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Clothes Do Make The (Wo)Man

Submitted by on June 16, 2010 – 6:15 pmNo Comment |

Just got home from a networking event for creative and marketing types. By and large, I don’t find networking events in my area to be all that productive for my personal business (people are generally too concerned with promoting themselves to care about what i do), so tonight I decided to implement the principle of being present discussed in my previous post. (Interestingly enough, Gwen referenced a post about this very same topic today.)

Lo and behold, I actually enjoyed the event much more as a result of concentrating on others instead of worrying about myself.  I also learned about a really cool wine event that I probably wouldn’t have learned about had I been talking so much.

But alas, my (improved) listening skills are not the point of this post.  This post is about image.  More specifically, it’s about how you brand yourself through your personal appearance.

Two women spoke at the event I attended.  The first woman wore a grey Banana Republic dress that I recognized from a few years back with adorable chunky beads.  She looked to be in her mid-50s, and I found myself hoping that I look like her in 20-plus years.  I listened to every word woman number one said.

The second woman who spoke wore black capri pants with horribly visible granny-panties underneath, a blue tank top that was two sizes too small, wedge sandals and a black suit coat that didn’t quite match the theme of the capris and wedgies.  Woman number two gave a nice presentation; but I found myself getting distracted by her frumpy appearance.

So ladies, gentlemen and all aspiring public speakers, here’s a lesson for you: Spend time on your outfit, not just your speech.

Need a few pointers on how to put together the right ensemble? A well-edited outfit should have the following elements:

  • Fit- If you see bumps, lumps or rolls poking out from any part of your outfit, consider going up a size.  To quote my favorite style mentor, Tim Gunn, it’s about fit, not a number on a tag.
  • Theme- Before you head out the door, it’s important to consider where you’re going.  You’d dress differently for a backyard bbq than you would for work or a wedding, right? RIGHT?? If your shoes say walk on the beach, your blazer says business lunch and your pants say party, you should probably consider the theme of the event your about to attend–and reconsider your outfit.

Still don’t know what to wear? Might I suggest purchasing one–or more–of the great style books on the market?

A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style by Tim Gunn

The New Secrets of Style by the editors of InStyle magazine

The Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia


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