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