Fashion Feng Shui: Styling Element Breakdown

I figured it might be time for our next lesson in Fashion Feng Shui 101. I know I keep talking about honoring your essence with your clothes, but I haven’t exactly told you how to do that. I talked about the 5 elements and their archetypes. Now, I’ll tell you how the elements manifest themselves through fabrics, colors, and style concepts.

There are countless ways we can dress our essence and bring the other elements in to honor our intentions (what we want to bring into our lives), our environment (what our lives demand of us), and our appearance (our features that we want to flatter). I’ll get more into those details in later posts, but in the meantime, I’m going to show you the basics of the elements through clothing and accessories.

WATER – The Philosopher

Mantra Words: Unique. Creative. Offbeat. Intelligent.
Fabrics: Flowy or sheer fabrics like chiffon, sheer silk, and organza.
Colors: Deep cool tones like black, deep blue, or dark purple.
Styles: Asymetrical shapes like a one shoulder design, ethnic prints, gathering or rouching, reflective touches, and anything that goes “against the grain.”
Designers/Brands: Urban Outfitters, Marc Jacobs, Prada

WOOD – The Pioneer

Mantra Words: Move. Grow. Activity.
Fabrics: Anything movable, non-fussy, and plant based, like cotton, jersey, linen, gauze, and denim.
Colors: Fresh bright colors like marine blue and kelly green.
Styles: Sporty, preppy, hippy, floral prints, or vertical stripes.
Designers/Brands: J. Crew, Patagonia, Missoni, Polo Ralph Lauren, Martin + Osa

EARTH – The Peacemaker

Mantra Words: Nurture. Grounded. Comfort. Classic.
Fabrics: Cozy and comfy, textured fabrics, tweed, raw silk, piqué.
Colors: Earthy tones like brown, khaki, sage, and warm colors like yellow and orange.
Styles: Boxy shapes, traditional or classic styles, plaid prints, “school girl.”
Designers/Brands: Gap, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch

FIRE – The Pleasure Seeker

Mantra Words: Fun. Captivating. Dramatic. Attention Getting.
Fabrics: Anything that comes from an animal (or the faux versions) including wool, silk, and leather, attention getting fabrics like lamé, spandex, or sequin.
Colors: Reds, purples, pinks, and anything really bright like neon, or jewel tones.
Styles: Triangular shapes, dramatic trends, animal print, v-necks, anything that reveals your assets.
Designers/Brands: Versace, Roberto Cavalli, Alexander McQueen, Zara, Topshop

METAL – The Perfectionist

Mantra Words: Luxury. Elegant. Class. Perfection. Details.
Fabrics: Anything high quality and luxurious like cashmere, polished fabrics with a slight sheen, metallics.
Colors: Ivory, white, silver, gold, creamy pastels.
Styles: Anything classy, elegant, polished, and luxurious. True metals tend to stay away from prints, but round shapes like polka dots have a lot of metal energy. Nothing flashy or cheap.
Designers/Brands: Chanel, Gucci, YSL, J. Crew, Banana Republic

Now, let me make a very important disclaimer: if you think you’ve decided which essence you are, but wouldn’t wear all the clothes I’ve shown for that element, do not feel like you have to second guess your essence. The reality is most pieces do have more than one element present, and each one of us has different motivations for our personal style because of our intentions, environment, or appearance. For example, maybe your essence is Earth but you don’t like to wear the Earthy yellows and oranges. Maybe it’s because your body coloring is more cool, so your appearance come into play and steers you away from warmer colors. That’s totally OK. In that case, you would use one of the other ways to make sure your Earth is present, like a classic style or boxy jacket and wear it in shades that flatter you better. You don’t have to have ALL of the aspects of an element present in order to honor your essence. It might just be in the fabric, color, style, or print.

You know those outfits you put on and just feel like a dud in, or something’s not right – chances are it’s bescause your essence is missing. When you remember to honor who you are on the inside with what you wear on the outside, that’s how you will be most comfortable, happy, and in your element!

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  1. Kimberly Cannon 07/28/2009 Reply

    I think that I MUST HAVE that blue romper in order to properly honor my wood.

  2. Catherine 07/28/2009 Reply

    KIM! You were so who I was picturing when I chose that romper! Forever 21! Go now!

    1. Xi… ,ai que medo ,lá voltam os comunas outra vez para este baralho. Chega de conversa Sr Fado. O Sr não tem emenda e eu não tenho paciência para obn.ssadoitPasse bem!

  3. Rachel 07/29/2009 Reply

    Re: EarthYou know my feelings on Tory Burch, so I'm glad that her stuff qualifiesRe: MetalLoving the white dress and strapless bikini for Metal.

  4. Christine 07/29/2009 Reply

    that leather jacket is fierce

  5. Kimberly Cannon 07/29/2009 Reply

    just came back from forever21 with a black floral print (thinks reds, greens, yellows) romper! i am in loooove. :)

  6. Where is that pearl metal bracelet from? I'm looking for one like that for my wedding…Also I love the next Polyvore entry! I remember when you had that idea. A good one. But I DO have to ask that you stop flashing cute yellow clutches in front of me or I will go nuts. That one from J crew with the flowers is insanely adorable!

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