White Out Part II

"Introversion – along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness – is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man's world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.

We like to think that we value individuality, but all too often we admire one type of individual – the kind who is comfortable "putting himself out there".

But we make a grave mistake to embrace the Extrovert Ideal so unthinkingly.  Some of our greatest ideas, art, and inventions ‚Äì from the theory of evolution to Van Gogh's sunflowers to the personal computer ‚Äì came from quiet and cerebral people who knew how to tune in to their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there."

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The quotes above are from an article by Susan Cain who has just come out with a book called "Quiet: The Power of introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking" (out in the UK on the 29th March), which I have nearly finished devouring.  Cain's TED talk also further strengthens her case for the quiet, the contemplative and those that feel reproached for feeling this way.  Without wanting to delve into an emo-heavy spiel about relating to Cain's words, all I can say is that I found myself nodding quite vigorously with each page.  I don't subscribe to self-help through text and although there are faint tones of life-coaching in the book, the overall message is that "deploying the powers of quiet" and using "soft power" may just get us further in this world than shouting out from the roof tops and giving stellar boardroom presentations.  

I know. Says the girl who puts herself out there on a fashion blog and has in effect been self-promoting through an online for the past six years.  You might be chortling right about now.  Still, it's my own perspective that Style Bubble has been part-therapy, part-relief for someone like me, who as Cain describes in her tome, found myself cripplingly uncomfortable in social situations and spent my formative years wondering whether wanting to be by myself all the time was abnormal and whether it was going to kill career prospects.    

Now how to work a pithy non-descriptive review of what is in fact a heavy weight, potentially life-changing book?  Oh, I know!  Talk up its beautiful aesthetics and link it back to FAS-WAN!!  After winter's white out, and in contrast to last week's rainbow bonanza, I'm due for another dose of white.  It just so happens to tie in with Cain's book landing on my desk.  What I appreciate most about her book is that her definition of introverts isn't concrete or damning.  They're not necessarily hermits nor are they painfully shy.  Likewise, I may express myself outwardly through what I wear but this doesn't necessarily mean I'm as in yer' face or bolshy as my multitude of colours and prints suggest.  

In this second installment of the white out, I'm equipped with a few protective elements to shield me from small talk and social natter, namely my headphones that are as bright as you find just to make it clear that I'm plugged in to another world.  Then there are the pre-requisite shades and a sturdy big bag to hold other devices to turn to if I'm not up for chit-chat (Kindle, MacBook Air, books, The New Yorker).  Everything else is of course a purely aesthetic proposition, that conveniently matches up with the smooth uninterupted surface of Cain's book cover.  Fortunately, there's a lot more to recommend from this book that goes beyond the cover.  Introvert or not, there's a lot to glean from Cain's words at a time when power in the more traditional sense doesn't seem to be working anymore.  

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(Wearing Molami Twine headphones in white and gold, Illesteva Leonard sunglasses, Comme des Garcons sequinned tuxedo demi-jacket, Hussein Chalayan white twisted jacket, Uniqlo heat tech poloneck, Balenciaga white patent button down skirt, Simone Rocha wedges, 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli in Polished White)

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(From top to bottom: Holga 135BC, Apple adaptor plug, Chanel lip balm UrbanEars white headphones, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain, SanDisk ImageMate card reader, Illesteva Leonard sunglasses, Balenciaga Paris Purse Spray, Panasonic DMC-LX5, Apple iPhone 4S, 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli in Polished White)

56 Replies to “White Out Part II”

  1. I am inspired by your one colour dressing. I had a serious phase of only wearing red and on odd occasion a splash of pink too. It’s a powerful statement and can make dressing a lot easier. You should visit the White Hotel in Brussels it’s incredible I went there the other year for a white photo shoot. You’d fit right in! x http://www.thewhitehotel.be/

  2. The white is amazing its very fitting for the subject, it kind of symbolises A fresh newness. Anyway I won’t ramble. But sorry for stalking don’t you have that white Phillip Lim bag in like a grey colour? Or have you dyed it lol?

  3. Susie, this post has made me SO very happy!
    As someone who hardly ever wears a single speck of colour, I was drawn to the all-white visuals, and when I read your post I couldn’t have been more excited to find writings on a subject so close to my heart.
    I also blog (nowhere near the calibre of yourself, ofcourse) and am highly introverted, needing to spend much time alone with my own thoughts and ideas.
    So glad you have posted about this subject, and I really hope your readers actually do READ the content of this post, instead of just looking at the pictures (as much as I do adore your monotonal outfit!)
    Cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of Susan Cain’s book!!
    Jaz. xx

  4. I don’t really do white in clothes. But I do have to have the white iphone 4 and a white macbook, thus it couldn’t be the pro. But it’s white! lol

  5. Thanks for sharing this review. One day at work, I was sitting at the break table and one of my coworkers started to read an article aloud about introversion. I looked around at the three girls sitting at the table and realized she had the perfect audience. It lead to three of us having a great discusion when otherwise we probobly would have sat quietly at that table together. People expect a lot of my personality when they first see me because my style is much more extroverted than I am. I feel that my introversion is very much holding my back in finding a carreer. Its really difficult and I wish the world could see what introverts really have to offer.
    –Minette aesthetic attic

  6. Great post! I, too, am an introvert (Notice I’m behind the camera instead of in front of it?) and have always felt somewhat crippled in social situations, so I’m really pleased that introverts are having such a moment. Time Magazine’s cover article on February 6th was “What if Introverts Ruled the World?” Well, we can only hope!
    Love the symbolism of your all white outfit!
    http://styleseer.blogspot.com

  7. I am a huge fan of introverts only I call them listeners. Everyday i notice listeners being taken advantage of by aggressive talkers, not because what they have to say is any less interesting/important/exciting. they are simply just not aggressive. people need to ask a question and actually wait for the answer with sincere energy where they are wholly present.
    my blog is just scans of collected texts, scans of books I love so much i need to share

  8. how wonderfully unexpected and i love that you started off with the topic of introversion then moved onto this all white ensemble rather than simply going like “oh i have white headphones so im going all white”… the gorge 3.1 bag pulls the entire white look into focus, and how awesome’s the balenciaga skirt! and of course sporting on of ur fav shoes the simone rochas! ps. im more or less an introvert, but if forced to be an extrovert in essential situations i can, but still prefer to stay with my thoughts and drawings…
    if you wanna see my fashion drawings from CSM, it’s in my most recent post lol xx
    http://style-niche.blogspot.com

  9. Worship of the extrovert is also so evident in the world of fine art and its obsession with gigantism. Sure, I like to see a three-story high sparrow or ten-foot tall Barbie doll (maybe not), but louder, bigger, stronger, a Hummer driving over a Miata, gaaah! I love this post and I love what this book has to say. Your white outfit fits well with the purity of your message!

  10. Love the white! And really enjoyed Susan Cain’s TED talk, thanks for sharing that. Will be getting the book next – such an interesting counter to the Extrovert Ideal…

  11. So pure and simple! Love the bag, the skirt and well.. everything. I haven’t been a huge fan of white because I have this uncontrollable curse that I seem to get stains in everything imaginable. But I’m really tempted to get something white for this summer..
    Xx
    unicornsforbreakfast.squarespace.com

  12. I loved this post – and will certainly read the book. Your writing is so engaging. I hear that ‘Quietism’ is a growing movement. Indeed I can only find calm and return to a sense of myself by being alone; it fuels a return to the fray. I also recommend Sara Maitland’s book ‘Silence’.
    And the outfit. Reminiscent of Pearly Queen; a taste of spring.

  13. Wow. Just from this excerpt I can tell I’m going to love this book. Susan Cain’s speech on Ted Talks was so inspiring.
    Love how you put your own personal touch on this blog post Susie. It’s strange to see you in all white – you do it ever so interestingly though; of course <3
    http://www.lulurose.net

  14. For years I wondered whether I was abnormal or even a bad person for not wanting to be around people all the time (even the ones I liked). It came to the point where I was planning to go into therapy. When I was around 22-23 I read an article about introverts and things just clicked. It was a huge relief to read that I was not alone, and not a bad person. And accepting who I am actually made it easier for me to interact with others.
    I’ll check out the book, I hope it’ll do its part in trying to make our society see that introverts are just another type of people, not better or worse but equal to extroverts.

  15. I’m very much optimistic about the power of those that are quiet. Making a lot of noise and being bolshie has got this world into a very confused and muddled state. We all may need to take a step back and rethink the way we work be it in politics, in corporate situations and in social responsibilities.

  16. Interesting point. I think that could well be true. You might be putting your personal image out there but you’re doing it in the comfort of your blog site and on your own terms… would be an interesting study to do, to profile bloggers and see whether they fit the introvert personality mould.

  17. I have just added you to my favourites! Apologies for the delayed reply but your blog is really incredible.
    I agree with you. Introverts, as defined by Cain are great listeners and that’s a quality we should all be practising a lot more, whether you’re an introvert or not.

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