Finding your Essence
Essence is something that can easily be misunderstood. It’s not a style archetype, it’s not really a personality type, it isn’t really easily categorized. That’s why we start with a little introduction to Essence and why it’s a good tool to use in creating a personal style!
1. What is an Essence?
Essence is a mix of mannerism, personality, tone of voice and style preferences. You can also see it as this: if you meet someone for the first time, what is the first impression you get? This is basically Essence, almost a very reactionary impression you get after the first few seconds of talking with someone. Do they appear cold and professional or warm and caring? Shy or loud? Creative and open-minded or logical and level-headed? We make these extremely quick judgements, for lack of a better word, when you meet someone new.
This is basically Essence; a very simplistic, but at the same time holistic mental image of who you are as a person.
Little extra note, it also doesn’t have much to do with personal style YET. So, don’t be obsessed with dressing Seductive or Graceful or whatever. We’ll get to the styling part soon, I promise!
2. What does this have to do with creating a personal style?
Good question! To answer this I want you to imagine something. You meet a girl, she dresses extremely femme. Red lips, painted nails, beautiful flower dress and long flowing hair. Now you start talking to her, she has a sarcastic sense of humour, speaks her mind without taking into account how others might feel about that and doesn’t mind embellishing her words with a huge amount of f-bombs. She is a pure Rebel, who is dressed as a debutante. Her inner world and outer expression don’t seem to match. Which leaves people confused, this could totally be the intention of this particular Rebel (which is really something a rebel would enjoy doing) but it NEEDS to be intentional.
Giving a mixed message like this leaves people confused after meeting you, and you don’t want that happening by accident. You want to leave them with a strong impression of who you are, the impression you want them to have of you!
Discovering your Essences
To keep Essence as uncomplicated as possible, I have created a few categories. You can find them on the Essence page. Don’t worry about not fitting perfectly in one of the categories, most people are a mix of two or more.
There are two ways to get to an Essence, going at it on your own or asking others.
You probably already have a feel for what Essences you are attracted to and which ones don’t fit at all. I generally am of the opinion that you kinda know where you fit instinctively, but to make it easier I have a few tips!
Try to look at Essences piece by piece:
- First, ask yourself how your speaking voice is, after that go to mannerisms and facial expressions. These two are the biggest part of Essence. Now you can see if you come across as youthful or more mature, energetic or mellow, extraverted or quiet. You can take the Essence you fit best with when it comes to these two aspects and take them as your base.
- Next up is styling preferences, do you enjoy glam and glitz or more natural and effortless looks? Bright and bold, muted and soft or dark and eccentric? These Essences that you identify with when it comes to styling are also worth considering, so write them down.
- Thirdly, you can look at your personality. This is not going to be a huge personality quiz, it’s more your personality extremely distilled. You can skip this step if you already can recognize your personality in the Essences you’ve already wrote down in the last two steps. Otherwise, look for the Essence that describes you best.
2. Getting family and friends involved
I think for most people picking out Essences that describe their style preference and general personality is doable, but the mannerisms and tone of voice can be a little more difficult.
I think asking input from people who know you very well is a great idea, but showing them a huge list of possible Essences and where they would put you would most likely make them a little confused. So try to ask concrete questions! How would you describe the way I talk? Do you think I come across bubbly or stoic? Do I use large body language or not?
3. Asking the internet
Asking the internet has its upside but also definitely its downside… The best way is to record a short video of you just talking for maybe a minute or slightly more and upload it to our Reddit or the Facebook group. Good thing is that you’ll probably get a lot of feedback with some being extremely helpful! Bad thing is that some feedback is most likely lacklustre or even useless.
Editing your picked Essences
Now you have a few Essences written down, if there aren’t more than three different ones you can skip this step! If you have more, you need to edit it down a bit, until you get to at most three. If you have more than three, it just gets confusing instead of helpful.
The first thing to consider is whether you have Essences on your list that are very similar. Below are four lists with very similar Essences, if you have two or more of these in one category, consider picking just one of them.
The elegant Essences
The natural Essences
The glamorous Essences
The animated Essences
You can also edit out the Essences you feel are less you, if you think that two Essences in the same category are both important to you. Whatever works for you!
Sorting your Essences
Now that you have a neat list of up to three Essences, next up is sorting them. There are two ways to order them. You can have one primary Essence and the others being secondary or a blend of two being primary with a possible added secondary.
The first option is by far the most common but the second option does happen. If you are very much doubting between two Essences and you see equal amounts of them in yourself, you could be a blend!
Most likely, the Essence that you found was the best match with your body language and mannerism is your primary Essence, either alone or blended with another Essence.
If you are unsure of what Essence would be your primary, ask yourself as which type you would most likely be cast in a film. For example, if you are doubting between Chic and Seductive, would you be the cold and practical businesswoman or the magnetic femme fatale?
Hopefully this little guide can help you on the way in finding an Essence! Now that you’ll have both your Image ID and Essence, the next step is creating a personal style!