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Comfort zones and style

Have you ever wondered what’s your style or what kind of power your image/style exudes on others? Who or what defines one’s style. Lately, questions like these have haunted me. These questions and many more have sparked my desire to share my thoughts in this blog. Initially, I began to try to verbalize my thoughts in an effort to answer some of these questions. Then, I began to wonder some more only to find myself trying to redefine terms well known to me. So, here I go (bear with me for a while, I will get to a concluding point).

An exterior bright yellow cladding wall with a bicycle resting in front of it.
Image by Alexey Lin via unsplash


Everyone’s personal style is subconsciously dictated and sometimes, if I may say so, strictly defined by “comfort zone boundaries.” I know have my own. These are boundaries in which one feels comfortable, serene and secure with an overwhelming sense of familiarity – even affection. Therefore, it is a zone that one knows to manage. These zones are shaped by our upbringing, our family background, our heritage, our ethnic culture.

For most people these zones are not really very broad. However, as people age these comfort zones tend to broaden. Any design solution that “stretches” or even redefines those comfort zone boundaries has a great risk of falling onto deaf ears. It goes without say, that these comfort zones can be broadened if one keeps their eyes wide open in conjunction with an open mind. Exposure to more objects of art, cultivation of one’s own culture, awareness of other cultures and a tendency to experiment and taste new things surely guarantees stretched comfort zones.

When one is exposed to a trend over and over again will surely feel comfortable enough at some point to follow that trend. This is simply because this sort of exposure makes an imprint on the familiarity chord I mentioned afore. But is that trend really a style-setter? A few definitely are. However, most are not and soon after a number of people have “copied” the trend, it simply wears off. The trend loses its appeal and before one knows it, it is simply “out-of-style”!


On purpose edited image of a pile of chairs to make a styling point
Photograph by Velvet K.  Edited by Te Esse.

What happens though to a new, radical idea? How many people are prepared to take a leap and accustom to something new and out-of-the-ordinary? I believe not as many as I could wish for. Styling someone’s business for instance, is crucial for its survival chances. Competition is fierce and anyone’s and everyone’s business ought to stand out in a unique way. Designing something radical for a business though may involve a great risk. It may not perform as expected. Therefore, should a design solution be radical only for the sake of it? At what cost? What if it sacrifices functionality? I believe not! Any design solution is the outcome of a problem solving procedure and as such, it must not induce any new problems. 

A well designed solution/object develops over time. Initially, it is just an idea. Then, one maps it on a piece of paper and it begins to take shape. It evolves. Eventually, it is a drawing of something tangible that must be pleasing to the eye, captivating one’s imagination within one’s comfort zones. The tricky part is to strike a balance between aesthetics and functionality. This is especially true when designing an interior.

There is no real point for the “common” people like myself to setup a home interior only for the perfect 30’ photo shoot. What about the interior’s remaining life-expectancy? Will it serve its purpose well by just be pleasing to the eye? For those of us who are fortunate enough to live a more “ordinary” life I prefer my home/business interior to be pleasing, harmonious, well balanced, quiet but always functional. I do not wish to compromise functionality over aesthetics on matters that will make my life fussier and more complicated. Life is too short to add more fussiness.

The point I’m trying to make is: don’t bother to recreate someone’s bedroom setup as shown in décor magazines. It won’t ever "work" properly for you, unless it was designed for you. Think where you have been and plan where to want to go. Trust your instict and listen a little more closely to your inner voices rather than just “follow” trends? Better yet, make your very own trends your signature style instead. The point I am trying to make, is that style is based on instinct but, it can be cultivated and it can flourish when you nurture it, because your comfort zones will broaden.


Famous quote by Bill Blass: "Style is primarily a matter of instinct"
The late Bill Blass:  Fashion Designer
Image via www.quoteimg.com


How?


Take a long walk around your neighborhood. When you return home from work follow a different route – just to explore the possibilities. Take a good look at the buildings, the gardens and the people going by. Go to the nearest museum and then go to the furthest museum. It does not matter what sort of museum it is, as long as you go and absorb new images. Go the nearest park or zoo or beach. Change your routine. Take lots of photos and then think of your next new project. Fill your soul with images. Images inspire people. Beauty inspires people. And inspiration is the very foundation of any style. So, get inspired and beware of trends that tend to confine one’s style.

Yours,

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