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Style as a growth mindset

Style Mindset: Open vs. Closed

As a Masters student in Psychology and Wardrobe Specialist, my two worlds are very intertwined. Certain aspects of personal styling have needed even more psychological analysis recently due to difficulties relating to the pandemic. How you might ask?

A few years back during an assignment, I came across this book called Mindset: The Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. She referred to two types of people, those with a growth mindset as opposed to those with a fixed mindset. Which loosely translates to open vs. Closed. To parapharase J.D. Meier’s interpretation of the two mindsets https://sourcesofinsight.com/10-big-ideas-from-mindset-the-new-psychology-of-success/, it seems like the idea of a growth mindset is that some people believe that their abilities can be developed and they can use struggles and challenges as a source of growth. However, with a fixed mindset, people believe that certain qualities or traits are fixed, like beauty, intelligence and the way they should look... Which leads to having limiting beliefs.

Now you may ask again, Michelle...how does this relate to dressing ourselves? Well, let me tell you. As someone who helps people chose clothing EVERYDAY during this ongoing pandemic, I have seen it.

When a client comes into a personal styling session, or just simply shopping by themselves at the mall, if they are operating from a closed or “fixed” mindset, they find very little or close to nothing that fits properly. Having a vision of the message that you want to send through your clothing is one thing but being fixated on something that may not exist or suit you is an automatic way to get set up for disappointment.

For those who come in with an open or “growth” mindset, the experience is quite different. They tell me what they like, dislike, what has worked for them so far and what they have no idea how to put together. Perfect. This gives me (the stylist) a set of guidelines to work with and a vision to start painting the bigger picture with the client. It allows them to leave happy and begin thriving in their new wardrobe! The good news with this is that fixed mindsets, are not fixed so to speak. They can be converted to a growth mindset in the right circumstances.

The pandemic is hard on everybody and styles seem to always be changing. Believe it or not, finding your style during this chaotic era may help anchor a sense of self, stability and foster a direction for future brighter days ahead. Whether simple, or wild, when you decide to take that step you’ll always be glad you gave style journey a chance.

Michelle LeBlanc

Wardrobe Specialist