It’s a fact: you are judged by what you wear. The first time you meet someone, they are going to take a general assessment of you and form an idea of your character before you even utter a single word. I’m not saying I agree with it, but it’s true because that is just a part of our nature as humans.
Which is why it is so important to consider what your clothes are saying about you. “Sure, Erin, that’s important for interviews, presentations, first dates, meeting the parents and other big events, but I don’t need to think about what my clothes say every day,” you’re thinking.
Well, consider this: Who do you want to be? What do you want to be doing in 5/10/20 years? Who are you now? How do you want others to think of you? What personality traits and characteristics do you want others to associate with you?
Are these not questions you have in the back of your mind every day? Please don’t tell me that you don’t wonder (or worry) about what your boss/significant other/friend/new acquaintance think about you. If you’re not consistently thinking about that, especially in your 20s-30s, then I’m pretty sure you’re in a rut, and I can’t help with that.* And for those of you who are, why wouldn’t you want to be improving and making a good impression every day with what you wear as well as your work?
So, back to those characteristics and attributes. I have an exercise for you: make a list of five words that best describe you (see the examples below). Then put on your favorite outfit and ask a friend or family member to describe you in five words. Change outfits and do it again. Try it with different people and see what they say. Did they give you the words you were hoping for?
To go a step further, assess every piece of clothing in your closet. Tell your best friend to come over (get wine) and make a list of five words describing each piece of clothing. Put the clothes with bad qualities in one pile and get rid of it. Put the clothes with good qualities in another pile and take a good look at them. Are these clothes more formal, business appropriate, casual? Do they have a certain cut or fit a similar way? Are they in the same color family? What kind of fabric are they – soft, textured, flowy, frayed, etc? And finally, do you feel as though they suit you and the qualities you want to portray?
Personality Traits and Characteristics (not by any means a complete list):
Responsible, fun, modern, constructive, tailored, intellectual, comfortable, thoughtful, active, eclectic, smart, current, stylish, bohemian, creative, exotic, approachable, dependable, composed, reliable, innovative, effortless, respectable, elegant, powerful, cultured, pretty, graceful, whimsical, practical, vibrant, natural, unexpected, relaxed, fresh, understated, edgy, down-to-earth, mysterious, optimistic, intriguing, cosmopolitan, polished, feminine, dynamic, sexy, sophisticated, dramatic, exciting, successful, professional, friendly.
Tell me your five words in the comments.
*Try readingThe Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter – And How to Make the Most of them Now by Meg Jay, and come talk to me later.