A WHOLISTIC WAY OF THINKING
Foundation & Frameworks
Systems & Strategies
Principles, Concepts, Rules
By Judith Rasband MS AICI CIM
©2020 Conselle Institute of Image Management
I was talking with a colleague, discussing Conselle’s curriculum. We were not finding agreement. Then it hit me. We were using some of the same words or terms, but each of us had a different meaning in our minds. In fact, for some very important terms we had exact opposite perceptions of their meaning. No wonder we were not in sync and making no progress. Being somewhat of a wordsmith, I decided to explore meanings for these related terms in a dictionary and a thesaurus. This was confusing and rather frustrating, as some terms had few definitive words while others had many. One had a few words that didn’t even relate to our experience or usage. Still other words were repeated in the definition of each term. What follows are the terms as I define them in our work, and a related article to further exemplify our use of the terms at Conselle.
- All essential and fundamental content, information, data, and/or evidence regarding a topic.
- The base, basis, or truth function regarding a topic, including supporting principle-based concepts.
- A related and relevant whole.
- At Conselle, all essential and fundamental information needed to work in the image industry.
- The specific, planned, and orderly structure, arrangement, pattern, or system for the application of principle-based concepts to meet a client’s needs.
- The function of a framework is to hold together the parts of an application in an orderly arrangement of principle-based concepts including related activities.
- At Conselle, our structured Clinics, Style Scale®, Yin/Yang continuum, and so on.
- A set or arrangement of things so related or connected as to form a complete, unified, or organic whole.
- A set of facts, principles, or rules, placed together, arranged, structured, or classified in a regular, routine, orderly form or formation so as to show a logical plan linking the various parts into a whole—a systematic harmonious whole.
- A frame of reference, method, or plan of classification. It is a structured, regular, orderly, routine way of doing something.
- At Conselle, our 12 Wardrobe Strategies form and function as a system to meet a client’s needs.
- A design, direction, arrangement, or plan of action to meet a client’s needs.
- Planning and directing or managing something, including strategic methods and materials to meet a client’s needs.
- Something that is strategic is characterized by a manageable, favorable, advantageous strategy to meet a client’s needs.
- At Conselle, we teach strategic dressing.
- At Conselle, a single Wardrobe Strategy functions as a specific strategy to meet a client’s needs.
(I choose not to use the word stratagem, as it may be defined or characterized by negative words such as a scheme, trick, or deception; devised, designed, contrived, charted, arranged, organized, systematized, worked out, artful, sly, smooth, slick, knowingly, astutely, cleverly arranged.)
Within the Foundation there may be Frameworks.
Within a System there may be Strategies.
Frameworks, Systems, and Strategies may be singular, yet can relate to a specific whole.
Foundation, Frameworks, Systems, and Strategies may each depend on the words Principle and Concept, as in principle-based concepts.
- A fundamental truth, law, doctrine, motivating force, on which supporting principles are based.
- Principles form the foundation, base, basis, belief, rule, or standard way of thinking and doing.
- A natural or original predisposition, tendency, inclination, or endowment.
- At Conselle, simultaneous contrast functions as a principle.
- A concept is an idea, a generalized idea, a way of thinking, a class of thought, a general notion, and belief.
- A concept forms the beginning of some process—relevant to a Framework, System, or Strategy.
- At Conselle, the effects of simultaneous contrast are principle-based concepts.
- An established precept, directive, edict, or regulation for action, conduct, method, arrangement, etc.
- A fixed principle that determines action, conduct, procedure, habit, or custom—as in language, religion, law, mathematics,biology, etc.
- A “hard and fast rule” is absolute or universal, a regulation or law.
- A “rule of thumb” is relaxed, a guideline—usually, generally, customary.
- At Conselle, the effects of simultaneous contrast are usually to be expected, however may be affected by still another element or principle of design.
Exemplary Way of Thinking At Conselle
Conselle’s Educational-Training in Image Management Careers provides the Foundation of essential, fundamental, principle-based concepts regarding image management at an Associate degree level, as needed for starting, growing, and sustaining a profitable business. These principle-based concepts are the foundational base or basis for the application of image management—the truth function with supporting principles. Principle-based concepts form foundational truth at Conselle. As Conselle affiliates, we teach principle-based concepts on which the profession of image management consulting is founded. People/clients then choose and act for themselves.
A question to consider: Why is it more effective to teach principles rather than rules? There are two obvious reasons.
- First, rules are often limited to one or perhaps a few specific topics, situations, or applications while principles generally have a much broader application.
- Second, principles create an environment that maximize agency while rules tend to minimize agency by restricting, sometimes even dictating our choices and actions.
For example, a fashion rule most American women learn states, “Don’t wear white after Labor Day. The concept to be learned at Conselle states, “Wear darker colors in the Fall to keep you warmer.” The former is rule-driven; the latter is principle-driven.” Nowadays, defiant fashionistas want to “break the rule.” This is fine since most don’t know why the rule was made up originally.
It’s all about the weather. Labor Day is the first Monday in September. September is generally the end of sunny, warmer Summer months. The weather is expected to become cloudy, rainy, and colder. White reflects sunlight, keeping you cooler. Darker colors absorb the light keeping you comfortably warmer. Therefore, no white after Labor Day. Fashion leaders in the past thought we consumers couldn’t or wouldn’t understand, therefore they gave us the silly-sounding rule.
Of course we can wear white after Labor Day, a white shirt or blouse under a darker sweater, vest, or jacket works beautifully and also warm enough in Fall and Winter. Possible combinations of white in an outfit are endless. Then too, there is winter-white for clothes made up in wool or wool blends, perfect in cold weather. We do have endless options for agency due to differences in personal style for wearing white after Labor Day.
For another example, in the early days of professional image consulting, most practitioners learned a specific system of personal color analysis with advice dictated according to specific personal color types. The Color Key system works with only two personal color types. The Color Clock system works with three personal color types. The Seasons system works with four personal color types, and so on expanded to 12, 18, and 28 types as used by various image consultants—essentially limiting individuals/clients to a specific color scheme for life
Conselle affiliates learn principle-based concepts regarding personal color analysis and advice according to each individual’s personal coloring.
A brown-eyed brunette may ask, “Can I wear a cool-colored top?
“No, you know the rule—no cool colors on people with warm personal coloring,” so say the Color Key or Seasonal consultant.
“Oh, but I wanted to wear this beautiful blue,” laments the client.
Quickly the consultant does an about-face, exclaiming, “Oh, well, there’s an exception for that.”
The real question is “How many rules does it take to govern wearing cool colors?” Rules and more rules are at the center of these invalid, unreliable, and limiting color systems. Unknowing image consultants use a mechanical list of limited colors to apply to particular types of personal coloring, many which are in conflict with Conselle’s underlying principles.
Conselle affiliates are not about to be caught in that conflict. A wise man said, “Don’t answer a behavioral question with a behavioral answer. It is much better to give an answer based upon a principle.” When we address the unspoken but burning question of the moment—could a person wear a cool color even if it violated a rule of the Seasons system. We can begin to answer by stating a principle in the form of a question. “Is it possible for a cool color to look great on a warm colored individual?
Conselle has no set of rules, no checklist of colors to wear or not to wear. It comes down to two principles—become part of the color scheme with your clothes and repeat one of your personal body colors in your outfit (in total harmony.)
These are the types of principles we can teach the people—our clients. For example, when asked if they can wear a certain color not on their list, we might appropriately review the principles enunciated by our principle-based concept, and then ask: “Will that color help you become part of the color scheme with your clothes—will it help you look in harmony with your clothes?
If instead we always give yes or no answers to the questions, we will have shifted their agency and accountability from them to us. But, if we teach correct principles and let them answer their own questions, then we give them a chance to exercise their own agency, and in the process to accelerate their aesthetic maturity. In addition, it will help them understand how to think with regards to future situations of a similar nature.
But what if that individual does not make a right choice, and he or she chooses to wear an uncomplimentary color. We may need to step back and implement some guidelines until the time the individual has attained more aesthetic maturity. Perhaps the lesson to be learned is this: We use principles whenever we can so as to maximize the agency and growth of our clients, but if they can’t “handle” the principles, then we implement the fewest rules necessary until they arrive at that point.
Principles are compatible with the higher law, rules with the lesser. Our constant focus should be to teach principles. Why? Because principles have the greatest capacity to lift us to greater heights, and in the end, principles—not rules—will enable us to make the best choices.
At Conselle, a Framework is the specific, planned, and orderly structure, arrangement, pattern, or system for the application of principle-based concepts within the field of image management. Conselle carries out what are called Clinics, which function as a Framework to hold the parts of the Clinic together in an orderly arrangement of principle-based concepts including related activities.
Content for the Clinics comes from the book on the related topic, working in tandem with Conselle’s 12 Wardrobe Strategies, thereby maintaining the integrity and continuity of the concepts taught to the client. Conselle Clinics include:
Wardrobe Evaluation Clinic
Fabulous Fit & Fashion Clinic
Fabric & Texture Clinic
Pattern Savvy Clinic
Personal Style Clinic
Values Communication Clinic
Closet Organization Clinic
Smart Shopping Clinic
Image Evaluation Clinic
Dining Like A Pro Clinic