I style my mind first thing in the morning before I start the day. It’s not a form of meditation, nor a mind-clearing practice; it is more like using mental imagery to prepare myself to see things in my vision. The mental imagery is a highly influential tool for stylists. It’s basically a library of references, solutions, and experiences to problem solve. Style is not about being perfect; it’s is a manner of saying who you are without having to speak.
Christian Louboutin once said, “Shoes transform your body language and attitude. They lift you physically and emotionally.” Someone who knows how to invest in a pair of the right footwear means they treat their feet with respect. If you cannot even walk properly, what’s the point of adding attitude while walking in pain? Fine-grained observation is a way to discover hidden personality traits. How the soles are worn out or even how socks are styled are a quick ways of assessing what kind of person you might be interacting with.
Moving onto feet, would you have the confidence to show them off in front of everyone? For those who are always barefoot-ready, a round of applause to you. It’s shocking the number of times I’ve seen outfits at luxurious balls, events, styling shoots or even just on the streets look impeccable until you get to the toes.
Moreover, when coordinating your look of the day in front of the mirror, there are times when you feel that the outfit is a bit off. In my styling experience, your shoes account for more than 70% of whether your outfit is a hit or a miss. Even on the red carpet, a celebrity’s appearance can be divine until a pair of sky-high platforms ruin their sophisticated look.
A little styling tip from me is to start from your toes and work your way upwards, to socks and shoes and the rest of your outfit. For this timeless simple shirt and jeans combo (above), I started with a pair of velvet Mary Janes from Roger Vivier. If I had picked my look first, I would have just gone with a safe pair of sneakers. With the Mary Janes, I felt that my outfit was strong from bottom up. It’s similar to feeling great inside out, but instead you look fabulous head to toe!
Start with a habit of grooming your toes as the first step in styling your mind. Staying well-groomed on the unnoticeable details is a form of self-respect. After all, as Christian Dior once said, “Grooming is the secret of real elegance. The best clothes, the most wonderful jewels, the most glamorous beauty don’t count without good grooming.”
With a background in fine arts, textile, multimedia and graphic design, stylist Veronica Li has a keen eye for the complex task of mixing and matching each season’s trends, earning her campaigns with the likes of Dior, Hermès and Michael Kors. Follow her at @vnikali.