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Style Statements

We just got back from Sam and Dave's wedding! Needless to say, Dell and I had a great time, ate great food, and we danced. Samantha was radiant! It was a wonderfully personal, relaxed, yet elegant affair that I will let her tell you all about as soon as she's available. I wouldn't want to steal her thunder by giving away any of the best parts. Plus, I gaurantee she'll have better photos than I will.
So, instead I've prepared something else.
Last month in Domino magazine I came across an article that really intrigued me. The piece was about these two women in Vancouver named Carrie and Danielle who specialize in a kind of personal branding. They offer what's called a "Style Statement" to individuals looking to refine their personal style, just a simple two word phrase that boils your style down to it's essence. For example, Carrie is "Refined Treasure" and Danielle is "Sacred Dramatic". (Click to see an example of some other style statements.) I immediately thought that this could be of great service to brides planning their wedding, so naturally I planned on blogging about it. When I tried, I found I didn't really do the idea justice. Instead of flailing around trying to tell you all about it, I thought I'd let Carrie and Danielle tell you themselves. So last week, I set up an interview. They were so sweet to answer all my questions even though they're booked solid since the article in Domino came out.

Carrie and Danielle

Q: Can you tell us what a Style Statement is?
A: Your Style Statement names your authentic self. It is a compass for designing a life that reflects the true you. From your wisdom to your wardrobe; from your longings to your living room, your business, finances, and the parties you throw -- your Style Statement is where your essence meets your expression.
Your Style Statement helps you make more powerful choices. Confusion costs energy, time and money. Clarity creates ease. With your Style Statement as a grounding rod, you’ll have far fewer “what was I thinking?” moments.

Q: What's the process? How do you retrieve the essence of someone's style?
A: It’s a one-on-one, open conversation. We pose a series of questions, from playful to profound, and we listen...very intently. Clients get to imagine, reflect on, and share what matters most to them. After about an hour, we take a few thoughtful minutes to ourselves, and then we present the client with their Style Statement and its precise definitions. We share the highlights of the session, what went into defining the Style Statement, and explain the 80/20 Style Statement principle. And we look at how Style Statement and our Life Style Map can become a tool for making choices in one’s life.

Q: Can a couple have a single Style Statement? Or just an individual?
A: We’ve found that it’s best for each person to have their own Style Statement, because it’s such a uniquely powerful experience. To be your best self in a relationship, you need to know you are as an individual, and bring that clarity into your partnership. Having a hard time reconciling your partner’s wagon wheel coffee table and with your floral patterned sofa? Or balancing your extrovertedness with your partner’s reclusive nature? You can each create your own Style Statement and combine them into one Style Statement for your relationship and shared space. For example: Cultivated Play meets Classic Earth. Could become Cultivated Earth or Classic Play. You’ll have to negotiate on what matters most to you, find where your common ground is, and what words feel inspiring or comforting to the both of you.

Q: Could a Style Statement be limiting? Do you ever feel trapped by yours?
A: I feel positively liberated by my Style Statement. A single word can distill all that you know to be good, beautiful, and true. Words carry energy. Every word has its own history and momentum. It is the result of cultural enterprise, constructed over ages of time. Look into a word and you will find a world of meaning and possibility. Applied with intention, words are magic formulas. A Style Statement is a tool for focusing, and when you’re focused, your life expands.

Carrie and Danielle

Q: Say I'm happily engaged and I have my Style Statement. Now I'm going shopping for my wedding gown, how do I use it?
A: Your dress should match your Style Statement…are you Sophisticated, Refined, Simplistic, Natural, Genuine...? And your “second word” of your Style Statement, which signifies your creative edge, your “20%” -- could be reflected in your accessories, whether you’re on the traditional or the wild side. Your Style Statement will help you align your aesthetic choices with the true you – and it helps to have a guide when you’ve got so many other opinions flying around about how you “should” design your wedding.

Q: Have you ever come across someone you just couldn't figure out?
A: Nope.

Q: Can a bride on a limited budget justify a Style Statement as part of her wedding expense?
A: Absolutely! This is an investment in your self to achieve inner and outer clarity that will support you to make more powerful choices in every area of your life – from the theme of your wedding and the design of your wedding ring, to how you communicate with your partner and plan your free time. Discovering your Style Statement before you enter into such a powerful passage in your life is especially meaningful.
And here’s a tenet from our Manifesto of Style:
"True style is not dependent on wealth, and wealth does not necessarily create taste."
You can still create a wonderful wedding that is true to you in every way -- on a budget.

13 comments:

Tonia Conger on 10:17 AM

so glad you did this. I read that article in Domino and meant to blog about it myself. Now all I have to do is reference your pretty blog.

thanks!

Anonymous on 1:03 PM

am I the only person who finds this completely ridiculous?! we need style statements now? give me a break. we would be better off taking a few moments to get to know ourselves instead of wasting time letting other people define who we are.

Anonymous on 1:09 PM

I kind of thought the same thing at first. But when you think about it, it kind of makes sense. How often have I regretted a purchase or a hair cut, after I got it home and said, "this is so NOT me". More than anything, it's a tool for consumers. I think it could be very valuable.

Meghan B. on 1:13 PM

I think it's an awesome idea! Businesses use branding all the time to help them clearly communicate their style. Why can't we? Deep down I know what I like. But it's hard to clarify and easy to loose sight of. A little help might be nice, especially right before planning my wedding.

for pete's sake on 4:24 PM

I don't think anyone NEEEEDS a Style Statement, but I can see the advantages.

Mary on 9:36 AM

Thanks for blogging about this! I also read the article in Domino and check our their site. I'd definitely do it if I had some extra $$$. I don't think it's about someone else "defining" your style as much as it is actually someone listening and responding to what you say about yourself.

Anonymous on 9:48 AM

I think this is borderline ridiculous and probably self-fulfilling if nothing else. As in, you tell me I am "Refined Treasure" and since I feel lost and have paid $500 for you to tell me that, I will subconsciously then be that.

okichokee on 10:19 AM

I'm really curious to know what they would choose as my two words!
If they felt right, I could see it being a really eye opening, life changing experience.
If the style statement felt wrong, I'd feel like an idiot for paying all that money.
If I'm walking down the street one day and I trip and fall into a pile of cash, then I'll do it.

michelle on 10:24 AM

How cool! I also was very intrigued by this article in Domino, such a brilliant idea. Thank you so much for sharing.

Silly on 8:13 AM

Does this language sound like religious dogma to anyone else? "...an investment in your self to achieve inner and outer clarity." "I feel positively liberated by my Style Statement." "...a tool for making choices in one's life?"

Really? Not your soul or your intelligence or your life's purpose, but your Style Statement? Really?

Jillian on 3:52 PM

One of my friends actually had her style statement done by Carrie and Danielle! Her statement fit her to a T but I don't know if she had any religious experiences :). She WAS very excited about it.

Jamie on 2:18 PM

I had my Style Statement done by Carrie & Danielle and it was a powerful and practical experience. There was nothing that felt like an imposition or like dogma.

In fact, the style statement comes from a detailed and intuitive listening to what you do knew about yourself (e.g. your favourite outfit or what brings you joy) combined with Carrie or Danielle's ability to recognize themes and synthesize information and to capture them through a creative and incisive use of language.

A style statement doesn't change who you are. It is an insightful tool. Of course self-reflection and development are key to living an authentic life. But you don't always have to do it on your own. Sometimes a creative and skilled partner can be great help on the journey.

Ally on 8:53 PM

I adore Carrie and Danielle. They're both insightful, wonderfully intelligent, fun and interesting women that I'd love to hang out with. Style Statement isn't ridiculous: Its about values-based living, recognizing your yearnings and living according to your ideals and core. I have a Style Statement, and it isn't about living by how I dress: Its about dressing by how I live, and allowing it to reflect my deepest self. Their theory is that style comes from the inside and projects outwards, it comes from the heart. If you can reflect your love for, say, nature or strength or perseverance or femininity in everything you choose, then it turns mundane objects into something more powerful. Its liberating, and what's more, it makes things so much easier. You can't intellectualize everything, and even with goals, you can often lose sight of your intentions, individuality and sense of self in the process. Its a powerful anchor and a tool for creation. I don't see a thing wrong with that.