Your Clothes Speak!
“Much of the information we take on a daily basis is visual. In fact, 93% of our communication is non-verbal and based on what we see.”
What you wear matters. Your clothes speaks to how you feel about yourself and how other’s perceive you as well. Attending to your professional image does not mean you have to become fashion or trend obsessed, spend thousands of dollars, or lose hours in the mirror in each morning getting ready. However, you’ll want to spend some time learning how to create and leverage a wardrobe that will work to your advantage.
Much of the information we take on a daily basis is visual. In fact, 93% of our communication is non-verbal and based on what we see. Since it only takes a 1/10th of second to make an impression, you’ll want to ensure you’re communicating your intended message. You can use your wardrobe to visually reinforce your message. To communicate and affirm your skills, competence, intelligence, trust and maturity to those around you.
About now you may be thinking, “Really? Does what I wear really matter that much?”
There are multiple studies and research that demonstrate how your appearance can impact your income, whether or not you land the job or promotion, or even how your own confidence and self-worth. While I cannot emphasize enough the importance of your appearance, there are other aspect of your overall image that you must manage. Your attitude, how you show up, the strength of your communication skills (verbal and non-verbal), and your success in managing your digital footprint all matter in varying degrees.
If you want help up leveling your appearance or branded image be sure to secure the services of a trained and certified image consultant. Someone who’s trained to work with individuals on refining, revising, enhancing or transforming their appearance, behavior, communication, and digital image. It’s part of the work I do with my clients.
I have my own personal experience of learning with what the power of clothes can do for you. I had a low point in my life when I lost a sense myself, lost my confidence and lost who I was. I had recently become a new mom and while I was ecstatic about it by body became unrecognizable and I went through a divorce. Now all of a sudden I was a "single mother." Even though I was educated and spent years as a practicing lawyer I took on all of the negative connotations associated with being a "single mom."
Some of you can relate to me. I felt like a failure. What’s worse is that in the process of becoming a wife and mother, I forget about me. I realized I forgot how to show up, I no longer owned my power and significance...in sum I lost my mojo. That was in my late 30’s!
I succumbed to a dark place, a place where I felt like an impostor, unworthy, and definitely not confident. I was playing small, failing to live my passion and purpose. You see life has a way of pulling you inside out and flipping you upside down, and if you don't have a strong sense of who you are it may leave you defeated.
It took a massive car accident to wake me up. After multiple surgeries and six months in a wheel chair I took a sober look at my life. I looked at the poor example I was setting for my children, my dissatisfaction with my career, and how I was living life with a defeated mindset. As I healed and started walking again the first thing I did was CHANGE MY CLOTHES to CHANGE MY MINDSET which CHANGED MY LIFE.
What often gets overlooked on the path of reclamation is your clothing. It's dismissed as irrelevant, trivial and a frivolous by-product of the vain or self-involved. Sister, nothing could be further from the truth!
When I learned how to create a powerful wardrobe and leverage it for my success, not only did I start to feel better about myself, my life started to change. And even better? My career took off, too. When I upgraded my image, reclaimed my confidence, and implemented my business savvy I was able to build an award-winning jewelry business, coach executives, help women build impactful businesses, rack up TV and magazine appearances, finish my PhD, and launch my own six figure consulting practice.
Now in my 50's I feel and look better than ever!
If you want to get a head start and build a wardrobe that makes you giddy every morning when you get dress, that make heads turn when you walk in a room, and gives you the confidence to go after your dreams and achieve your goals, start by following these three important steps.
1. Learn to Leverage Your Style D.N.A™
I developed the concept of the Style D.N.A.™ to help my clients understand the importance of using what nature gave them as the foundation of building a successful palette. The Style D.N.A.™ consists of your Distinguishable Natural Attributes which includes your body harmony colors, your body shape, your voice (tone, pace, pitch), and your body movements. Each of these attributes will help you determine the right colors you should wear, the type and weight of fabric that’s best, pattern sizes, and the appropriate line and silhouette that best accents your body.
2. Understand Your Elemental Energy Story
Each of us have certain character traits that make us more amenable to a particular look or style. Whether creative and eclectic, sporty and casual, dramatic and alluring, traditional and practical, or polished and refined there’s a look, a style, a brand, and a style story that draws us in. Each of these style stories has an elemental energy that resonates with the one wearing it. Once you learn your story and are aligned to your elemental energy you’ll feel confident, capable, captivating, and in command.
3. Align Your Branded Image With Your Goals
As you’re planning and building your confident wardrobe you’ll want to make sure your clothes support who you now and where you’re going the future. Now that you’ve discovered the right color, pattern, fabric, and fit, it’s time to align your style with your goals, vision, and intentions. This is an important step because your image will become your brand. When you discover this you’ll make mindful clothing choices to create a balanced and harmonious wardrobe.
While this may seem like a lot of work in the end it will be well worth it. You’ll save a considerable amount of time and frustration getting dressed in the morning because everything in your closet will make sense and have a purpose. Your clothes speak, be sure they’re supporting you, advancing your goals and saying what you want.
Dr. Carol Parker Walsh is an acclaimed author, international speaker, corporate consultant, transformational image coach and the founder of Evolve Image Consulting. With over 28 years of experience as an attorney, executive, administrator, professor and dean, she combines her education (JD and PhD) and experience to help her clients implement proven strategies to increase profit, productivity, self-confidence, and success. Dr. Parker Walsh is the Editor-in-Chief of the AICI Global Magazine, has a monthly column in the Vancouver Business Journal, appears monthly on KATU2’s AM Northwest Morning Show, and has been seen in the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, LA Talk Radio, and ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX. She's also been a brand ambassador for Chico's, Madison Reed, and Silpada Designs Jewelry.
*Photo cred: Dijana Szewczyk