Ours is a life of contrast: male and female, east and west, yin and yang. But the pitter-pat of daily routine (excluding time logged on social-media or watching news outlets) can melt distinctions into a muddy milieu of same, and I forget that beauty (and dare I say style) lay in contrast.
I was reminded of this in Tulum—a place where the blazing sun beats your back and cool cenotes await, where Mayan tradition abuts a thriving tourist industry, and idyllic neighborhoods are patrolled by police with military weaponry. The peoples’ dress seemed to celebrate this duality: cut-offs with silk blouses in rich colors, stacks of beads, and Havianas; traditional peasant dresses with Louboutin espadrilles; sequined beach shorts and sun-kissed faces, bare except for a swipe of red lipstick. Think Frieda Kahlo meets Jerry Hall.
Taking note, we can all up the ante of personal style by mixing distinct, contrasting pieces that don’t belong together in an orthodox sense (I call this philosophy Anti-Stitch-Fix). Consider pairing a military jacket with virgin-white frills and Yeezy sneaks, or accessorizing slim suiting with rustic wooden beads, colorful woven bracelets, a tee shirt, and flip-flops (search Street Style at Vogue or Harper's Bazaar online for inspiration and rough guides to DIY). Starting in your closet, go boldly in the direction of duality, and embrace the mystery of contrast.
You can shop elements for this way of dressing at Common Threads Boulder and Denver.