The archetypal magician is wise, thoughtful, and mysterious. Delighting in her trade, she is a true tribute to the beauty and power of creativity. In taking inspiration from the magician’s artistry and attentiveness, we’re able to channel magic into the styling process, breaking free from old habits and showcasing our originality and creative flair.
Fashion as Alchemy
Alchemy, the precursor to modern chemistry, enabled our ancestors to gain a better understanding of the materials that make up the physical world. Concerned primarily with processes of transformation, creation, and combination, alchemy has long been likened to sorcery and magic, and for years alchemists were motivated by a desire to understand the essence of life. The archetypal magician engages in a mystical form of alchemy, possessing an expansive knowledge of how the world works. By approaching alchemy with a playful curiosity, the magician becomes fully immersed in the task at hand. This gives them the ability to think outside the box, marvelling at their own creativity and the magic of the world around them.
To approach styling like alchemy is to enjoy the process of curating an outfit as much as you enjoy wearing it. By considering each garment in depth, and how its style, cut, and texture adds to the overall look, we’re able to curate more thoughtful, intentional styles, whilst also taking greater pride and enjoyment from the process. Try playing with different styles by laying garments down over a bed, chair, or mannequin (if you happen to have one!), and build looks without the time pressure of dressing before work or for an event; having an eye on the clock can take the fun out of anything, and the stress caused by this can have a limiting effect on your creativity and confidence to be daring. By playing with styling in this way, you allow yourself the space and freedom to experiment with the items in your wardrobe, free of judgement.
Taking the time to get to know your clothes in this way may also have the added benefit of saving you valuable time in the future; thinking about how you could combine garments in advance makes it easier to style them when you actually want to wear them, helping you to avoid being overly repetitive with your combinations and bypass those dreaded ‘nothing feels right’ moments. Avoiding repetition of specific outfit combinations can prevent you from becoming bored of individual garments. Instead, your excitement for them is reignited just from being able to see them new ways and as part of fresh looks. Just as the magician masters her trade to create dramatic effects ‘as if by magic’, having a deep understanding of how garments interact with each other lays the foundation for greater styling confidence to grow, meaning you’ll be effortlessly casting spells in no time.
Fashion as Artistry
As well as inspiring us to set time aside for wardrobe exploration, the magician also, through their creative nature, encourages us to dress decoratively and think of garments in terms of their artistry as well as their functionality. Unusual details make garments more expressive and can be styled creatively as part of outfits that are unique, playful, and have a mystical air. Ruffles, flared trousers and sleeves, and unusual hem details are examples of decorative features that are noticeable and loud, but can also, somewhat paradoxically, have a mysterious, other-worldly appearance. Flared sleeves are a key feature of any classic ‘witch’ costume worth its salt, but flared cuts (in both blouses and trousers) are also very flattering. Whilst very wide cuffs have a magical, supernatural feel, more subtle flared sleeves are wonderfully feminine, and offer just enough of that witchy magic to keep you feeling ethereal.
Breaking away from stylistic conventions is another way of upping the artfulness of outfits. Combining styles that aren’t usually paired with one another can signal – particularly when done tastefully and with intention – that the wearer is able to think outside of norms and puts thought into what they wear. Combining typically formal attire, such as a trouser suit, with more casual items is a fabulous example of this: add a pair of bold, eye-catching trainers to create a jazzy, statement outside. Other conventionally opposing styles that actually have a lot of potential for collaboration include darker punk looks spliced with girly, youthful femininity (think leather jacket and boots with a delicate silk dress), and classically serious items, such as straight trousers, pencil skirts, and court heels, paired with mystical, playful cuts, such as ruffles and flared sleeves. Playing with convention in this way allows for a freer, more enjoyable experience of outfit curation, and this vibrant, creative energy translates into greater originality that has the power to make you look – and feel – amazing.