Your wardrobe choices are powerful tools of communication. What you wear each day can let people know about your mindset, your mood, and your goals. Former Secretary of State - Madeleine Albright used to communicate diplomatic messages through the pins and brooches that she wore. You can read more on the subject in her book Read My Pins. But you don’t have to be a Secretary of State in order to use your outfit to communicate your personal and professional messages with the people around you. All you need is to become aware of yourself: your feelings, you thoughts, and your intentions.
In her book Goddesses in Everywoman, the psychiatrist Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen translates 7 Greek goddesses into their modern day manifestation. In this post I use her 7 archetypes of women to show you how to dress for the different stages in your life and the different parts of your personality.
Before I start describing the archetypes and the way they dress, I would like to explain the term archetype: archetype is a prototype of a character or behavior. The archetypes that we carry around in us change constantly as we shift from one activity to another and as we age and have different life experiences. When you are done reading this post and familiarizing yourself with the different feminine archetypes, you will see how each one of us holds more than one archetype at any given time. We also have the ability to activate any archetype that we choose.
Note: for each archetype I recommend clothing brands, but this is certainly not an extensive list of what is out there.
Queen of the underworld and goddess of the spring
Daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Persephone was abducted by Hades, God of the Underworld. After relentless efforts her mother managed to return her back to her. Due to the fact that Persephone ate pomegranate while being in the underworld she had to spend half of each year in the underworld. Her return back from the underworld brings spring and vegetation back to the land.
· A young maiden who is taking her first steps in womanhood
· When a young woman looks at the world with wide bright eyes, full of excitement and hope
· You can also connect with this archetype at any age, when you are excited to start a new personal stage in your life, a new spring
Famous Persephone Women:
The US president's daughter Malia Obama, actress and social activist Emma Watson, actress Lily Collins.
Dressing with Persephone in mind:
· Bright colors and colorful prints
· A-line skirts and dresses
· Flats, sandals and kitten heels
· Anything that will radiate spring, freshness, and optimism
Goddess of the hunt and wilderness
Daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo, God of the Sun. Her father loved and admired her and granted all her wishes without questioning them. She asked to become a hunter accompanied with a pack of hounds and nymphs.
· An athlete
· A woman who enjoys physical activity, whether she is at the gym, on the playground, or in the wilderness
· A woman who cherishes her friendship with other women
· Nature and animal lover
Famous Artemis Women:
Dressing with Artemis in mind:
· Fitness gear
· Comfortable outdoor wear
· Casual wear when spending fun time with your girlfriend
Goddess of wisdom and craft
She came out of her father Zeus’ head as a full-grown woman warrior, wearing a gold armor and holding a sharp spear in her hand. She was the protector of the city of Athens. She was known as an excellent battle strategist and a leader. In peace times she replaced her spear with a spindle or pottery.
· A woman who is focused and working hard to achieve her goals in life – either at school or in her career
Famous Athena Women:
Hilary Clinton - former Secretary of State and a current candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Marry Barra - Chairman and CEP of the General Motors Company, designer Donna Karan, American soldier Sgt. Sherri Gallagher, and scientist Jacqueline Barton.
Dressing with Athena in mind:
· Business suits
· Sensible pumps
· Work gear
· Anything that shows that you mean business
Goddess of Marriage
Hera was the devoted wife of Zeus, who loved him despite his continuous love affairs with other women.
· A woman on her wedding day
· A woman who is playing a supportive role in her husband’s life and career
· A woman who is known because of her husband
Famous Hera women:
Dressing with Hera in mind:
· Bridal gown
· Any outfit that a woman wears when she accompanies her husband to an event, be it an evening dress to a gala, a cocktail dress to a reception, suite to a conference, or a sun dress to a company picnic
For other activities as a wife – depending on the activity you can borrow from other archetypes: an Athena suit if you join him to a conference, a Persephone dress if you accompany him to a company picnic, or a comfortable Artemis outfit if you join him on a hike, etc.
Goddess of harvest
The mother of Persephone, who did not rest until she brought her daughter back from the underworld.
· Anything that revolves around motherhood
· A woman who wants to conceive
· A pregnant woman
· Any activity a woman does because she is a mother: taking kids to school, playing with children, caring and cooking for them
Famous Demeter women:
Mother Teresa - the nun who dedicated her life to care for children and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Barbara Bush - a mother of five, former US first lady, and mother of a former US president, and Angelina Jolie - a mother of six, actress, and social activist.
Dressing with Demeter in mind
· Maternity wear
· Comfortable and durable clothes that can tolerate abuse, food stains, rolling in the sand, Gymboree jumping, and lots of laundry cycles
· Inexpensive clothing that won’t break your heart if it gets destroyed
Goddess of the Hearth and Temple
Hestia was a virgin domestic goddess who dedicated her life to make her house a temple.
· Whenever a woman enjoys being at home alone, or when she is busy creating your own space
· When you cook, clean, or decorate your house
· When you garden
Famous Hestia Women:
Most Hestia women are not very well known. They are private people. The following examples show women who used Hestia’s domestic domain to build their career.
Dressing with Hestia in mind:
· Comfortable sweats
· Anything you will be comfortable in, while at home by yourself
Goddess of Love and Beauty
As Botticelli described in his famous painting The Birth of Venus – Venus showed up from the sea as a beautiful grown woman. She was known for her love affairs and beauty.
There are two ways to manifest the archetype of Aphrodite in your life:
1. When you are celebrating your own beauty and enjoying it – shopping for clothes or cosmetics or spending a day at the spa
2. When you emphasize the lover in you and bring forth your sexuality. When you sexually tempt someone, when you make love, or when you talk about love
Famous Aphrodite women:
Actress Marilyn Monroe, model and actress (and recent James Bond girl) Monica Bellucci, model and actress Kate Upton.
Dressing with Aphrodite in mind
· Any outfit that makes you feel beautiful, seductive, and sexy
· High heels
What makes each woman feel beautiful is very subjective. Also, for each woman the term “sexy” means something else. Here are just a few example, but please feel free to explore your own vision of Aphrodite
As I wrote at the beginning of this post – we may manifest more than just one archetype. During our lifetime, at different times and events – different archetypes are more dominant in us. Malia Obama is a young promising woman now (Persephone). Next year she will start college and work hard to built her future career (Athena). In the future she might fall in love (Aphrodite), marry someone (Hera), and have children (Demeter). Angelina Jolie is a devoted mother to her six children (Demeter), and she also leads a successful career as an actress and a social activist (Athena), she is considered to be a sexy woman (Aphrodite), while also accompanying her husband Brad Pitt to his events (Hera).
Even if you feel that you are far from the feminine archetype that you would like to be, you are never too far from a piece of wardrobe that will make you feel like the person that you would like to be. Whether you want to succeed in your career, to become more physically active, to relax and enjoy your place, or to be desired – dress accordingly. The key here is to know who you are and what you want.
If you live in the Seattle area and you would like to learn more about these archetypes you can join my class Creating Strong Feminine Romantic Heroines at Bellevue College.
Also, Check out my other classes: