Would you believe that something as simple as how you dress could affect your attitude and self-confidence? The truth is: how people dress is related in some way to how they feel. They feel first and dress later.
Just think of a time when you didn't feel well, did you want to pull out all the stops and dress smart? Not likely. You probably pulled on whatever was closest to you and dressed the way you felt - not so well.
If we change the way we dress, the way we feel will change. When we are dressed well and look good we automatically feel better. When we feel good we are more likely to feel good inside, have more energy and treat others better.
You can boost your attitude, self-confidence, and feel good, about what you're wearing if you:
- Know the occasion
- Know your audience
- Know your personal style
- Know the effects of colour.
Know the Occasion
While you are standing in front of your closet give some consideration to the occasion. What you wear will depend on the event. Whether you are going to a business meeting, shopping, to church, or a gala event. What you wear should be tailored to the occasion.
A business setting can be traditional [banking, law etc.,] or softly tailored [advertising, public relations etc.,]. The dress code for traditional business is structured: tailored clothes with straight lines and firm fabrics [suits]. For softy tailored business settings, use softer lines, structured blazers and jackets, matched or unmatched tailored pants
Social occasions can include anything from a lunch with a friend to a formal event. To feel comfortable at an informal social event opt for unmatched suits, denim skirts, khaki pants and turtlenecks. Black tie means formal and white tie means ultra formal. At a black tie event men wear tuxedos and women wear cocktail or long dresses.
Know Your Audience
Your audience is the people with whom you come in contact. They can be your clients, boss and colleagues [in business] or your peers [social situations]. Dress to fit the image of a person in your role. We don't expect to see bankers dressed in jeans and a T-shirt; farmers dressed in suits; clean mechanics; or, cleaners wearing delicate fabrics. When you are dressed out of your role your competence comes into question.
When you dress to suit your role you feel more confident. For example, if you work in an environment where you create artistic products your audience will expect you to dress a little artistically. If you are dressed conservatively not only will you feel uncomfortable, your audience will feel something is astray.
People want to interact with people who they feel are comfortable, or who are like them. This means knowing what is expected in particular roles and dressing to fit that role.
Know Your Personal Style
Your personal style is expressed in everything you do. When it comes to fashion your style is evident in the patterns and texture of fabrics you like to wear as well as your accent pieces such as jewellery, handbags and shoes. When you are aware of your style and feel comfortable with it, you can express yourself with confidence.
Take a moment to decide which one of the four style preferences suits you best - classic, romantic, sporty or dramatic?
- The classic style has an elegant traditional look and wears timeless garments
- The romantic style has a soft feminine look and prefers to wear dresses and skirts rather than pants
- The sporty style likes casual comfortable clothes and prefers natural fabrics
- The dramatic style is sophisticated, turns heads and likes to wear the latest trends.
You may be thinking, what if my personal style is sporty and I am attending a gala event, or my style is dramatic and I am attending a ball game? How can I feel confident, express my style and still fit the occasion? All occasions will not fit our personal style, but if we know our style well enough we can make the adjustment. The sporty style would feel comfortable at a gala event wearing long, flowing pants, and simple top and low [but elegant] shoes. The dramatic style can feel comfortable at a ball game wearing a leather jacket, a bold print top and angular jewellery.
Colour is the magic that brings interest to our world. We are instinctively drawn to certain colours and respond to them with feeling. When used in garments and laid against our skin they produce either positive or negative results. The right colours will make your eyes sparkle and your skin glow; while the wrong colours will make you look tired and your skin drab. This is why it is important to know the colours that look best on you. You can do this yourself by sitting in front of a mirror, placing different colours next to your face and noticing which colours make your skin come alive and which ones wash it out.
Colours are divided into two categories - warm and cool. When you discover which colours look best on you and wear them consistently you will notice that you look better, feel better and have more confidence.
Colours produce specific emotions and it affects how you feel and how others respond to you. For example, blue is a soothing, calming colour and red is an exciting, energetic, attention-grabbing colour. Knowing the affects of these colours which would you wear in a potentially argumentative situation?
Knowing the emotional effect of colours and their symbolic links allows us to also choose colours that give us the desired effects.
When you dress with confidence you know you have made the best choice and you feel comfortable in any situation. It means feeling attractive and completely you.
Our confidence is enhanced when we know that we are dressed appropriately for the situation and our style. In other words, we are wearing colours that brighten us on the inside as well as outside to make us feel attractive and authentic.
Sheila Dicks is an image and wardrobe consultant. Her motto: help people reach their full potential and perk up their self-confidence with improved dress sense. She lives in Nova Scotia, Canada.
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