I recently picked up a book called, “#Struggles,” that highlights (among many other things) some of the intimacy problems that technology has caused for people in their 20’s and 30’s. With Hannah being in her 20’s and I in my 30’s, we thought – “I wonder if fashion could help with this?” The problem of ‘surface interactions, shallow conversations, small talk,’ and the dangers of the ‘instant affirmation’ addiction that is a byproduct of social media – specifically the ‘like’ and ‘favorite’ buttons. We decided to fight back with fashion!
A few trips to the Thrift Store later, Hannah and I emerged with ‘conversation piece’ layered necklaces to wear for the next week! The first thing I noticed was how fun it was to look for necklaces that told ‘My Story’ the best. As a busy mother of two boys, I don’t often spend time concentrating on myself. Honestly, I’ve never been so intentional at choosing things that represent who I am and tell a story about what I love and what matters to me and why. Just in choosing the necklaces, I was forced to focus on who I am and what makes me, ‘me.’
Some of my highlights from the week were when a good friend noticed my multiple strands as we rode the elevator together. She picked one that she liked the most. I thanked her and explained that the necklace she chose reminds me of the rocks at the pebble beach in Michigan. I went on to tell her that I am a rock collector, nothing too monumental but it was just a fun and different elevator ride. Later on that day, a friend complimented me on a different necklace and I told her it reminded me of one of my favorite paintings by Van Gogh. She never knew I was a Van Gogh fan and as we talked she noticed for the first time I had at tattoo. It’s funny because we are very close and she never noticed because lately – we are usually just rushing through life – the necklaces caused us to slow down for the first time in months. Each day someone mentioned one or all of my necklaces and we learned a little something new about each other. I even learned that Hannah has a special memory related to her black ‘choker’ necklace. A story that went all the way back to elementary school. My ‘Snowball’ necklace got multiple compliments, and started a ‘flurry’ of conversations about Chicago winters everywhere I went! I learned during my multi-strand necklace week that I like doing things that are intentional when it comes to fashion. It made me feel special and interesting, and I learned to notice interesting things about the fashion choices of others. The compliments I gave and received invited deeper ‘getting to know you’ conversations and I believe made for a more relational day! All of this and my busy schedule never changed – it just made the day richer and more enjoyable overall.
I think this fashion experiment was a success! I learned that that no matter how busy we may be, we can go deeper in conversation and build stronger friendships if we are strategic. In time, this practice can become ‘second nature’ as we find at we are noticing more, sharing stories more often, and living out the ‘Social Media’ by creating ‘likes’ in real life daily encounters.