Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Emerging needs (2) – Ties that blind?

Emerging needs (2) – Ties that blind?

Torrey Orton

October 13, 2009

What I wear is seldom of much concern; it's just the same arrangement with slight variations. But occasionally I have a brief flitter of indecisiveness in the face of my wardrobe's slight variety. This only happens when I'm subliminally aware of needing to make an impression which does not align with my habitual want to look moderately presented with a touch of flare. The latter light is usually to be cast by a tie, of which I have 20 or so with heritages running back to the mid-90's – that is, the oldest are almost ready to come back into style, like my aviator glasses.

This occasional opportunity for a precisely contained visual confusion experience was brought to mind, as so often such things are, by another patient client. The container is the time between when I start dressing for an impression-demand event and my departure time to it – 15 minutes approx. Anyway, he, in the midst of dealing with a multi-level, multi-domain life shift, has quite significant mood swings as his various experiences and prospects clatter and crunch within him. The swings are sometimes energised by virtual or real engagements and brief encounters with his work colleagues.

An outstanding tie

A week ago he appeared for therapy in his standard work dress (dark suit, white shirt and dark lace-ups), with a tie of outstanding pattern and colours – the latest (would I know?) in thick upward coursing stripes of red and blue and white. An unmissable bid for recognition which I acknowledged at the time with a query about what had happened. Well, a good week had happened, a step up to achievement and a pause for relief before the next climb to a new life stage.

A week later a plateau had appeared where last week's step had fallen, a transitional terrace which felt like a step backwards to him. This was expressed in a tone-matched suite of vestments, all low key and low relief, including a tie of slight dullness melding into a pastel shirt. He was, as before, somewhat unaware of what he had done, though recalling that the struggle to select his impression this week had been particularly unsettling compared to the previous week. Perhaps the unconscious news was more troubling, as in deed it was. This terrace was unknown ground on his trip, reminding him of much earlier periods of deep depression years ago.


The subject, we discovered, as we walked ourselves through my impression of his sartorial expressions over two meetings, was the difference between an impression and an expression, along with a place where they seemed inextricably intertwined. This is the matter of emergent perceptions, I suppose, where inner meets outer, greets outer, is affected by outer, is reflected in outer, or reflects outer in itself?

Choosing your expression/impression may provide a quick trial of your togetherness about a certain social event: see how long the vestment compilation takes and on achieving the finished presentation, reflect on what had passed for conflicting motives in the process*. It can be useful to get a reliable, instructive impression of how you are from someone who knows you enough to have a well formed impression. Observant close acquaintances can do a good job on a day to day basis. Therapists not necessary.


*this is one of a to-be-collected suite of mini-techniques for studying emergences and their inhibitors.


  1. I wonder if there is a seasonal component to this. I find that when I get up in winter that it is dark outside, which means my sartorial choices are made blindly - I might just get it more right in summer (though there are some who question whether I ever get it right)

  2. Well, you could just reach in and put on whatever comes to hand, then see what you've got..and if you do this please take a picture and post it!!