"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Productivity
July 22, 2021

Panache – Seasonal Theme For Summer 2021

As the pandemic slowly grinds, 500 days into my “new normal”, I’m trying to imagine ways to add more uniqueness and personality to everything I do. I’m trying to add a little panache.

Opening my wardrobe fills me with dread. I’m tired of the way I look, the food I cook and every book that sits waiting on my shelf.

Sure, blame it on the pandemic. But, we know these ruts and routine frustrations from other seasons of our lives. Somehow, we’ve got to a point where things lack flavour, style, or dare I say it, panache.

I love that word. It feels gauche and retro. Like something from a 70s fashion editorial. I can imagine Ewan MacGregor saying the word over and over again in an elegantly campy drawl, while looking in the mirror preparing for his Netflix role as designer Halston. Say it with me – “Halston has panache.”

My yearly theme for 2021 is imagination. But, I’ve been struggling to imagine a better way of being in the world. The last 16 months haven’t made me less stylish. But, they’ve made me less sure of my style.

On Having Panache

So, for this seasonal theme, I’m imagining my life with a little more panache added. Sure, panache is an odd word. But it appeals to me because it’s a fun and unexpected way to talk about style. Panache suggests an enticing mix of extravagance and risk taking. Not just finding your own style but being brave enough to push it to the edge in pursuit of expressing yourself.

“Panache” has its root in a plume of hair or feathers. Think of the helmets Roman solders wore. The lower ranks had no plume. But as you went up the ranks, the plumes became more elaborate. The decorations marked rank and status.

There’s a common misconception that style doesn’t matter anymore. Of course, this is untrue. We’re always decorated and showing our taste in some way. That’s why this recent meme worked so well.

We all have a style, not just in the way we dress, but also in our approach to work, how we behave and how we treat people. Not explicitly having a style is still a style. So, why not cultivate a style?

Customise Your Life

Recently, I wrote about life feeling small because of the pandemic. One thing I’ve struggled to hold onto is the feeling that my work comes from an atelier, or workshop, where everything is customised. I’m getting through each day. But, increasingly it feels like things are less crafted and unique. Like everything is just on the default setting.

When you look at people who’ve mastered a craft, you might see they have a lot of tools. But, what’s more interesting is how they’ve customised those tools. Whether by years of use and maintenance. Or by design. They’ve made those tools their own.

Their tools have panache.

That’s what I’m trying to do this season, even with my digital tools. I imagine a way to make them work better for me, even the small things, like these banners I made for Twitter Lists.


It’s an excuse to open up the preferences and get away from the default settings, in work, as in life.

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