Yes, it’s true – how you present at work dictates how you are perceived; it is the ultimate in nonverbal communication and every woman wants to say ‘success’. So says Donna Karan who, for so many years has designed for the ‘career’ woman. She is the genius who coaxed so many women out of their 1980’s career clothes into elegant easy pieces for the office. Donna Karan was the lady who invented the concept of the capsule wardrobe and in so doing solved the problem of women thinking that to compete with a man they needed to dress like one!
When it comes to building self-esteem and confidence, your outer appearance is a major factor in how you feel about yourself and how others perceive you. Looks may not be everything, but when it comes to the kind of impression we have about ourselves, minute details like clothing are a key part of our self-image. Whether you wear expensive designer clothing every day or are a thrifty shopper who seeks out the latest trends in her price range, you are defined by how you dress, and the way you view yourself is also determined by your clothing.
A woman’s style is a personal statement that often illustrates how she feels about life and society and the role she plays within her community and work environment. However, it can also be an indication of her level of confidence and self-worth. According to certain studies, there is a strong link between the way in which people feel and their styles of dress.
The handshake is the most important professional greeting in business today. It is something most of us do often, particularly in business. We shake hands. We shake hands with long-time friend, old acquaintances and with new clients and colleagues.
The handshake is a part of the first impression we make. Together with the first impression we make with our appearance, body language and grooming, it is the handshake that is the first point of physical contact.
Clothes labels. The bane of my life. We are made to believe that if we are not a size 10 or smaller, we are overweight. Unfortunately, magazines and the media in general has set up normal, real sized women for failure and disgust by making us feel badly about our body image. In reality, can we as ‘normal’ grown women really expect to wear the same size as those ‘stick insects’ called models, beautiful and all as many of them are. These are not ‘real’ women. They are simply ‘bodies’ hired by the fashion industry to try and convince us to buy their products. This is not a healthy image. It is not a real image. In reality, the average sized woman is 14, probably closer to a size 16. And, generally, she is not 5’11”! My advice to clients is to use labels as a guide only. However, I frequently when personal shopping with cients how stressful she finds it if she has to opt for a size bigger than normal. Not all size 12’s fit the same – sometimes they fit like a 10 (or even an 8) and sometimes they fit like a 14 or more. (higher end fashion is cut more generously). I was shocked a few months ago when shopping with the teenage daughter of a client. She was roughly what I would consider a regular size 12. However, in a number of high-street stores, all of the clothes for her size were labelled as extra large. What kind of message is this sending out to young teenage girls? The secret is to buy clothes that fit properly. There is nothing as bad as someone ‘poured’ into dress which is too tight. It has the effect of making the wearer look bigger. Forget about the label. If you are healthy and well, what does it matter as long as you look and feel great. Forget about the body issues. Embrace your shape and dress for the size you are today. The secret is to focus on the positives and downplay the negatives – dress for your body shape, and you won’t believe how fantastic you will look. In our style consultations, we focus on showing clients what suits their shape, and how to make the best of the best features. Clients find this so positive and empowering. Liberating too when they really accept that they cannot be a slave to labels. They are real. They are