I just read the book CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES CHANGE YOUR LIFE because you can't go naked by George Brescia. This is a book on personal style. A skill that many fashion designers (including myself) lack. It’s a sad truth. Many fashion designers aren’t any better at dressing themselves than Joe Schmo in accounting.
I thought being a fashion designer made it ok to not dress well. Because my schoolmates, and after that, coworkers weren’t dressing well. My excuse was that I was just fitting in with the ‘fashion designer crowd.’ Enough is enough. I’m 31 tomorrow, and I’ve run out of excuses.
It’s an undeniable fact that attractive people are treated better in life. There are many factors that contribute to physical appearance. Some we can't easily change, like the color of our skin, or eyes. Maybe even hair if you’re not into chemical dyes. Facial features, like the shape of our nose, lips, eyes, ears. And there are some things we can change, like clothing. Take advantage of this. Why you ask? Because clothing covers an enormous amount of your body, and all it takes is some thought (and maybe a small budget) to improve. And, as George B says “because you can’t go naked.”
Do a test. Go outside in your sweats. A coffee run, whatever. The next day, do the exact same route in your best outfit, and see how people respond to you. Life is just easier when you look good. This goes for the inside and out. When you’re dressed well, you feel more confident, which shows through your energy, and people notice. I’ve definitely experienced this first-hand.
I've found, when people notice me, they tend to give me more room, a larger personal bubble if you will, while in public. Being a very small person, I often have people running me over on the sidewalk, or smacking me in the face with purses or hair whips. When I'm dressed better, fellow pedestrians actually take the time to go around me than over me, because they notice me. So I've convinced myself it's actually safer for me to dress better. I relate it to my 'fancy car theory.' When you're driving, and there's a Ferrari near you, your instinct is to probably give that car some space. Most people aren't going to tailgate or cut in front of a Ferrari. Nobody wants to hit something that's expensive or important. Those same instincts seem to apply in pedestrian traffic.
In a place like NYC, the biggest small-town island you've ever imagined, you can easily cross paths with 1,000 people in a single day. This can include fellow subway passengers, fellow pedestrians, coworkers, gym mates, and dinner dates. Some of them you’ll spend a few hours with. Some you’ll only have a passing glance on the street. But they all see you. And they’re all making judgements about your physical appearance.
As George B says, “Your self-presentation in the workplace can have serious ramifications on your influence, your salary, and ultimately on your success.”
One tactic that my boyfriend uses when he doesn’t feel fully prepared for client meetings, is he makes sure to dress at his absolute best. He always dresses great for client meetings, but he makes sure to kick it up a notch when he doesn’t feel as confident about his presentations. Fortunately, because my man is always impeccably dressed, "Chapter 7: A Fresh New Start For Him. A Mini Guide To Making Over Your Man," was very unnecessary for me.
My boyfriend’s tactic is parallel to George’s suggestion of making sure you dress well ESPECIALLY on the days when you don’t feel so hot. This can turn your mood around, and give you a good chance of having a surprisingly great day that just had a sluggish start. Don’t feed into those woke-up-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-bed insecurities by wearing your invisibility cloak of ill-fitting black on black. That’s a sure way to make sure your whole day feels just as bad as your morning did.
This is a concept to try not only in the workplace, but in other aspects of life as well. Don’t feel like socializing today but have a friend’s birthday dinner this evening? Heed your feelings, and go the opposite direction with your wardrobe.
In the introduction, George B says, “This is not a book about style or fashion. This is a book about learning to see. It’s a book about your relationship to the outside world. About bringing order and harmony to your external appearance, and thus to your inner life.” And I couldn’t have said it any better.
George poses many thought-provoking questions aimed at the reader.
Like What is the image you currently portray in your professional life?
And How do you feel about that image?
This is a book that is expected to be proceeded by action. So answer every question George asks you, and write down your answers in your notebook (which is the first purchase he asks you to make). Takes notes and study them. This is a learning experience, so treat it as nothing less. Pay attention because class is in session.
There are 3 key points I took away from this book:
There is no such thing as a non-statement piece. Everything we wear makes some kind of a statement.
Every morning ask “What does my outfit say?”
Every piece in your closet should be a perfect 10.
George takes a somewhat analytical approach to improving your wardrobe. Something that I, as an INTJ on the Myers-Briggs scale, really appreciate. If I’m going to do something, there has to be a good reason for it. Always. And 'because it looks cute,' doesn't cut it. He explains things logically and methodically, and always answers the ‘why’ questions stewing in the reader's head.
If you need just one reason to read this book, it would be; because it will make your life easier. We all could use a freakin' break. So don’t make life harder than it needs to be, and dress well. Changing your clothes will change your life.
Comment below and let me know one way you would love to improve your style.
Get the book, Kindle, or mobile version at Amazon. Or check with your local library to check out a copy.
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