by Lulu Lee
The Reluctant Feng Shui Practitioner
This Chinese New Year really took its toll on my finances. I must have tempted fate last month by citing a scenario wherein a shoe sale coincides with Chinese New Year, proceeding to preach about how one must refrain from indulging as it is considered bad luck to buy shoes during the New Year period. Lo and behold, I stumbled across some fantastic 50% off deals, and before I knew it, the left and right sides of my brain were engaged in bitter conflict over the taboo of buying new shoes during Chinese New Year vs the need to capitalise on value-for-money deals. I am Chinese afterall, so to do right by my genetics I opted for the latter.
To make financial matters worse, I was then told to ensure I bought new trousers for Chap Goh Meh in order to counter the bad luck I had created for myself. And thus more spending occurred, and I start my year broke, though well-heeled. Let’s hope that that last production of Fu Fu Guai Guai kicks in for the rest of the year!
While on the subject of wardrobe, I was presented with a requirement to design a set of team shirts needed for a competition. I have never considered clothing in light of Feng Shui and wondered whether any principles apply. Surprisingly, there is comparatively little literature on applying Feng Shui to your wardrobe than there is on applying Feng Shui to your environment. I only found a handful of websites within the first three pages of search results, which I find an interesting gap in the market.
We move between different physical environments throughout our daily routine, and thus our exposure to each is limited to a few hours per day. Yet at the minimum, we are in our pyjamas for approximately 8 hours a day (or so a doctor would recommend), and in other clothes for up to 16 hours a day (less if you are a sports or hygiene freak who frequently changes clothes, and well, more if you have an aversion to sports, showers or hygiene in general). Whatever your shower regime, my contention is, shouldn’t more attention be paid to incorporating Feng Shui philosophies into what you wear?
I wondered if the lack of reading material on this subject is due to the limitations in implementation, dreading finding that we should be wearing red trousers with Dragon motifs or dresses scattered with Lucky Cat prints. What few websites I found talked about creating harmony by balancing your personal traits with the clothes that you wear. Meaning, you are limited to what you wear according to your birth sign. For example, I read that Earth people, who can be indecisive and resistant to change, should incorporate Wood elements into their wardrobe for gentle growth and movement. In the same way, Metal people should wear Fire elements, Water people Earth elements, Wood people Metal elements and Fire people Water elements. Surprisingly though, expressions of each element were not that restrictive. For example, hues of green, light blues, florals, wooden wedges and beads symbolise the Wood element – nice, dreamy and bohemian. To wear Metal elements, opt for whites and metallic colours and metallic accessories. Again easily achieved, in fact very appealing and avant-garde. If you need the Earth element, one should wear warm earthy tones, and for the Water element opt for black, blues, and outfits with shimmery elements or sequins. I also love that in addition to the obvious reds, oranges and pinks, animal prints, faux fur and chevron are included as being representative of the Fire element. Whoever said Feng Shui cannot be trendy! It really does not seem at all difficult nor mundane to incorporate Feng Shui into your wardrobe.
On my research journey, I even found that skulls are a powerful reminder of impermanence and are therefore considered auspicious. And so, driven by my deep love for Alexander McQueen’s skull-inspired scarves and clutches, I truly conclude that there is massive potential for Feng Shui application to wardrobes. All we lack is guidance, inspiration and ideas.
In the meantime, my task to conceptualise the team shirts continues. This may be a slightly difficult in view of the above, as it is unlikely that all team members will have the same birth element. Yet, wouldn’t it be the ultimate design challenge to achieve a unified team look while incorporating varying graphics or designs all promoting good Feng Shui?
We could start with a lucky base colour for the t-shirt, which for 2017 are Fire colours, so a strong pink is my chosen starting point. Each team member could then have a personal “logo”, such as a circle filled with different motifs or colours according to what he needs to balance his birth element. And finally, we could finish the look with some lucky Feng Shui symbols. Thankfully, this need not be the Lucky Cat, but an oh-so-cool looking skull aka McQueen, to symbolise the ferocity of the team and yet to deliver auspiciousness under Feng Shui. Design challenge accepted!