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  • Writer's pictureRitu Punjabi

Can Clothes Matter Too Much?

One reason many of us can’t decide what role clothes should play in our lives is what we were taught as children: that clothes shouldn’t be too important to us because, if they were, people wouldn’t take us seriously. When we grow up to become doctors or lawyers or business executives, we feel the pressure even more. Once we’ve established our credentials and our reputation, it’s safe - indeed, it’s wise- to let our clothes celebrate the fact that we are, after all, female and all the more special for it. As one fashion authority puts it, “A woman should maintain the fact that she’s a woman, and that she’s succeeding as a woman.” Most of the women I know want to do just that.

One way or another, your clothes are going to make an impression. Why should you allow that impression to arise incidentally? It makes much more sense to create that impression you want and escape mistakes and misrepresentation.

An interior designer friend once told me that she had discovered the clothes she wore determined whether her clients would be muddled or decisive about an expensive high-style sofa she was recommending. If her outfit was mediocre, her client would be wishy-washy, and her job of finding the ideal sofa would drag on because the client subconsciously didn’t trust her judgment.

Clothes are silent persuaders. They give people reason to have faith in your skill and competence.

CLothes also show that your inner self counts more than your outer measurements. For example two people having the exact same measurements, yet neither could wear the other’s clothes.. clothes that are designed for them. They will be entirely different types, and each one’s clothes reflect the own person.

When I see the delicate interplay between clothes and personality work for my clients, it’s the most deeply satisfying and enjoyable part of my work. Each year, as their clothing image is clarified and refined, their personalities seem to change accordingly, and they become more confident and easy and easy with who they are. Image is an uncanny barometer.

Today, working women- however different thei tastes and preferences- all seem to be asking for the same thing. They all want a professional pulled-together image that wins respect yet lets them feel comfortable. SOme may lean toward femininity, others focus on neatness. SOme care most about comfort or freedom from upkeep. Others want more individuality in textures and colors.

But all my clients come with one conviction: If they can get their image together, the most valuable by-product (guaranteed) is self-esteem. And that new confidence will free them to concentrate their energy on job performance, instead of frittering it away on their imagined shortcomings.

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