feminine look unless it was either girly or classic, i.e. I can’t handle wilting flower and smouldering temptress . Where I was born, a resting bitch face is simply called a resting face, so on the scale of Sailor Moon to Hermione, I should err on the side of  serious kind of younger, on the stoic end of preppy.

I implemented this when I had the misfortune to break my old glasses, which has never happened to me before. I decided to treat myself to a new set after almost 10 years. I went with a catty tortoiseshell pair and a round rimless pair as I felt they communicated my lack of interest in talking about the weather.

At a little reunion with my friends from a multinational I used to work for and seeing my old classmates, it was remarked that my skin and hair looked very good, which I will put down as confirmation bias evidence that my clay masks are doing something good.

I have also found that people like to talk about something you are wearing and what they choose to talk about is an interesting reflection on the person. How can I say this without sounding very Machiavellian? People seem to like you if they like what you are wearing and they will like it if they feel that that is something they themselves could have worn.

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Dr Martina Feyzrakhmanova

I am a hospital doctor and founder of an education platform. Avid reader and writer of introspective blogs.

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