Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art of placement, is based on the idea that you will live a happier and healthier life when your living and working environments are balanced and harmonious. By practicing Feng Shui, you’re visually affirming your intentions for your life—creating space for love, prosperity, or opportunity.
This same idea is the basis for Fashion Feng Shui®, which believes that what you wear is just as important as the environments in which you work and live. You know the phrase, “don’t dress for the job you have; dress for the job you want“? The practice is similar to that—that your clothes have the ability to help you express your authenticity and attract your deepest desires.
So, maybe that’s why I’m still single and living with two roommates… My morning outfit selection is more grab the first thing I see and less planned or intentional.
Having only recently been introduced to the concept and eager to learn more, I chatted with Jennifer Newman, a Colorado Springs-based Fashion Feng Shui® Facilitator.
“When I got dressed, I often felt like I was in someone else’s clothes.”
“Fashion Feng Shui has countless benefits and makes a great impact on one’s signature style, confidence, and self awareness,” says Newman. “Through Fashion Feng Shui, my life has been completely transformed. Before I discovered FFS, I was an indiscriminate shopper and my closet was pure chaos. I bought pieces that I liked and even looked okay on me, but I had no focus. When I got dressed, I often felt like I was in someone else’s clothes—so I took them off, threw them on the bed, and went with what I felt comfortable in. I wanted to be able to wear whatever I wanted on a whim, but that didn’t actually feel right a lot of the time.”
How many of us have tried to copy a look we saw in a magazine or Pinterest or Instagram and felt like we weren’t pulling it off? Sure—confidence is a part of that. But maybe it’s just that the look simply isn’t us? We don’t feel like our honest selves because we aren’t really embracing who we are or what we want from life.
“Through FFS, I’ve refined my wardrobe and now have a distinct personal style,” says Newman. “There is still lots of room to play—with pattern, color, texture, fabric, and even silhouette, but now I know what works for me and where not to go.”
So, how did Newman get to that point—to be able to definitively say what works for her? She discovered her Essence, or her core self, which is made up of one’s element type and influence.
“Discovering one’s element type and influence requires learning a bit about the basics principles of Feng Shui,” says Newman, “most importantly the five elements and their qualities and characteristics.”
You might recognize these five elements from traditional Feng Shui: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. “Each element has a set of qualities that encompass color, shape, texture, feelings, personalities, and even time of day,” says Newman.
“Learning about each of the elements helps us recognize ourselves in one or a few of these. This is Essence discovery, where we find what element has the most influence in our lives and personalities.”
Your Essence starts with your Primary Element, she says, noting that we all have one or two Secondary Influencing Elements as well. Newman, for example, is a Water type with Wood Influencing.
“From there, we take a look at body shape, hair, eye, and skin color and determine what elements make up our appearance,” Newman says. “Our essential, internal essence is often different than our appearance, creating a really unique elemental profile for each of us.”
In addition to your Essence, Fashion Feng Shui takes your Intention into consideration as well. Basically, what do you want from life? Newman explains this can be anything from being more organized to making new friends or traveling more.
“Essence, Appearance and Intention make up what we call the transformational triad in Fashion Feng Shui,” says Newman. “Generally, our Essence stays the same—it is our core self,” says Newman. “Appearance can change to some degree, depending on changes to hair color and body shape. Intention can change every day! That part is so fun. Having the tools and knowledge to make adjustments based on what we desire is very empowering.”
Essence, Appearance, and Intention make up the “transformational triad” in Fashion Feng Shui.
Now, how do you take this transformational triad and apply it to your wardrobe? “My clothes support my Essence and my Intention,” says Newman. “That plays a huge part in my self confidence about my appearance and my general bad-assery. When we dress with intention, we spend less money on clothes we will never wear. We can skip over a lot that we know doesn’t support us; our closets are more streamlined, and we always have something to wear! Fashion Feng Shui helps us dress from the inside out and with authenticity. We celebrate our realness: accentuating the beautiful parts of ourselves that we might not have realized were beautiful.”
How to Get Started with Fashion Feng Shui
One of the best ways to get started is to work with a Fashion Feng Shui®️ practitioner, who will guide you through a thorough consultation to help you determine your Essence, Appearance, and Intention. For the curious, Newman recommends taking this quiz, which will introduce you to the basics of elemental dressing.
For those looking for more info, she also recommends reading Evana Maggiore’s (the founder of Fashion Feng Shui International) book, Fashion Feng Shui: The Power of Dressing With Intention.
“Once you become familiar with the basics of Fashion Feng Shui, one of the first things to do is a mini closet audit,” says Newman. “Get rid of a few items that make you feel blah when you open your closet. Create space for what will support you. Even if you don’t yet know exactly what elements make up your Essence, Appearance and Intention, you do know what doesn’t make you feel good. Letting go of what we don’t love is a cornerstone of any Feng Shui practice. “