Jewellery as well as fashion and shopping in general are such daily issues that seem to have no connection with spiritual growth. Instead, it could be regarded even as the degeneration of spirituality. For the creator of the jewellery brand WildWoman Marika Tamm, the greatest recent epiphany and source of inspiration has been the film “Iris” featuring the principles of 96-year-old style icon Iris Apfel.*
The main topic of the various women’s courses still includes loving yourself as you are, finding your true self and shaking off the constructs forced on us by the society. Iris Apfel is a real and vibrant person who has actually solved the so-called women’s course issue of becoming and loving yourself through the world of fashion and jewellery. You will recognise the woman by her larger than life round eyeglasses, extremely colourful costumes and loads of large and mighty accessories hung on her.
When asked about her bafflingly colourful and eclectic wardrobe and larger than life jewellery collection, she says that her aim is not to be beautiful. Never. However, her aim is to look in the mirror and enjoy what she sees.
She probably knows very well what she is talking about as she has had almost a century to explore and test it. In the documentary, she says the following about herself, “I’m not pretty, and I’ll never be pretty, but it doesn’t matter. I have something much better. I have style.” And the woman is oozing confidence, satisfaction, creativity, character and authenticity more than many people in the fashion business and it all has a stunningly comprehensive effect.
How to achieve the kind of self-love, confidence and authentic expression of the soul that makes you feel that you are unique and strong totality? The sad but well-known fact is that our society starts to drill us to become an obedient, well-behaving creature meeting all the standards and giving all the right answers from an early age. Unless you opt for an alternative education system, you will probably lose most of your creativity, personality, the courage to make a mistake and the secret wish to rebel in the school ordeal. This is how we become adults who worship mass market fashion, follow commonplace ideas and seek for comfort zone in the masses. There are few people who can break free from the system.
The idea to establish the jewellery brand WildWoman was also based on such a wish – to be yourself, to stand out, to express your individuality with all the eccentricities and kookiness. Just as Iris Apfel puts it – to be a woman whose aim is not to become a front-page model but enjoy her reflection in the shop window. Who are You and how to survive with your authentic You in our society?
At first, you need to take time to notice yourself, be open with yourself, ask questions and give also honest answers. What makes your soul sing? What made you experience childish joy recently? How would you behave if there was nobody to judge, what would you say and what kind of jewellery and clothes would you wear? Do you notice when you actually dress up for your friends and do your hair according to your partner’s taste?
Iris Apfel’s word of wisdom is as follows, “To me, the greatest fashion faux pas is to look in the mirror and not see yourself”. Iris has some experience to share, “To find out who you are is like putting yourself on a psychiatric couch, but you have nobody to help you in the process”.
That is the great challenge of self-development – getting to know yourself. You must ask all the questions, provide all the answers and also catch the lies you detect. It’s not an easy task, but if you remain curious and patient with yourself, you will also get the answer. The more you allow yourself to experiment, play and test various forms of existence, the more you will learn about yourself (your boundaries, fears, hopes etc). How you feel about something and how you react to it.
Iris Apfel states, “Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self-expression and, above all, attitude. Remember: If you're having a hard time figuring out your style, it might be because you're trying to copy what's already out there. Try going inward and see what happens then.”
Perhaps the key thing is that if you don’t know yourself, you cannot express it with your style and appearance either. Does the style that you represent in your appearance really speak about you… Does it reflect your creativity, does it reflect your passion, dreams, eccentricities, fears and sense of humour?
Marika says that jewellery actually has also a different kind of effect on her. One type of energy is generated when you choose jewellery reflecting your soul, but the other way is to reveal boldly your true self through clothes and jewellery and thus take yourself into a particular mood or role. She speaks about her necklace of colourful ceramic balls, “Every time I’m wearing it, it does not only express my soul but also reminds me of my creative, carefree art-loving personality and makes me take more daring steps in my behaviour and expression.”
She adds, “For instance, I have an old antique set of Indian garnet jewels that speak of my love for the East and the passion for travelling and collecting stories, at other times, the given jewels bring out a new dream about exotic destinations and adventures. And then there is my gold and silver alloy ring expressing my love for luxury and eclecticism. Depending on the situation and my mood, the jewels tell a story about me, they set me into a specific mood, create a particular energy around me that allows my true self to come out better.”
But what if I have no clarity or courage to experiment? Iris Apfel was asked if she ever worries that people might judge her taste. Iris replied, “It doesn't matter: That's a feeling you can teach yourself to overcome. Your clothes express a part of you, so you shouldn't dilute yourself to make others feel more comfortable. I don’t dress to be stared at, I dress for myself. Sharing pieces of yourself with others can be a vulnerable thing – but it’s better to show your eccentricities than hide them. When you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else. The most important part of your style should be that it makes you happy. If it’s going to stress you out to have a sense of style, don’t do it. The important thing is to be comfortable so you can get on with your life. But I do feel people miss out on personality, playfulness and creative experience! Don’t get too bogged down with fashion rules and just try your best to live out loud! Focus on being full of character and interesting – a great style is full of personality and that’s what attracts us. And above all else, don’t forget to enjoy it!”
In other words, put yourself on a psychiatric couch and find out your authentic facets that make the true you. And what if you forgot the rules and fashion and let your soul dress you up? Once you are in the process, you will notice how the True You will flourish!
* The film is available on Netflix.