The suit makes the monk

“Only superficial people do not judge by appearances.” – Oscar Wilde

What does this statement by the great artist, Oscar Wilde, actually mean? We grow up hearing that clothes don’t make the man, that appearances can be deceiving, yet the first impression counts. Wilde, a literary genius with a refined taste and a seeker of beauty, offers a sharp and astute viewpoint: only superficial people do not judge by appearances. But what does this aphorism truly signify?

For an artist like myself, this phrase holds absolute truth, supported by years of empirical observation of my own works and others’. Even in anthroposophic art therapy, the ‘appearance’ of a work reflects the essence of both the work and the individual. While creating, one dwells in the realm of truth and authenticity; hence, the final work becomes precisely what it should be. In art, essence and appearance often align. This is precisely why a personal growth journey through art proves incredibly effective for those choosing to evolve. Starting from an experience, those engaged in artistic endeavors discover what it means to be fully present as a unified individual. In artistic work, one is complete and true to oneself.

The horizon of ideas is witnessing the emergence of the concept of ‘salutogenesis,’ a new paradigm in medical research. Salutogenesis focuses on the causes of health rather than those of illness, as extensively explained in the article ‘Weleda Health Disease Salutogenesis’. Transposing this concept from the theoretical to the practical level, the idea of salutogenesis regards individuals as wholes, possessing healing capabilities and a profound, unique identity. The fundamental assumption is that individuals harbor within themselves the resources to confront obstacles, conflicts, and through this, discover themselves, grow, and heal. In the concept of salutogenesis lies an underlying coherence, an integrity of the individual.

This concept, brought into real-life scenarios, extends to everything—from a company’s brochure to a business card, and even to personal attire. And this is where Oscar Wilde’s aphorism comes into play: through appearances, we can grasp a lot about the person before us. Just by observing. This idea can serve as a tool to understand others and to build ourselves for effective self-branding. In such cases, considering that appearance is what we present, it becomes necessary for that image to align with who we are and to highlight our individuality.

We cannot escape having an appearance, so why not turn it into a strength, consciously anchoring it to our essence? A growth journey through art can be immensely useful in this regard. I sardonically hint that what pleases may not always align with who we truly are. In this perspective, ‘clothes do make the man’. How can one accentuate oneself? But that’s another post altogether…


Hi, I’m Manuela, urban potter and Italian artist who’s passionate about exploring the expressive potential of clay. With a love for Wabi Sabi aesthetics and the beauty of imperfection, I create bespoke ceramics, paintings, and fine art photography. My studio, nestled in the charming city of Milan, is a magical box where creativity runs wild and beauty is abundant. Whether you’re looking to bring a touch of magic into your everyday life, or simply to explore your creative side through art therapy I’m here to inspire and encourage you on your journey. I bring art into the world and celebrate the beauty in every moment. This blog is my Artistic Salad, filled with creativity, beauty, joie de vivre, passion and tools for creative minds.

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