How to Dress to Stand Out

Andre Cymone, Prince and Dez Dickerson on Dec. 5, 1981 in Chicago. (Photo by Paul Natkin)

This experience of Dressing the Part has placed me — sometimes uncomfortably — in the position of dressing outside the norm of my environment.

Beyond the fact that I am going about my day wearing a mirror heart bracelet, there’s the fact that I am dressed up to the nines. Living in Minnesota, the climate is extreme. We have hot, humid summers and bitterly cold winters. We have hail, sleet, snow, ice, and torrential downpours. Despite the climate, people here are hardy souls and many are outdoor-sy. They love Minnesota’s lakes and they dress for the outdoors and head out in all kinds of weather. I admire that! That means that in the winter, it’s puffer coats and big snowboots and in summer, it’s shorts and a t-shir.

I finally wised up and turned the point of the heart toward me!

I’m not bothered that I’m dressing outside the norm. I like the way it feels to dress like this, and if it’s a bit more effort than wearing jeans, well, it’s worth it for the difference it makes in how I feel. I’ve been wearing dresses (no jeans allowed! #BecausePrince), vibrant colors, texture in the form of faux fur and suede, and shine in the form of metallic colored handbags and of course, the mirror heart. In the past, I’ve been guilty of “saving” nice things for a special occasion. But now I notice that my spirits rise when I take my nice things off their hangers and wear them. My closet isn’t a museum, after all.

One of my favorite parts of the Paisley Park museum is the hallway of photos of Prince and the evolution of his image. You see the 1970s era when he was photographed naked playing guitar on a bed (shot at Macy’s in San Francisco, according to Owen Husney’s memoir) to the 90s, when a lip-licking Prince covered in glitter is photographed wearing a gold Versace tank and sporting cropped hair, to the early 2000s, when Prince went glam rock with long flowing locks and huge hoop earrings.

Daring and extraordinary, Prince was never afraid to show the world who he was. I may not be as daring as Prince, but every baby step gets me a little closer.