Style: (Noun) The particular way something is done
In my opinion, beauty is not just about fashion. It is about the way things are put together; the cleanliness of the lines, the elegance, the effortless and uncontrived beauty that comes from form that follows function. I like timeless elegance; style that transcends the seasons. I like good designs, perhaps that’s why I became an Architect and a designer.
Fashion changes with the trends and seasons, but style becomes iconic. That’s where respected brands like Hermes and Chanel have got it right. They leave the seasonal trends to the rest and like institutions, they simply stay true to who they are.
Style is staying true to yourself. Can we be unique? Are we secure enough to be different? It is easier said than done when many of us are so busy trying to be someone else every day. No wonder so many of us are struggling with our self esteem. We have been so busy copying others, we have never really taken the time to appreciate and celebrate who we are! No woman feels 100% beautiful, 24/7, not even super models. Nigerian women look good and are very fashion forward. We buy nice bags, expensive watches, trendy clothes, but sometimes it seems we are really hoping that the beauty of the accessories will make us feel truly beautiful too.
Perhaps the more striking, and the more expensive what we are wearing is, the more striking we will look, the wealthier we would be (or at least appear to be). But we know it does not work that way. It seems the more we acquire, the more we need to acquire. Yet, we really don’t feel better for long after purchasing and the compliments cease. That is why so many of us are fashion hounds. We actually want to be complimented so we can just feel good, truly feel beautiful and fashion just does not deliver lasting results.
However some people have cracked the code to feeling good. These are the ones who have discovered their own style and can’t care less if no one else compliments them for it. If style is the particular way something is done, then the more peculiar we are, the bolder our signature or “style” is.
A really stylish woman is one who has mastered her own way of doing things, is comfortable in her own uniqueness and has become an icon. I refer to a true icon for all ages; a woman whom celebrities flew across continents just to get photo op with. A woman who did not need to hang a particular bag from her shoulder to be admired, or wear a particular wristwatch to be respected, whose simple linen garb was not made by ‘X for Y’ and did not change with the spring/summer collections. I refer to Agenes Bojaxhiu, who we all know as “mother Theresa.”
Now we all can’t relocate to Calcutta and live among the poor and I am not suggesting we trade our Mahnolo Blahniks for Reed sandals, or our couture labels for a linen habit. But we can learn from her.
Those who admired and emulated her (like Princess Diana and Hilary Clinton) knew this. So what did celebrities and world leaders find so attractive about this frail, slight woman? It was her sense of PURPOSE, the real treasure of life. Knowing who we are and why we are. Knowing that we are created for a specific assignment and being consumed with a passion to finish the assignment.
No designer perfume can compete with the fragrance of a purposeful life and no treasure can leave a legacy as lasting as a life lived in the service of others. No closest full of designer collections can make you feel as truly secure as you would be when you know your life is making lasting impact. When we are gone no one will miss us for the bags we carried or the shoes we wore. All everyone would remember is what we invested in their lives.
Perhaps just a smile at the right time, a word of encouragement, timely and gracious assistance, a sincere and DISCREET shoulder to cry on. No matter how small at that time, you were the answer to someone’s prayers. That is what will endure when the lights have dimmed on all the catwalks of the world.
Before you or I were born, we were God’s idea, His unique solution, His custom-made answer to someone’s prayer, sent at this particular time in history to this particular generation to make a difference. Today, determine as you dress up and step out that your net worth won’t be in what you are wearing but in the investment you will make in the lives of others.
Let your style (your own way of doing things) be that which will endure, let your signature be written boldly on the hearts of others such that time cannot erase it.
Olajumoke Adenowo is a practising Architect and the Principal Partner of AD Consulting, she is the Founder and Coordinator of Awesome Treasures Foundation - a faith based NGO which raises Transformational Leaders. She is an author of several books (including The Mothers’ Prayer Manual) and the host of Voice of Change on radio. She speaks at entrepreneurial conferences (such as the Harvard Business School’s African Business Club Conference), and several faith based summits and she also serves on the board of several business concerns and social initiatives. She is married to Olukorede and they are blessed with 2 lovely sons.