Fashion: Eat, Pray, Shop

It may just be a movie about one woman’s spiritual journey of self-discovery, but the latest film release of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” book starring Julia Roberts has inspired many of us to celebrate our lives in a more reflective way … even in the clothes we wear. We may not be able to travel to India or Italy or Bali, but we can make the trek to Nordstrom and buy one of designer Sue Wong’s exotic new caftans. Or we can tune into the Home Shopping Network to pick up an exotic beaded prayer necklace.

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So, if you’re thinking about embarking on your own quest for a “new you,” here are a few tips for dressing the “spiritual diva part” from Jaye Hersh, celebrity stylist and author of “Hollywood Intuition: It’s What Separates Fashion Victims from Fashion Victors” (Powerhouse Books, 2009).

“Be honest about what you love and wear,” says Hersh. “Toss what doesn’t speak to you.”

Hersh suggests using a technique familiar to yoga practitioners — a “Letting Go” exercise.

“Tossing old clothes trains your brain to get rid of old thoughts and ideas. Psychologists say that you can train your brain to feel more comfortable about change by starting with easy changes like throwing out old clothes,” says Hersh, who admits that once you make the simple changes, you’re ready to make bigger changes. “When you throw out clothes in a closet,” she adds, “you’re also visually seeing how you’re making extra space for new, exciting things to come into your life.”

As you stretch outside your fashion comfort zone, then it’s time to start shopping, according to Hersh, who urges spiritual divas to buy one new thing “which is very much about who you are,” she says. “Maybe this piece of clothing is a bit sexier than you’re used to wearing,” she admits, but “push thyself, grow thyself.”

Now it’s time for the transformation. “You can easily transform even the most simple outfit into a knockout by adding dangling necklaces and bracelets,” she says. “Experiment by adding stunning colorful gems. Turquoise and pink gemstones look fabulous together.”

And don’t forget the inner journey of self-discovery, the stylist says. “Just because you are a down-to-earth gal, there’s no excuse to let yourself get too carefree about your hair, cleanliness and clothing rumpleness-quotient.” She does not think that taking care of yourself and caring about style is a superficial thing — probably one of the reason’s the “Eat, Pray, Love” phenomenon resonates with so many women.

“How beautifully you represent yourself to the world shows how much self-love you have and is another form of self-expression,” she says. “Like everything in life, it’s a matter of moderation. You don’t have to make fashion your number-one reason for living. But you can make living your gorgeous life feel more gorgeous if you are feeling at your utmost gorgeous on a daily basis.”

And one more bit of wisdom from Hersh: “Be sure you are not giving yourself too many excuses about not getting dressed up to go out. Your goal is to represent your inner beauty as fully as you can by being at your utmost beautiful on the outside.”

Top 10 Ways to Channel your Inner Fashion Spirit ala “Eat, Pray, Love”

One — Ditch the severe workaday suits. Loosen up your wardrobe, even if it’s just on the weekends.

Two — Get casual and comfortable when you can. Buy a breezy caftan or poncho, and team with narrow jeans or cropped pants.

Three — Go for bright color in at least one piece — a top, a jacket or a dress — and watch it light up your life.

Four — Look for handcrafted details that lend a “one-of-a-kind” touch to your wardrobe, such as the Indian-inspired embroidered tunics and sarongs in “Eat, Pray, Love.”

Five — Wear exotic jewelry. Add a beaded necklace, a wide cuff bracelet or a gem-encrusted cocktail ring to transform your “old” outfit.

Six — Wrap up in scarves. This one accessory can also instantly transform the most basic wardrobe pieces. Try a Buddhist-inspired printed scarf for starters. (www.hsn.com)

Seven — Top everything off with a hat. The raffia fedoras in “Eat, Pray, Love” boosted Julia Roberts’ style quotient big-time. And they are great for bad-hair days or going undercover like Chelsea Clinton did before her wedding. Check out www.hatattack.com.

Eight — Change your shoes, change your life. High heels may be great for swaggering into parties and walking around the boardroom, but slip into a pair of stylish flats (Julia loved gladiator sandals in the movie). And you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll look better, too.

Nine — Layer, layer, layer. Lighten up on the tops — the tanks and the T-shirts — and then you can always add your heavier pieces — the jackets and vests — to suit the occasion.

Ten — Think outside your closet. Don’t be afraid to think globally and expand your horizons. Remember: Don’t shop just to fill an inner emptiness; be thoughtful about what you buy and shop to nourish your soul.

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