Is the, “I have nothing to wear”, your common morning mantra? Something you say when you’re looking in your wardrobe and planning your outfit for a day at work.
Fashion, costume, style and getting our image right when we head out the door should be, fun, spontaneous and about creativity. Right? Well, here’s the thing. So many people (and women in particular) have hang-ups about clothes and shopping and don’t consider fashion, shopping and getting “dressed for the day” enjoyable at all.
Let’s consider a few different scenarios of where your mindset might be meeting resistance in regard to image:
- I am too fat. I’ll wait until I lose weight. I am too tall (or short) so nothing I buy ever fits me properly.
- I can’t afford to buy what I like.
- I have a wardrobe full of clothes but can’t manage to put anything together or find anything I really like.
- I hate walking into a shopping centre/department store/boutique as I get confused. I can’t find anything and the salesperson is either too pushy or can’t be found.
- I’ve tried online shopping but had to return everything because it didn’t fit properly.
Have you ever used one or more of these excuses to avoid looking and feeling your best? I know I have in the past, particularly the one about “money and affordability”. I grew up getting excited about a new box of hand-me-down clothes arriving from my cousins and feeling sad about not being able to have a new party dress because we couldn’t afford it. I still find it hard to go out and have a big “splurge” buying clothes or max out my credit card. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With wise wardrobe planning and shopping, you can still look great without over-extending your budget.
Most of these excuses we come up with are self-esteem issues. “Stuff” we’ve grown up with or acquired over the years. You may need to examine these excuses in more detail to figure out why you might feel this way and look at measures to address self- esteem issues.
Let’s knock a few of these issues on their head right now!
Money: If you don’t invest in yourself then who will? As I say in my workshops: the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) is well and truly over. Now GFC means, “Good For your Career”. With some planning and budgeting, you CAN put a stylish wardrobe together. We invest in learning new skills for our careers, paying our mortgages, going on holiday, kid's education and the like. Why not invest in yourself? After all, you are worth it. Even if you are starting out and don’t have a lot of money to spend at least invest in some items; one or two outfits to wear to meetings and networking events that make you look exquisitely YOU and exactly the way you want to appear. The amount you spend on clothes is up to you; however, decide on a portion of your earnings that you can set aside. Whether it is 5%, 10% or whatever – plan your wardrobe budget and only buy what works well and looks fabulous.
Clothes for work are “tools of the trade”. They are a personal “overhead cost”, but essential investment in dressing to stand out.
Physique: Don’t underestimate the value of a well-fitting outfit. No matter what size you are, you will probably own a few outfits that do fit well and look good. Shop for those brands as it is likely they will continue to provide styles that fit and work for you. If you can't find a perfect fit but you've found something that is close, have the garment altered to fit. With the trend today toward online shopping, often the fit of a garment is not as good as it could be. So be willing to go through a bit of trial and error to determine the brands that suit you best. Buy things that may be slightly bigger on you and have them altered so that they fit properly.
Retail therapy: Shopping can be fun and window shopping for ideas and inspiration can be entertaining. However, when it becomes a case of, “I’ve bought another black jacket to go with the four other black jackets I already have” it could be a problem for you. The solution is to avoid shopping on impulse, or when you feel bored or a bit down and you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up. Think it through and try to resist the urge. It’s a bit like having that extra piece of cake – you know you really want it but you also know it is not the best decision. Go back to the original plan. Does this garment really work with other items in my wardrobe? Do I really love it? If it is a one-off piece, will it be something I will be able to wear on another occasion?
Feeling overwhelmed: Sometimes it may seem all too hard to buy clothes and so you end up with nothing. This scenario is the exact opposite of retail therapy. It’s very frustrating because you spend hours at the shopping centre and come home empty handed. Or worse, you get there and don’t even bother; you just don’t have the confidence to pick out something and try it on. You’ve succumbed to that defeatist attitude of “nothing looks good on me.” Take a few deep breaths, set a goal in mind and take a shopping list with you. Perhaps your list will simply be one dress or shirt.
Start off small and aim to accomplish purchasing that one item that looks great. Take it home, try it on again and see how it works with other items in your wardrobe. A lot of stores will give you a refund if you change your mind. If you are really hesitant about shopping, make sure that you shop in those stores first so if the item just does not look right when you get home, you can always take it back. Next time, make it two items and slowly you will build on your shopping successes and establish a great wardrobe.
Invest in yourself by working with an image consultant who will help you with many of these issues. They are trained to assess your body shape and will discuss your personal brand and assist you to choose colours and styles that will flatter you. Yes, it is an outlay initially; however, it is definitely worth the investment if you want to take that next step.
There is nothing wrong with spoiling yourself and feeling uplifted from the powerful feeling of looking your best. As one of my clients said, “What your consultant did for me in the clothing area has paid BIG dividends in my life and is continuing to impress.”
Learn more about your "look" and personal brand in my free video series Your Nook, Look, Hook, 3 Steps to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand
Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is passionate about helping business executives and entrepreneurial professionals elevate their personal brand, image and professional presence. Sue’s suite of services delivered through workshops, consulting, coaching and keynote presentations provides a multi-faceted approach to gain high transformation for her clients.