Clothing as a Powerful Psychological Tool

by | Jun 28, 2020 | Image Consulting

Your clothing is a resource at your disposal to influence how the world perceives you and the way you perceive yourself.

It’s important to understand the difference between body image, self image, and self esteem so you can take the steps to feeling powerful and confident in what you wear and how you carry yourself!

Body Image is how you view your physical person. Self Image is how you view your physical body together with your personality and personal characteristics (psychological and social). Self Esteem is how you feel about what you think you are. Self Esteem directly correlates to Self Confidence which dictates the actions you take, the risks you are willing to accept, and the fullness your life can grow to include.

Now that I’ve broken these down, can see how important it is to take the time and effort to create a wardrobe of clothes and accessories that support you as a growing, evolving, and marvelous person?

Judith Rathband in Wardrobe Strategies for Women

Here is an interesting perception from image pioneer Judith Rathband in Wardrobe Strategies for Women; in regard to “the growing trend for carrying to an extreme the desire for physically comfortable and socially casual clothing”.  Below I’ve paraphrased with my own spin.

By adopting a daily Steve Jobs “uniform” of black t-shirt and jeans (there is literally a company who markets clothing to compromised techies and will auto ship a new black v neck tee…) you are removing all thought of clothing as well as-

  • Reducing your clothing savvy (the ability to coordinate and accessorize outfits)
  • Increasing uncomfortable or disconnected feelings around people who are dressed, (who are they trying to impress?) and will limit your association with them or those situations.
  • You never look special = you never feel special.
  • Facets of your creative self are not expressed and cease to develop

When clothing selection, some level of physical adornment and creative consideration for the occasion and venue are in play, you are more likely to feel excited, energized, engaged and productive!

All clothing and accessories send messages, or “cues”.  It is unavoidable.   You have the ability to control the message those cues are sending with your strategic clothing choices.  

What should you be considering?

  1. Age – lots of factors, but likely a little more skin coverage over time is appropriate
  2. Body type – choosing styles that highlight and camouflage areas (more needed with weight gain)
  3. Coloring – what colors look good on you, and which overpower or suck the energy out of you
  4. Personality type – big, bright flashy and bold, or muted and receding.  Sweet or Daring?
  5. The intended occasion – casual and sporty, refined and elegant, formal, business, etc.
  6. Your local geography – Going to dinner in Montana you should wear your boots.  Going to dinner in D.C…. maybe not.
  7. The Season – offices can be freezing, but fur or fuzzy wool tweed jackets may look odd in summer months
  8. The Industry – finance is always more formal, entertainment more creative, trades more utilitarian
  9. The culture – dress as defined by the country you are in, and the region

With all this in mind it’s also important to think of the age and personality of the person you’re wanting to impress. Think about how you want to be perceived with your style carefully.

What traits or messages do you want to convey?  

Keep in mind it could be a combination of the below or something entirely different.

  • Artistic                
  • Approachable        
  • Casual
  • Authoritative     
  • Powerful                 
  • Fashionable
  • Efficient              
  • Dependable            
  • Strong
  • Beautiful             
  • Healthy                   
  • Executive
  • Sexy                      
  • Sophisticated         
  • Trustworthy

 

These are the questions that you and your Image Consultant will discover as part of your personal analysis.   If you want to be associated with a trait recognized by others, you want to consciously adopt the consistent use of demonstrating those traits with all your non-verbal communication tools, your body language, voice, tone and clothing/appearance.

 

Ann Lindsay is Style of Success

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