Busting Myths About Your Image
Some people are uncomfortable with the very word itself. To them, it means sham or cover-up- an attempt to hide the real self, especially flaws. Others think creating an image is a shortcut to success. They believe that if you have the “right image” you hardly need anything else, including competence, knowledge, talent. For me, “image” is a true reflection of you - as true as your image in the mirror. At the same time, creating the right image is a marvelous way to help you become your best self.
Developing a true image of your best self, as only you know her, is what dressing well is all about. It’s especially important if you’re a working woman with high ambitions and a realistic appraisal of the competition all around you. If you change your clothing image, over time you’ll change. You’ll become more sure of yourself, more outgoing because of that, and therefore more relaxed. You’ll have more energy on the job and off the job, because you won’t be wasting energy worrying about how you look and whether you measure up. And the happiest change of all will be in how good you feel about yourself. For the first time, you won’t be working against yourself and your aims. You and the way you present yourself will be one and the same.
Do clothes lie? Not really. No matter what you wear, you’re always uncovered/bare in a sense, because your clothes are always sending messages about you. They telegraph your economic class, your educational level, your social position, your level of sophistication, your trustworthiness, your hopes, your fears, your fashion sense, your state of mind, and your joie de vivre .
Should you care? Some people feel you shouldn’t care what others think of your image, but that’s unrealistic. People pass judgment on the basis of superficial impressions. If your look is dull and dreary, you may be easily bypassed because of the impression you’re giving. If you don’t feel good and sure about yourself, it shows in many ways. You don’t project the confidence you’d like to project
Over and over again, research studies and psychological experiments have shown that both men and women judge attractive people as more skilled, brighter intellectually, and more socially likable. If you change the impression your clothes make, you’ll set off a whole series of changes in people’s responses to you. When people respond differently, how you feel about yourself will change. And before you know it, there you are in the winner’s circle, where things keep getting better and better.
Your image can be a wonderful, magical tool to open doors for you, to help get you where you want to go.