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Fashion Tells A Story

I’m Cameron Lee Cowan; I’m originally from Denver via Northwest Arkansas. I started writing in 2005 writing essays and short stories. I have a vintage flair in much of my work. All the twists and turns on my journey through music, fashion, theater and writing have provided the background for my writing.

 
Executive Contributor Cameron Cowan

In my latest installment, I’m talking fashion. I write a lot about how to tell a story and this time we are not going to use words but fabric to tell a story. Your personal appearance matters and in 2024, the best way to stand out is to reject the ultra-casual and cultivate the right kind of personal appearance. 


 Three young women whispering each other and to a shocked astonished girl in the ear.

How your fashion tells a story

I think everyone is familiar with the “menswear guy” on Twitter/X. He has grown his account by complimenting and denigrating modern mens’ fashion. And while it might seem like focusing on your clothes and fashion, especially in these days, is something not worth worrying about, the reality is that your fashion tells a story and can deeply affect your business and career. This isn’t just about men (although they tend to have the most issues) so the ladies should stick around too. 


Fashion has been a considerable part of my career. I founded and produced Denver Fashion Week (now lovingly managed by 303 Magazine!) and was the fashion director of a major Denver publication for nearly three years. I’ve spent far too much time on clothes and too much time figuring out what works. However, when I need to go to an event and I can walk into my closet, select exactly what I need and go, it is time well spent.


As a larger person, what I wear has helped me immeasurably. The reality is that clothing sends many unconscious messages and whether we know it or not, how we dress and what we decide to put on our bodies is a reflection of our mood, our esteem, and much more. 


There’s neat and then neat

One of the things I try to cultivate in my personal appearance is a sense of being neat and put together. Fortunately, this involves a simple style and simple colors. The biggest factor in having a “neat” appearance is clothing that fits really well. Nothing should be too large and certainly not too small. 


T-shirts should fall at the hips, jackets should fall a bit lower to create a silhouette. If you are wearing this a conference, make sure it is a nice t-shirt, with quality fabric and the right cut for your body. Denim can be appropriate but make sure that is the overall vibe and make sure to break out the good denim (the kind you don’t wash). 


The point of any outfit should be to create the type of mood you’re cultivating. If you are attending a formal business meeting, then for men a suit is an easy go to with a quiet tie that was bought in the past five years. For women, there is a range of options, but if a power suit isn’t your style, a simple jacket (not too short) can complement any blouse and a simple pair of slacks or skirt. I would avoid anything too short in that setting. 


Remember: it need not be designer or even expensive to cultivate the kind of appearance you are looking to convey. It should fit perfectly, be in good condition, and not too crazy in its pattern. Bold patterns and colors are for certain occasions, but not all occasions. 


Is it right for the occasion?

This factor comes into play if you are socializing with clients or others in non-business settings. If you are going to a golf outing, dinner or similar, then having the right kind of clothing is vital. If you are going to wear odd and crazy patterns, this might be the proper occasion. If you are attending a country, tennis, or golf club, then look up their dress code and follow it assiduously, especially if you are a guest. Nothing is more embarrassing than being turned away from not wearing a jacket to dinner or not wearing proper attire for a game of tennis or a round of golf. 


For other events, you can get creative and wear some of your more fun pieces and express your personality. In this day, and age, men can ditch wearing ties of almost all description unless you are the type of person who can wear a cravat. For women, keep things simple and try to wear the right kind of shoes or keep an extra pair in your bag or in the car. You can also keep it fun with accessories or a fun bag. Definitely leave the hoodies and sweatpants for a quiet night at home. Those simple slacks that aren’t quite formal enough for a meeting? Social occasions are their time to shine! 


Programmatic fashion

The most common complaint that I hear about fashion is that it is too challenging to shop and too hard to decide at the moment. This is where a bit of pre-planning is incredibly helpful. I can’t make shopping any easier (so many brands, so little time) but you can build a very nice closet by picking what colors you like to wear and buying the right kind of clothes for your normal lifestyle. If you are an executive then the world you travel in requires at least three sections of your wardrobe. If you work in tech, you may not need as much. 


Evaluate your needs and then group your clothing needs by those needs. Then you can see what items you are lacking (no good polos? Lacking in casual pants?) And then you can focus your shopping efforts on those needs, and then you can open your closet and select exactly what you need. If you stay within a color palette it makes selecting things even easier (blues and blacks, browns and blues, white and so on).


I have many clothes (too damn many at times) but I can still be dressed for any event I might encounter within 20 minutes by buying certain colors and keeping tabs on what clothes I might need for what occasion. I even dedicated shirts I wear for my podcast and so on. The key is to make it programmatic and easy. Avoid buying things that just don’t seem to fit or that you will only wear once. 


Final thoughts

When it comes to fashion, what you wear tells a story. Decide on what kind of story you want to tell, and then shop for that story. Believe it or not, you will feel more confident and more yourself when you are wearing the right clothes. It doesn’t matter your size either: all the numbers are fake, the point is that you need to look good for your body type and your look. If you can achieve that, then you can build a programmatic wardrobe that will look great no matter the occasion. 


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube, or visit my website for more info!

Read more from Cameron Cowan

 

Cameron Cowan, Creative Director

I’m Cameron Lee Cowan; I’m originally from Denver via Northwest Arkansas. I started writing in 2005 writing essays and short stories. I have a vintage flair in much of my work. All the twists and turns on my journey through music, fashion, theater and writing have provided the background for my writing. I’ve seen exciting people and interesting things, and I do my best to find ways to tell those everyday stories and try to leave my readers with something profound. Whether I’m writing about the world around us at The Cameron Journal or creating a novel, I try to make an observation and leave the reader to decide for themselves how they think or feel about it.


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