Most of us are feeling exhausted, frustrated, scared and overwhelmed. Life has definitely opened up, but it’s still vastly different from just a few years ago.
Sometimes we just need to shake things up in a fun way that’s not permanent, expensive or threatens our health.
Make up, absolutely.
Hair color and style, sure.
But even easier and takes far less time and effort, is changing up how we dress.
It’s the first thing people notice. Before we even open our mouths, it defines who we are in seconds.
Right or wrong.
The adage, “the clothes make the man” is true. How we look will sway how we are seen. And we have complete control over that perception.
Dress in a suit and tie we think corporate, conservative. From there we can break down success depending on the fit, cut or label.
For women a well fitting business suit, matching shoes and smart accessories says the same thing.
They both say, “take me seriously, I am a force to be reckoned with.”
Dress in a formless dress with little color and we think- shy, quiet.
Bold, big colors say see me, hear me.
Black clothing, multiple piercings – goth.
Tight, low cut, -sexy.
Button up shirt with a corduroy jacket and leather patches- professorial.
Lifeless, full dresses that cover everything- dowdy.
Bell bottoms with floral tones- hippy or retro.
They all immediately evoke a feeling, an image of the person we think you are.
So next time you choose your outfit think- what does it say? Is it what I want to represent at this moment in time? Because it changes for work, a meeting, a movie, a play, a date, school, family gathering, religious events. . .
As it should.
We are not the same person every time.
What I’ll wear to a play won’t be the same outfit I’d wear to work.
What I wear to buy manure and plants aren’t the same clothes I’d wear to a family affair.
I’ll never forget when I ran into a couple of my patients at Ace Hardware. My hair was up, I was in sweats, an old tee shirt and flip flops. The antithesis of my work attire. They were shocked and I couldn’t help think just a little upset at seeing me in such a state of disarray. To this day, a decade later, they love to share that vision of me!
But that’s human nature.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Clearly that image spoke volumes.
What we wear depends on the situation, our mood, comfort zone, and body image.
Trying something new is a great first step to finding a new you.
Years ago my daughter voiced her frustration that I only wore a few colors, mostly brown, blue and black.
They were safe.
Another friend was sure I never owned, let alone wore, jeans!
Initially I needed safe. As a 19 year old medical school student who looked 12, I wanted to be taken seriously. I felt it was necessary to tone down my looks and present a picture of not only maturity, but intellect. Someone you could trust and depend upon.
But as a grown woman in my own practice their statements shook me up.
Was I doing this for me? Or because I felt pressured to present a specific picture?
So I branched out. Experimenting with different looks and seeing what felt right. Some were disasters, some a great thought but not quite me. Whatever the result they all made a powerful statement I’d never been willing to express before- I was a multifaceted person embracing all my sides.
Clothes and accessories opened up an exciting new way to expand my vocabulary and reflect who I was that day.
Because each outfit speaks volumes.
Monochromatic is safe, cultured and comfortable. You can’t go wrong with all pieces the same color.
Multiple colors take self confidence to pull off. It says “I feel bold, adventurous and engaged.”
The spectrum is vast and all the variations incredible.
I’ve seen the transition in those who blossomed after losing weight, now willing to step out of their comfort zone and try new looks.
Those in new relationships, wanting to share their excitement and love in their life.
Not so willing to jump in with both feet? You’d be surprised how many different outfits you can have just by changing one particular piece.
Take a scarf. It can be used on your head as a centerpiece, around your neck as an accent, around your waist instead of a belt or around your arms as a light cover.
That one piece can add the same color tones or a pop of color for brightness.
And it doesn’t take money, just ingenuity and a different perspective.
Look at what you have.
Try painting a white belt with fabric paint half black. Add it to a white button down shirt over black pants and you have a great new black/ white look.
Ready to throw out that stained or threadbare skirt you love? Iron on a few adorable butterflies or flower decals to make it a new piece of art.
An old purse or shoes lost their luster? Scuffed? Use that same paint and refresh or change the color, add a design.
Jewelry looks dated? It’s amazing what a marker can do to add some pop. I took some old pieces I inherited from my mother and made the yellows brighter, the reds sharper, the browns deeper. Or reworking a dated choker into a terrific statement necklace by adding a longer chain. The possibilities are endless.
Mix and match.
You’re only limited by your imagination.
Not sure where to start? Check out the styles around you. See which might be worth trying.
You’ll be surprised at how it changes your attitude, stance and perspective.
And if it falls flat, it’s not permanent, don’t wear it again.
It’s ok to throw caution to the wind.
The worst that can happen- you don’t like the look. That’s how we learn what we like, what we want to wear. It’s how we figure out who we are. And that will change over time. What I wore in my twenties isn’t what I wore in my forties. Not you? Get rid of it, tweak it or mix and match. Nothing is permanent. Mistakes can be quickly erased and forgotten. We aren’t static, why should our clothes remain the same?
Fashion is the truest way to find yourself. And the easiest way to change up your life and have some fun.
So, throw open your closets and dresser drawers. Have a party with friends.
Tomorrow can reveal a brand new you.