I was consumed with the changes in my body and as much as I wanted to honor my strength and the deep healing inside of me, my outer shell felt hollow. I wanted to reclaim and to restore myself. I wanted a language that would help me to transform my aching caterpillar feelings into bountiful butterfly wings.
Labels that had helped me to formulate my style no longer fit. Categories like preppy or classic or romantic or athletic made no sense, anymore. I didn’t see my palette as fall, winter, spring or summer. My wardrobe lacked personality. There was no message or light through this void that was me.
Vitality. Alignment. Radiance. Did my mastectomy steal them, too?
I looked for inspiration. Although there were numerous articles about the magic of makeovers I knew deep down that they were only … superficial. I worked at a lovely clothing store and I freelanced for a luxury cosmetic company. Even though the customers were rarely cancer survivors like me, they, too yearned for something “more” something “right” something “perfect.”
My research deepened as my questions grew. I happened to listen to a webinar that changed my life.
Evana Maggiore, the creator of “Fashion Feng Shui”®, opened my eyes to the reality and power of intentional dressing. As an acclaimed image consultant, Evana dressed high class women in the Boston area and around the globe, for many years. The Association of International Image Consultants (AICI) recognized her talents through various awards over many years.
Evana’s spirit was magnetic.
She had a store in Massachusetts with a loyal following. She discovered over time that the style advice she gave her customers – although appreciated and adopted – did not have staying power. Something was missing. It didn’t have to do with color, or fit, or texture or pattern. She wanted to create a personal design system that would be more personal and profound.
Evana read Terah Kathryn Collin’s book “Western Guide to Feng Shui.” She registered for the Essential Feng Shui Practitioner Training Program at the Western School of Feng Shui. Louise Hay, founder of Hay House and author of many books about healing, enrolled in the same class. Afterwards, through sharing and reflection, Evana submitted an article about the Spiritual Side of Style to Louise Ederling, AICI’s current International President at the time.
It took off. Fashion Feng Shui®, Evana’s creation and system, transformed women’s lives.
From a style perspective, Evana found that Feng Shui offers a way to enhance one’s energy through intentional dressing. Radiating the element that makes us feel at ease with ourselves is a powerful tonic. We subconsciously do this by wearing clothing that feels “right.” As we unlock the mystery behind our element and leverage it to its fullest, we enhance what makes us fabulous. We attract more of what we want into our lives, each and every day.
There are five elements that are essential to human life: Earth, Water, Fire, Metal and Wood, according to the traditional Chinese practice, “Feng Shui.” Its driving force is harmony, where one’s inner and outer existence are in sync.
Taking this one step further, the whole self is addressed. The spiritual, mental and physical aspects of our essence are incorporated into an archetype, that represents our primary energy source, i.e. our driving force.
This elemental archetype aligns with our core values and innate traits. We dress our spirit, i.e. the inherent, unchanging nature of who we are. We dress our mind, i.e. our conscious intentions about who we would like to be without limits. We dress our body, i.e. the vibrations about how we look and how others see us. When they are packaged together, we discover a persona and an attitude that work in concert.
Fashion Feng Shui® (FFS) blends energy with style. Consider these archetypes as you explore your primary essence. You will find that when you feel complete and authentic, the traits and fashion statements of one archetype really resonate with you. (Note: Other archetypes may “speak to you”, however your primary energy element is a constant theme for you.)
Water is reflective. Creativity and spirituality are expressions of water energy. The FFS® personification is Philosopher.
Water people tend to be academics, artists, healers, musicians, scientists and writers. They are imaginative, independent, sensitive, unorthodox and wise. They are contemplative.
Water element clothing incorporates dark colors, abstract or ethnic patterns and soft and flowing lines.
Wood is lively. Initiative and revitalization are expressions of wood energy. The FFS® personification is Pioneer.
Wood people tend to be athletes, coaches, lawyers, brokers, salesmen and trainers. They are ambitious, motivating, dynamic, health-directed and youthful. They are sporty.
Wood element clothing incorporates blues and greens, vertical shapes (stripes, columns, trousers) and cotton and linen fabrics.
Fire is attention-getting. Fame and sexuality are expressions of fire energy. The FFS® personification is the Pleasure Seeker.
Fire people tend to be actors, hostesses, spokespeople, models and dancers. They are charismatic.
Fire element clothing incorporates reds and purples, eye-catching details and body conscious fabrics like silk and fur.
Earth is stable. Nurturing and tradition are expressions of earth energy. The FFS® personification is Peacemaker.
Earth people tend to be moms, nurses, therapists, teachers and assistants. They are committed.
Earth element clothing incorporates yellows, browns and earth tones, square shapes (cubes, plaids, checks) and woven or nubby textures.
Metal is refined. Organization and elegance are expressions of metal energy. The FFS® personification is Perfectionist.
Metal people tend to be analysts, curators, editors, statesmen and organizers. They are cultivated.
Metal element clothing incorporates white, pastel or metallic colors, rounded shapes (oval, arch, scroll) and shimmering textures.
Evana published Fashion Feng Shui® – The Power of Dressing with Intention in 2007. I quickly bought a copy and I also ordered an Elemental Design Portfolio (both can be purchased at FashionFengShui.com). I also enrolled in a 6-week online course with her. I learned a great deal about my preferences and the reasons behind them – which related back to my essence, intention, appearance and environment.
Along with the exercises she facilitated, her mini wardrobe audit gave me clues about my personal energies (wood is primary, metal is secondary for me). It can open your eyes to future clothing selections, too:
- What is a garment that you love and wear all of the time? (Do you see water, wood, fire, earth or metal?)
- What is a garment that you love – but don’t wear? (Do you see water, wood, fire, earth or metal?)
- What is a garment that you think you should love – but don’t? (Do you see water, wood, fire, earth or metal?)
- What is a garment that you dislike? (Do you see water, wood, fire, earth or metal?)
Your answers can illuminate the colors (hues), shapes (patterns/silhouettes), substances (texture/fabric) and styling of garments that will feel most natural to you – and you can also enhance other energies you may want to attract, accessories or layering.
Another way of determining your primary energy is to look at intention as a clue to your archetype. It’s also fun to identify celebrities who embody these traits!
The Philosopher (Water)
- You would like to express your individuality.
- You desire tranquility or spirituality.
- The realization of your goals requires reflection.
The Pioneer (Wood)
- You would like to be competitive.
- You desire expansion and growth.
- The realization of your goals requires action.
The Pleasure Seeker (Fire)
- You would like to be noticed.
- You desire excitement in your life.
- The realization of your goals requires passion.
The Peacemaker (Earth)
- You would like to be of service to others.
- You desire security or support in your life.
- The realization of your goals requires commitment.
The Perfectionist (Metal)
- You would like to get organized.
- You desire to upscale the quality of your life.
- The realization of your goals requires discernment.
There is much to digest with Fashion Feng Shui®. Energy is the core of styling oneself, both as a means for expression and for attraction. Women who adopt this personal system for transforming themselves include a wide range of experts. Christiane Northrup, MD, the author of Mother-Daughter Wisdom, The Wisdom of Menopause, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and other bestsellers claims that FFS®
“…takes personal style to a whole new deeper healing level. Bravo.”
Accolades continue with Jean Haner, author of The Wisdom of Your Face.
“This book will be so empowering for anyone who wants to move through life in sacred delight about being themselves.”
And Andrea Dupont, a respected image consultant in her own right, claims that FFS®
“…frees you to be your best self no matter what.”
It was heartening to work with Evana, albeit too brief. When she lost her battle with ovarian cancer several years ago, the world lost a true visionary. She was warm, witty, and vibrant. Her curiosity about the universe and our place in the cosmos took her to all corners of the globe.
The impact of Fashion Feng Shui continues to expand. There are in-person and on-line classes devoted to FFS®, and there is a certification program to become an FFS® facilitator. Andrea Dupont and Sue Donnelly, close friends of hers, carry her message and her formulas forward.
FFS® is my go-to way of adding to my wardrobe and refining my look. If I want to attract other energies in my life I can easily add them, to fulfill and to fortify me. Evana ends her book, Fashion Feng Shui®, by reminding us to get out of our box and to respond more fully to what makes us alive.
Vitality. Alignment. Radiance. My mastectomy did not steal them after all. It led me to uncover my style story through the lens of Fashion Feng Shui®!