The power of dressing

power dressing
A couple of months ago I watched a great TED talk by AmyCuddy on how poses can shape the way we think about ourselves. I kept coming back to this talk, as it touched something very important and very personal. It got me thinking that it’s not only how to you pose, but also how you dress. And if you can fake power by your body language, you can certainly use the same technique with clothes. 

My firm belief is that you can only wear what you feel comfortable in. It never works out to change a person’s look in an instant (just like TV show makeovers) and expect him to keep up with it. Most people come back to what they’ve been wearing before. It just doesn’t feel natural. So my job is not to change the look, but rather to bring out the best of the existing one. The client is happy, the job is done and I see the result I like. 

However, there is one issue – most people don’t come to me to change their clothes. They come to change their lives, whether intentionally or subconsciously. It may be just a slight shift or a major groundbreaker they are hoping for, but there is always that feeling of something new coming their way. 

Being a nerd  an analyst by nature, I decided to look at all instances, when my clients were specifically asking for wardrobe change as a first step towards a new life. What I was suggesting, didn’t always feel 100% natural to them, but we always tried to find a balance between comfort and message. There are two things I know for sure: 

  1. You will never feel good in something you don’t “own”
  2. Most people don’t understand the subconscious message they are sending to others

power dressingIn other words you need to bring your inner self and outer self to a common denominator, giving out the message we want. And in vast majority of cases it’s the message of success and attractiveness. Gathering all the data (see, I am a nerd after all), it bedazzled me – in fact, we CAN and SHOULD fake our outfit till we make it. In other words, you dress they way you aim for, not what you are. 

If you wish to get married, you dress like a great wife, not like a party girl (which is very attractive, but gives out a totally different message, attracting the different type of men). If you wish to be a vice-president, you aim to dress like one, not as a manager you are at the moment. Sounds strange and inappropriate, right? A man might think you are already married and your colleagues will eat you alive for being a pretentious prick. As illogical as it may sound, people actually judge everyone by the cover. If we suddenly change our look and show up at your parent’s house, they will be figuring you out the same way as any stranger. It’s just how our mind works. 

What about the comfort part? Well, there are different ways to make your outfit send the right message without shifting your core. If you prefer indie over classic suits and aim for a president, you might need to change a couple of things and incorporate details of your key style into the “message” outfit. However, such work should be carried out by a professional, as it not only involves a vast amount of fashion knowledge, but also takes a lot of time and effort to create the right wardrobe.  

My message at the end of the day: don’t be afraid to fake it till you become it.
And if you need help with it, feel free to drop me a line.