Focus In, Build Out

There’s an anecdote in Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life that I absolutely love. She recounts a summer vacation long ago, when she and her brother were still in grade school. Her brother had one assignment over that summer vacation, which was to write a book report about birds. Just as I would have done, he ignored it all summer long and became completely overwhelmed when it was the last day before school started and he had nothing written. His father, noticing how distraught his son was, offered the following advice: “Bird by bird, son. Just take it bird by bird.”

Focus In, Build Out - He Spoke Style

| WEARING | Blazer c/o ASOS, J.Crew jeans and belt, Shirt c/o Banana Republic, Reiss tie (sold out, similar HERE), QG Custom pocket round, Timex watch, Ray-Ban sunglasses, To Boot New York shoes (more affordable HERE) | PHOTOGRAPHY | by Rob McIver Photo

I remember that story every time I start to feel overwhelmed with the number of things I need to accomplish. The fact that I’m always connected and have so many irons in the fire at any given time can sometimes be paralyzing. It’s a product of the times we live in. Making a list and ticking items off one by one helps me center myself and actually accomplish something. I sometimes have that same feeling when thinking about what to wear.

One technique that allows me to make choices more quickly, is to focus in on one item and them build my outfit around it. It could be a shirt, pair of pants, blazer. It doesn’t really matter. Take this tie, for example. I’ve had it in my collection for a while but haven’t actually worn it. It’s much different than most of the other ties I own, a little difficult to style, and though I’d been thinking about it, I hadn’t spent much time really thinking about how I’d wear it. However, focusing in—really treating it as a challenge—allowed me to finally figure it out.

Focus In, Build Out - He Spoke Style

Focus In, Build Out - He Spoke Style

Thanks for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

He Spoke Style


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