9.23.2008

On Posture


People watching is one of my favorite pastimes. I love nothing more (if weather permits) than to sit outside at a café sipping tea and watching passersby. I am fascinated by people’s choices in fashion, grooming and companions- but most of all I love to observe how people carry themselves. Lately, I have noticed a lot of bad posture- or lack of pride in the carriage of oneself- people walking around with slumped shoulders and a dreadful frown to match. Now I know that we are living in uncertain times, which could attribute to this lack of poise that plagues so many of us, but my view is: now is a better time than ever to pull your shoulders down and walk with a sense of purpose (even if you currently have none).

The reason that posture has been on my mind recently is because this past Saturday I was out shopping for curtains. As I was walking through the sumptuous fabrics in the shop, I had tunnel vision to the task at hand- finding the perfect fabric! It must work well with neutral paint- not too traditional and not too modern. Nothing fussy, yet not too plain. I was so absorbed in this task that I walked in front of a mirror thinking that I was looking at another person. A split second passed and I realized I was looking at myself! My shoulders were slumped forward, my brow furrowed and a slight frown was on my face. Quelle horreur! I paused in front of this mirror, wondering how many hours in my day are spent looking like this.

Instantly, I straightened up. I shifted my handbag from my right side to my left, pulled my shoulders down and forced a smile to correct the otherwise morose position my face had recently taken. Oh dear. This got me thinking.

I’ve always prided myself on relatively good posture but it has never been something that comes naturally to me. I must remind myself constantly. The first time I ever really thought about the importance of the way one carries oneself was over a decade ago. I was shopping with my parents in Geary’s of Beverly Hills. They were buying a new set of china for their house. While my mother and sister were upstairs browsing the dinnerware options, my father and I were downstairs looking at watches. We were in a discussion with the lady behind the counter when out of the corner of my eye the sliding door opened to the shop and a man walked in. Before I could turn to look and see who it was I could tell it was someone with good energy and a lot of confidence. I could just sense that this person had good posture and, dare I say, a smile on his face. I turned to see who it was and, lo and behold, it was Kyle Mac Lachlan, the actor, of Blue Velvet and Sex and the City fame. He carried himself with such poise and grace it was truly a pleasure to witness. He had made an entrance.

Ever since my Kyle Mac Lachlan sighting, I have essayed to improve my posture as well as my entrances (and exits) from a room. I believe it is the single most important thing that anyone can do to improve his or her look.
Tim Gunn, style guru and author of Tim Gunn A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style, writes in his book that “the well positioned shoulder tells the world that you are a confident, healthy individual- not a showboat or a dormouse”. I couldn’t have put it better myself. Gunn also goes on to correct the misguided thought that one must pull their shoulders back to have good posture. Rather, he suggests that you pull your shoulders down and imagine your spine being elongated. A slight tucking in of the pelvis is also suggested.

So in honor of Tim, Kyle and the rest of the stylish world, I am trying to be vigilant with good posture… hopefully one day soon, it will come as second nature to me and I wont shock myself in anymore fabric store mirrors. To posture!

Tim Gunn's book can be purchased at: www.amazon.com

Image of Kyle Maclachlan courtesy of: www.yahootv.com

Image of book courtesy of: www.amazon.com

14 comments:

Jenavira13 said...

As a large chested woman I know the value of good posture very well and I also know that many people think you are showing off when you aren't because you are using good posture. Since childhood I have heard hold yourself straight you don't want to have a hunch back. Like you though I am amazed by the bad posture I see; most often I see it on young women (who don't have the large chest issue) and I see it on a lot of young guys; I'm beginning to think that some see it as a fashion accessory. And I loved Tim Gunn's book; okay, I love him in general.

Rose said...

I also think posture is very important. I think it's really sexy when a man carries himself well and elegant when a woman does.

I did quite a lot of ballet when I was little and that trains you to have very good posture without thinking about it. That stayed with me for a long time but gradually I have developed bad habits I think, sometimes I see myself slouching in mirrors and think stop that.

Good posture is also very slimming which is another reason I need to try and remember it!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hi Jenavira- I LOVE Tim Gunn- I think he's one of my top 5 people I'd like to meet :) Yes, I see bad posture a lot- sometimes I do think it is a choice (like with teenagers) the tragic thing is when a woman (or man) has no idea they have bad posture- they could look SO much better with a little correction.

There is a funny anecdote about Tim Gunn that I read the other day... he was in the subway and a man came up to him and said, "how can I look better in a suit?" and Tim Gunn said "Stand up straight".

Hehe, not quite the fashion advice this guy was expecting...

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Rose- You are lucky to have done ballet- I can always tell when I see a dancer because of their impeccable posture.

Good posture is slimming- it's amazing what a little poise and a smile will do to one's appearance!

lady jicky said...

My posture is shocking and I am going to start today! Thanks.

ScentScelf said...

Strangely, the best thing I ever did for my posture was adding strength training to my workout routine. Yoga was great for balance, and reminding me about line, but I think the muscle building added pride as well as strength to hold the carriage. :)

Best of luck with the vigil!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Lady Jicky- I'm so glad you're inspired to improve your posture! I have been very good today... with the exception of a few slip-ups- mainly while sitting in front of the computer...

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Scentscelf- Yes- yoga is amazing for posture... especially if you do it in the morning- it sets you up for the whole day. I have recently added weights to my exercise routine... will be interested to see what it does for me...

Divina said...

I tend to (perhaps flattering myself) think that I have a quite good posture because like Jen I grew up with a mother that insisted I walk keeping my back straight. I do think there is room for improvement in all things however :) How I admire my ballerina friend... but what she does is simply impossible. Apparently she walks thinking that there is an invisible line pulling her upwards, really that's just too painful for me :P

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hi Divina- Lol- yes that image does seem painful... I was saying to Rose that ballet dancers are incredibly lucky- they just have that je ne sais quoi to their posture that the rest of us don't have... maybe its because they are willing to visualize that line pulling them upwards :)

Juliana said...

As I began reading your blog, I realized I was completely slumped over my desk - horrific posture!! Thanks for the reminder - now I just need you always there to tell me to straighten up!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Juliana- Lol! I know! I tend to have the worst posture when at the computer or watching TV... we can remind each other...

daedul said...

For starters,
I adore your blog! And I really find this post on posture very vital!

I remember when I was 18- hangin out at some mall dressed in my shorts n checked shirt (in the 90's loool) this really hot guy told me to sit up straight and that embarrassed the crap outta me...

I think eversince I have really paid attention to my posture!

yes, ladies n gentlemen, posture is extremely vital! :)

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Daedul- thank you for your comment. Yes posture is so important and is something that I work at every single day. I also notice that when my posture is good, people around me sit up straighter too- it's fun to observe- try it! xo

 
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