Thursday, March 1, 2012

The essence of dress-sense

I attended a First Impressions session for some young ladies getting into the work force where a lot of good things were said. When the volunteer presenter, who is a Style/Image consultant, said: "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have" it stuck with me. I don't know who the author of this quote is (checked the internet) so I'd rather dwell on how this should guide our quest to dress for success. 
Brian Tracy put it well - “Dress for success. Image is very important. People judge you by the way you look on the outside.” Put in a more advisory frame, Bishop David Oyedepo said: "Dress the way you want to be addressed." Now that nails it.
I don't know about you but I've noticed that some people have taken  and stretched the term "business casual" to mean "casual"  - in some situations the dressing is outright lousy. To be taken seriously, you need to dress "seriously." Now I'm not saying you should be picture-perfect or so buttoned up that it's hard to breathe - you're not a mannequin. I'm just saying that you should dress to impress - positively. We all have only ONE opportunity to make a first impression - that's another part of life that does not have a "rewind" or "replay" button so to speak. One more thing about first impressions is that they last a long time.
There are tips everywhere - the internet and elsewhere - about "dressing for success", "power dressing" and other such concepts.  Another thing I heard at the session was to avoid buying so much that you have a closet (or wardrobe) full of clothes and have nothing to wear. We need to demonstrate dress-sense in the way we shop and combine our clothes. Much as I like suits, my personality is more versatile so I like to mix and match. If I had my way, I'd have jackets that I can wear with many other bottoms/dresses but there is a place for complete suits too. 
Over time, I've learned that dress-sense comes from watching and learning from others while making sure that you don't lose who you are in that process. Dressing for success or power dressing is also empowering in its own right. Looking good is good - when I look good, I feel good - confident and competent - it's almost like walking on clouds. With all we've shared here, I'm sure most of us do not need to go shopping; we can demonstrate our dress-sense with (all) what we already have - except it's all wrong. Now that's a different story...
Take Epictetus' advice:
"Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly."

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