Can a three-word style mantra save me from lifelong dishevelment?

Last Updated: June 15, 2024By

Stainproof, Glossy, and Calm: My Style Journey


Winter fades away, taking with it my worn-out jumpers and elastic-waisted trousers, making room for spring’s khaki pants and lighter layers. As I squint under the harsh April sunlight, I realize I’m in a style crisis. No more hiding behind faded colors and loose fits – it’s time for a change.


Scrolling through the endless abyss of online fashion, I stumbled upon a bold claim from Refinery 29: “Just three words stand between you and figuring out personal style.” Three words? Move to Iona? Lottery jackpot? Raid Lydia Tár’s closet? (Though affording her stuff is a different story altogether!)


Turns out, stylist Allison Bornstein’s “three-word method” is about summing up your style in, you guessed it, three words. You’re supposed to ask yourself, “Do I embody all three of these words?” before getting dressed, and “Does this align with my style words?” before buying anything.

I’m tired of my wardrobe resembling a time capsule from 2021’s top removal box. It’s time to define my style. So, I brainstormed: practical, aspirational, emotional.

Practical? Easy: “stainproof” (thanks to numerous food-related disasters). Aspirational? Trickier. Do I want to be a minimalist witch, Kristin Scott Thomas, a crow, or a 1930s heiress? Opted for “glossy,” though it sounds more like a can of paint. Now, the emotional word – how do I convey “take me seriously” without screaming “leave me alone”? “Calm” seemed fitting (or at least something to aim for).

“Stainproof, glossy, calm” – my new style mantra. But it’s oddly reminiscent of a geolocation app, What Three Words. Now, every morning’s wardrobe choice feels like a distress call: “Help! Lost at ///stainproof.glossy.calm!” On the bright side, at least I’m wearing brighter colors – easier for mountain rescuers to spot. Mission accomplished, kinda?

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