Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Message Sent...Message Received

A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life – Oscar Wilde.

Given the nature of Oscar Wilde, we naturally assume he was joking. I don’t think he was. Wilde, quite the dandy, actually designed his wife’s clothes and lectured on aesthetics. He knew the power of clothing.

Our wardrobe selection reveals a tremendous amount about us. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Yes, what’s on the inside really matters most, but too often people become turned off by what’s on the outside. Many of them won’t spend time in getting to know what lies beneath.

Sometimes, it takes just a bit of fine-tuning to send a powerful and positive message about ourselves:

Color – Bright hues will modernize the old standby classics. First Lady Michelle Obama does this quite well.

Age – certain fabrics and cuts fast-forward the clock (brocades and long, boxy-cuts are the greatest offenders).

Jackie or Tacky? – The former first lady easily got away with form-fitting fashion. Her secret? She wore clothes with discretion – nothing flashy or revealing. Her clothes fit, but were not skin-tight.

Winner or Sinner? -Outlandish fashions with designer labels in full view steal our style. Set yourself apart from the herd by keeping your clothing and accessories understated.

Hair-do or don’t? Cut and color are vital. A great-looking hairstyle is well worth the money, as is investing in quality makeup. Tweak both hair and makeup each season, but avoid the trends. If you know you can’t pull of a shimmery look (I certainly can’t, thanks to fine lines and enlarged pores) then don’t even try it.

Silhouette or Side-of-the-Barn? No matter your body type, it’s important that clothes fit properly. Anything loose and baggy with give us a portly appearance; anything skin-tight will do the same (especially if we’re a little on the thick side). If you’re clothing gives you a rectangular appearance, then it’s time for a change.

One final note: the ‘errand wear’ many of us sport these days also sends a message, and it’s not a positive one. The croc-sporting, baggy t-shirt, no-makeup look doesn’t do anyone any favors. We can be casual and chic at the same time.

It takes only three seconds for us to form an opinion about someone. Obviously, we won’t get to know someone in three seconds, so what’s the moral here? As humans, our initial impressions are based on the visual. We can reveal so much about ourselves through our fashion choices. Think about that the next time you reach for those crocs.

Beth Newman
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

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