A Cover is Not the Book

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." - Rachel Zoe

Last night I asked my 6 year old daughter to choose which of two things would be worse for her.

"Lyla, would it be worse for you if someone thought you weren’t smart or if someone thought you were boring?"

She thought for a beat and said,"Boring."

Lyla’s style choice is usually a piece of one of her many costumes and her cowgirl boots. She likes skirts that twirl and must always be comfortable. She never wears an outfit that would be considered boring!

Her sister on the other hand would just die if someone didn’t think she was smart. As I’m sure you can guess, her style choices are typically different than her sister Lyla’s. For example, she voluntarily chose to dress in a khaki skort and a crisp, white collared shirt for school one week.

“This is my school uniform now.” She declared.

Both of my daughters are smart and neither of them are boring, but they have very different priorities on how they want to be seen by the world.

Much like Lyla, I tend to lean more on the side of not boring. I wear whatever calls to me that day. Sequined top on a Tuesday? Sure! Floral leggings to the gym? Why not!

We’re told of course to not judge a book by it’s cover. But the cover of the book is not to be dismissed. The cover is the image that the author wants to portray what is inside, and that does matter.

Take these two book covers for example:

Each of these books teach about healthy food choices and why we eat what we eat and what we should do differently. But each book will attract a different person. The Food Therapist is bright pink. This lets you know that the author wants you to feel invited into a conversation, this color is more playful and light. The Food Pharmacy is more neutral and subdued. You know this book will be slightly more serious and possibly more scientific.

It’s the same with what we chose to put on our bodies. For me what I chose to wear is a direct reflection of how I feel, that day. This means that my style is vast and changes from one day to the next. Maybe you get dressed based on what clean shirt you have hanging in your closet that morning. You think through the items you purchase, so that you know they are safe and consistent. Most likely because you don’t want to spend time every day thinking about how you feel and what you should wear based on those feelings. You want that decision to already made.

But the cover is not the book. What you wear is not who you are. Just because the way someone dresses is fun and lively does not mean that they aren’t smart. And just because someone dresses consistently safe and traditional does not mean that they’re not fun. Obviously, we know this but sometimes our eyes judge before our hearts have time to know.

Mary Poppins Returns has a song titled “A Cover is not the Book.” (If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I suggest you stop reading this blog and immediately go see it. It’s perfection!)

The chorus sums up what I’ve been saying so nicely.

“A cover is not the book

So open it up and take a look

'Cause under the cover one discovers

That the king may be a crook

Chapter titles are like signs

And if you read between the lines

You'll find your first impression was mistook

For a cover is nice

But a cover is not the book.”