[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Listen to the podcast interview with e-Biz Radio to find out how you can dress to attract the right people and the right opportunities….
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Your clothes are one of the most powerful ways you have of building your self-esteem and self-awareness and expressing who you are. You can feel more confident, professional, dynamic, creative, romantic or approachable – or anything else you like – by the colours, accessories and styles you choose to wear.
To use your clothes consciously in this way, take a little time before you get dressed to do three ‘Check-Ins’ as these will set the tone of your day.
Check in with yourself
When you first wake up, take a moment or two to focus on how you’re feeling. Do you feel excited or anxious, vulnerable or happy, unsettled or peaceful? Awareness of your inner state will allow you to choose clothes which will give you support, encouragement and confidence.
Check in with the day ahead
Next, think about what your day holds and what it will require of you. Depending on whether you have important meetings or an easy fun day you can dress to manage and enjoy every situation. The combination of how you’re feeling and what your day requires of you will help you choose the clothes you need to look and feel your best.
Check in with your True Self Style Words©
Your True Self Style Words© (see Reclaiming Beauty – Look like your True Self, Dressing for Self-Expression p. 45-46) encapsulate your individual essence and assist you to dress authentically, naturally and comfortably. Remind yourself of them and then combine how you’re feeling with what you’ll be doing during the day – and then dress so that you look and feel your best.
In this way your clothes become a means to an end and not just an end in themselves. They become purposeful in that they allow you to get on with the business of living your life and making your unique contribution.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Catherine, a client of mine, is the capable mother of three young boys. She’s tall, slim and beautiful with pale skin, pale hair and pale light blue eyes and, when I first met her, she wore mostly navy blue and other dark colours. These colours reflected up onto her face, making her look tired and drained so people were always asking her if she was stressed or overwhelmed by her children!
After we worked together, she started wearing clear bright pastels such as aqua green, sky blue, strawberry pink, mango orange and lilac which brought so much colour and life to her face to life that others assumed she’d just had a holiday or was newly in love!
It can take confidence to wear colour, but wearing colour gives you confidence and this influences how you feel about yourself. Bolder, brighter colours can make you feel ‘bolder’ and ‘brighter’ while softer, gentler colours can make you feel more ‘soft’ and ‘gentle’. Other people respond to colour on a subtle, instinctive level, so when you’re wearing colours that express who you are and how you’re feeling, others are attracted to your true essence.
The concept of a ‘colour chart’ is quite a limited one in that the incredible range of human skin, hair and eye colours in their unique combinations make any separation into ‘colour categories’ an incomplete exercise. Traditional colour charts are based on skin tone but don’t take into consideration your hair or eye colour – or even the sort of person you are. For example, a pale skin combined with dark eyes and dark hair can wear brighter, deeper colours than someone like Catherine who has pale skin, pale hair and light eyes.
Colour charts can be helpful, though, as an inspiration, a suggestion and as a starting-point from which you develop your own individual palette of colours. There is no set formula which can be applied to the wide range of human beings, so you’ll always have to play around and experiment a little bit to find your own colours. Try not to be too controlled in following any prescriptive colour chart, but rather use it as a helpful guideline. I provide Colour Palettes in my book (Reclaiming Beauty – Look Like Your True Self – pages 129 – 132) because they act as inspiration and encouragement to try some new colours and to help get you started as you move beyond the safety of black, black and more black!
The ‘right’ colours for you
The ‘right’ colours for you are those that reflect your inner self, and which make you look and feel great. The easiest way to find the colours which suit you best is to hold the garment under your chin in a good, natural light and then to evaluate objectively what its colour does to your skin tone, eyes and hair. Look and see which colours make you look happier and healthier and take note which colours bring spontaneous compliments from others. It’s good for you to develop your own instincts and become an expert on yourself.
Colour is a product of light in all its reflections and manifestations. Every colour has its own vibration and ‘feeling’ and can therefore influence your moods. You can tune into this and use colours to lift your spirits, give you courage or calm you down. On a day where you may be feeling a little fragile or quiet and wanting to ‘stay under the radar’, neutral or pastel colours will help you remain in the background. But if you have an important meeting and want to assert your authority, bolder colours will give you the head start that you need (hence the predominance of black in the corporate world!).
Take a moment before you get dressed in the morning to assess how you’re feeling, your requirements of the day and your True Self Style Words (Women’s Choice, March) then choose colours that will resonate to these. Let the colours you wear support you rather than overshadow you.
Experiment and have fun while you learn, for yourself, which colours make you look and feel most alive and authentic and which will allow your unique beauty to shine.
Reflect on the following questions:
- Do I avoid wearing certain colours? And if so, why?
- What would I need to change in order to wear more colours?
It’s really true that first impressions count! Imagine someone seeing you for the first time without ever talking to you or getting to know you. They form their opinion of you based purely on your outer appearance, which is all they have to go on. No matter how superficial and unfair it seems, this system is operating all the time whether you’re aware of it or not, so it makes sense to use it consciously for your own benefit.
Your clothes are the most powerful form of non-verbal communication you have, so the more you understand this, the more wisely you can use it. Dressing to communicate who you are isn’t manipulation but about making it easier for others to see you and to hear what you have to say.
When you know yourself and then translate this inner awareness into an outer personal style that’s authentic for you, you are more likely to attract the right people and the right opportunities. For example, I worked with Kate who was an accomplished partner in a top-class legal firm. She had a fabulous car, a stylish home, a buzzing social life and appeared to have everything she needed but, in her mid-30s, Kate was longing to get married and have children. However, Kate’s clothes hadn’t yet caught up with this new part of her so she was still dressing in a very corporate way which worked well in her competitive profession, but it didn’t express the softer, gentle side of her which was ready to come out. If Kate wanted to be seen differently and to attract an appropriate partner, she needed to change how she dressed to give the right message.
Dressing yourself on the outside is an inside job. If you want to be more confident, then dress in ‘confident’ colours and styles. Others then assume you’re confident so they treat you as a confident person, which then reinforces the confidence in you. With Kate, I worked with her wardrobe to create a more gentle and approachable ‘look’ – but the starting point for her was, as it always is with my work, the True Self Style Words© exercise.
Knowing your own True Self Style Words© is the evolution of Image Consulting and the basis of becoming an expert on yourself. The better you know yourself, the better you’re able to clear out your wardrobe and shop for new clothes – it even informs your choices in friends, relationships, exercise style and how you to decorate your home.
Take some time to consider which words you’d choose to describe yourself. What do you know about your true self that you’d like to express in your personal style? Look for about 5 – 10 True Self Style Words© to give you a clearly defined focus. Try to choose words that you know are the real ‘you’, but also add words that express parts of you that may have been dormant for a while and which you’re now ready to express. If, for example, you want to feel more Creative, make this one of your TSSW© and then add ‘creative’ touches in your handbag, accessories or the combination of clothes and colours you wear.
A comprehensive list of True Self Style Words© is provided in my book Reclaiming Beauty – Look Like Your True Self to help you if you get stuck. It also explains this concept in much more detail. (Order from my website www.livingonpurpose.co.za or from me at 082 551 4985.)
Some questions to consider and reflect upon:
- How do I think I appear to others? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
- Am I showing who I really am? And, more importantly, do I know enough about myself to be able to show this in my personal style of dressing? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Self-reflection is always good because it allows you to assess yourself and your life so you can make any necessary changes. It can also pay great dividends – as Kate will tell you – she is now married with the babies she longed for so much!
The ‘Look, feel and be beautiful’ formula from my Signature Range will help you to remember and reclaim your own beauty.
Order from The Remedy Shoppe – http://theremedyshoppe.co.za/
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- Do you have a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear?
- Do you have any clothes in your wardrobe with the price tags still on them?
- Do you have clothes that you never wear but can’t get rid of because they cost you a fortune and you don’t want to waste money?
[/dt_vc_list][vc_column_text]If you have an unlimited amount of money to spend on clothes or loads of time in the
morning to take three things off each hanger to get to what’s underneath or to go through piles of jerseys to find something you like, then you don’t need to
worry about the Cost per Wear principle!
But if you feel that you have lots of clothes which you never wear because they aren’t quite right for you or if you’re concerned about how much money you waste on clothes that remain in their packets at the bottom of your wardrobe, then understanding and applying the Cost per Wear principle will be a big help to you.[/vc_column_text][dt_quote type=”pullquote” font_size=”h4″ background=”fancy”]It’s a practical solution so you get good wear out of your clothes and manage your budget better[/dt_quote][vc_column_text]This is how it works: For example, you buy a jacket for a function which costs you R500. But, when you get it home, you decide that you don’t like it so you don’t wear it to the function – or ever again, because you just don’t feel ‘right’ in it. Also because you can’t find the receipt and don’t find the time to return it, this jacket stays in your wardrobe as an expensive mistake and a complete waste of R500.
But if you do wear the jacket to the function, but never again because you don’t feel happy in it, then the Cost per Wear for that item is R500. If, however, this jacket really suits you and your lifestyle and you love it so much that you wear it regularly, for a few years, then the Cost per Wear for it goes down to a few Rands per wear.
This is what you want from your clothes – that they’re perfect for you and serve you well by making you feel confident and happy, as well as earning their keep by giving you your money’s worth. You’ll always have a few items in your wardrobe for particular occasions which you don’t wear that often, but the bulk of your wardrobe should be items that you wear regularly because they’re perfect for you and your lifestyle – and which mix and match well with the rest of your clothes. (See April article)
Ideally, all your clothes should work for you in this way so that you have fewer clothes, but that you wear them all and love them all. Having a wardrobe stuffed full of clothes, most of which you never wear, is false security – and a waste of money. There’s something quite liberating about having one item on each hanger and for air to flow around your clothes!
This saves on ironing too as clothes that are crushed together get crumpled much more easily.
Your clothes should be a means to an end and not an end in themselves. Be aware that no amount of clothes, shoes or handbags will ever be able to satisfy you in the long-term when there are deeper issues which may be concerning you. An emptiness, sadness or frustration inside you can never be filled by yet another pair of shoes or another handbag. Rather, do whatever you can to address what’s really upsetting you and then, from a standpoint of confidence and self-awareness, gather a wardrobe of clothes that expresses who you truly are and which works well for you.[/vc_column_text][dt_quote type=”pullquote” font_size=”big” background=”plain”]When you’re using your clothes in this way it makes it a great deal easier to let them go when they’ve outlived their usefulness. This is a good lesson to learn in other areas of life too, so that you don’t have regrets at the end of a relationship which you never fully put your heart into or when the lovely scented candle you got as a gift wilts and fades from lack of use! Use your clothes and your life to the fullest![/dt_quote][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”27274″ css_animation=”fadeInUp” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”medium”][vc_single_image image=”27275″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”medium”][vc_single_image image=”27276″ css_animation=”fadeInUp” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_border” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”medium”][bsf-info-box icon_type=”selector” icon=”Defaults-download-alt” img_width=”48″ icon_size=”25″ icon_style=”circle” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ title=”Download the Original Article” read_more=”title” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Flivingonpurpose.co.za%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2015%2F03%2FThe-Cost-Per-Wear-Principle-Explained.pdf||target:%20_blank” read_text=”Read More” hover_effect=”style_2″ pos=”default” icon_color_bg=”#1ba4e5″ icon_animation=”fadeInUp” icon_color=”#ffffff”][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Growing up, Claire was told that she had to work extra hard with her studies because she wasn’t ‘as pretty’ as her sister. Thandi had bad acne and was teased by the children at her school. Luisa’s brother said she was ‘fat and ugly’ and no-one would ever want to go out with her.
Almost no-one comes out of adolescence unscathed and you probably have an equivalent story with painful memories that still affect you to this day. But, worse than the hurtful things that may have happened to you, is that you, yourself, keep the pattern going by continuing to criticise yourself in much the same way. If you’ve ever looked at yourself with dislike or remarked on your ‘huge thighs’, ‘flabby arms, ‘flat chest’, ‘blotchy/saggy skin’ or pronounced any part of your body to be ‘hideous’, you’re treating yourself just as badly as you ever were in the past. Isn’t it amazing that we say these horrible things about ourselves when we would never consider saying them to anyone else?
Saying these cruel things about yourself is a learned habit and, as such, can be unlearned. Your mind and body resonate to every word you say and the more you criticise yourself, the more you entrench and reinforce your lack of self-esteem. Putting yourself down can be a form of self-protection but you can learn to re-programme yourself so that you’re respectful and kind to yourself. Making the effort to change what you think, believe and say about yourself will have a deep and long-lasting impact on your life.
At the root of much of this self-criticism is the current definition of conventional beauty which is so narrow and limited that most women feel excluded. Because of the rise of the ‘celebrity culture’, many of us have been brainwashed to believe that if we don’t look like the airbrushed models we see in the media or the carefully groomed stars on the red carpet, we aren’t beautiful – or even acceptable. If you’ve ever compared yourself to someone famous – and felt yourself lacking – you’re putting your focus in the wrong place.
Reclaiming beauty is about taking beauty back from the very narrowly defined standard of beauty that exists in the media and expanding it to include every single one of us. Beauty is a universal attribute that’s meant to include everyone – not just the very slim and the very young – and the only way to change things is to change how we see ourselves.
The best way I know to transform this outdated and limiting pattern is to expand your idea of beauty so that you see it everywhere – and then to compliment it, if possible. It’s easy to see conventional beauty, but it takes a new attitude and a wider vision to see all the exquisite varieties and expressions of beauty in the world. Actively and consciously look beyond the obvious for the different, the unusual, the rare and the extra-ordinary. Try to see beauty where you haven’t been used to seeing it before.
Look for a perfectly round or an extra-wide face, a distinctive nose, narrow tapered fingers or large artistic hands, gorgeous almond Oriental eyes, blue-black skin or milk-white skin and see their beauty. Acknowledge it and appreciate the richness of the human tapestry. The unlimited variety of human looks, shapes and colours is part of the perfection and order of creation and should be a cause for celebration rather than discrimination.
Remember that you are a unique soul with a particular purpose and how you look is perfect for your life and who you’re meant to become, so it’s pointless to wish that you looked like anyone else because they look as they do to fulfill their own particular purpose. If you spend your time trying to look like anyone else, you may miss out on developing your own unique beauty and style. It’s fun to be inspired by ideas from others, but, ultimately, your greatest satisfaction comes from finding what works best for you. This is how you build a personal style that’s authentic, comfortable – and right for you.
Some questions to consider and reflect upon:
- What critical things were said about me and to me that I still believe?
- What horrible things do I still believe and say about myself? Are they really true?
- What can I do to reclaim my own beauty?
The ‘Look, feel and be beautiful’ formula from my Signature Range will help you to remember and reclaim your own beauty.
Have a look at my full range of specially designed formulas
Order from The Remedy Shoppe – http://theremedyshoppe.co.za/
For some time I worked as a stewardess for an airline and, as there was no weight limit for crew bags, I developed some very undisciplined packing habits over the years. While I wasn’t like some crew members who routinely took their bicycles or sewing machines on long trips, I still sometimes feel restricted by having a finite luggage limit! The Core Wardrobe Plan is the perfect solution for easier packing, a clearer wardrobe – and a simpler life.
The Core Wardrobe Plan works for summer or winter wardrobes, for all lifestyles and budgets and to express your True Self Style Words© (see YOUR TRUE SELF STYLE WORDS© – BECOMING AN EXPERT ON
YOURSELF). It streamlines your wardrobe and ensures that all items of clothing mix and match. It consists of 20 items of clothing (Basic Pieces in Classic Colours) which, if you choose them correctly and accessorise well, will give you almost endless combinations of outfits, while still managing your budget(See ACCESSORIES – MAKING YOUR LOOK PERSONAL AND UNIQUE and BUDGETING FOR CLOTHES – HOW TO MANAGE YOUR FINANCIAL RESOURCES). Once you understand and apply this plan, you’ll never again have a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear!
The Basic Pieces are jackets, trousers and tops in Classic Colours such as black, chocolate brown, camel, grey, taupe, white and cream. Start by choosing 2 – 4 Classic Colours that suit you and which combine well with one another. Try black, charcoal, grey and white or chocolate brown, camel, khaki and cream.
Look through your wardrobe and assemble Basic Pieces (2-5 jackets and/or jerseys/cardigans and 5 skirts and/or pairs of trousers) in the Classic Colours you’ve chosen. What you don’t have will go on your shopping list. (Conscious Shopping will be dealt with in a later article).
You can always add extra pieces later, as money allows, but these relatively few items are more than enough to keep you looking and feeling great. As your knowledge grows, you’ll buy more wisely in the future until you have a wardrobe of timeless clothes which are perfect for you and your lifestyle.
You’ll get much more wear out of Classic Colours as these mix and match better than colours and patterned items. A chocolate brown or taupe jacket or skirt will match with turquoise, lime green, yellow, lilac, red, black, purple, aqua, rust or pink while a red or brightly patterned jacket can be worn in fewer ways.
It’s better to invest more money in what you wear on your top half rather than on your bottom half. Let your trousers and skirts form the basis of your outfit and let your jackets and tops be the real interest. If you have lots of money you can buy skirts and trousers in fuchsia pink or wild patterns, but you won’t get as much mileage out of them.
Add about 10 shirts and/or tops in your Classic Colours and in colours and patterns to add interest, but make sure that the patterns match with the Classic Colours. For example, if grey is one of your Classic Colours, choose a blouse in a pattern of grey, white and black. This blouse can then be worn with your grey, black or white trousers as well as with your jeans and you can personalise these basic outfits by adding red pumps or a cool blue pashmina, silver sandals and lots of silver bracelets, a pale green handbag and a hint of green in your earrings or a lilac cardigan over your shoulders – use your creativity!
The idea is that you have fewer clothes but you wear them all. A wardrobe stuffed with clothes which you never wear is a waste of time and money because, if you never wear them, you may as well not have them. With the Core Wardrobe Plan, you have select items which you mix and match and then personalise with scarves, bags, shoes and jewellery so that you’re expressing your True Self Style Words© in your own personal individual style.
I include a chart for the Core Wardrobe Plan in my book Reclaiming Beauty – Look Like Your True Self as well as examples of what this looks like in practice. You can order from my website www.livingonpurpose.co.za or from www.loot.co.za.
Take some time to organise your own Core Wardobe Plan and you’ll really notice a difference in your life. And you’ll also probably find that it’s no longer necessary to take a Venter trailer away for a weekend to fit in all those extra pairs of shoes!
Over the course of this past year, we’ve covered many aspects of developing individual personal style and learning to become experts on ourselves. Playing with and learning about clothes, style, accessories and colour are fun and helpful but they also have significant and far-reaching effects, beyond the deceptively simple pleasure of it all.
To understand why this is so, it can be helpful to think of humanity as a bird with two wings, one being women and the other men. In order for this bird to fly properly and to achieve the heights of its potential, both wings need to be equally strong. However, for many reasons including lack of education and a lack of opportunity, the female wing of the bird has not yet been able to become as strong as the male wing of the bird of humanity. Although we see many positive changes in the world, there’s still quite a way to go to for full equality to be achieved. So, while it may seem superficial to focus on clothes and personal style, this has a deeper significance and a bearing on the equality of women and men.
Think about the days when you’re happy with your hair and your clothes and when you know you look good in a way that feels authentic, natural and comfortable to you. Don’t you find that you also then feel good on those days? Do you notice how you automatically get a spring in your step and how you feel more confident, happier and more empowered, as if you can take on the world?
There is significance in this because, when women feel more confident and empowered, they are much more likely to speak up and to make themselves heard. They are also more likely to contribute their insights, wisdom and experience in their homes and with their families, in the workplace, in their communities and in society at large. They are therefore more likely to take their rightful place in all spheres of human endeavor – and this then strengthens the female wing of the bird. And when the bird of humanity is able to fly, everyone benefits. Men, women and children are taken higher and can profit from full equality.
Another advantage of the equality of women and men is that we have more chance of peace when women participate fully in the affairs of the world. When women enter confidently and capably into the affairs of the world, war will cease because woman will have the power to prevent it. At a time in the future when women are sharing completely in the consultation and decision-making processes of their societies and countries, there will be peace as they will not allow the children that they have so patiently and lovingly raised to be sent to fight and be killed in wars.
So, seen in this light, clothes aren’t just ‘clothes’. They are much more in that they are a way for you to get to know and understand yourself better, to strengthen yourself and to empower yourself so you can expand and deepen your life. They can help you to have more confidence, to express your true self and to change your life in meaningful ways. Starting a new job or a new business or a new relationship or a course of study are all that much easier when you feel good about yourself.
Developing your individual style is therefore more than a personal makeover – ideally, it’s about real transformation. Think about this when you’re putting together an outfit that’s comfortable enough for you to play unencumbered with your children or to stand with confidence as you deliver your presentation at work or to move and to express yourself or when you run freely with pure joy in clothes that allow you to do so. Every time the colours or accessories you wear make you feel more alive or empowered and carry you through your day, know that you’re making a difference to the world, one perfect, comfortable and real outfit at a time!