With the Oscars this weekend, and the award season in full swing, many actors will be decked out in their finest, sporting beautiful makeup, perfectly coiffed hair and couture clothing, with a charming and dignified air about them. Style (including clothing and makeup) can play a huge part in our mental wellbeing, and this can ripple out in to other areas, including our confidence and body language. Of course Hollywood stars have a team of people behind them to get them red carpet ready, including talented fashion stylists. So how can we take the style lessons from the red carpet and incorporate them into our lives?
This morning when you opened the doors to your wardrobe to get dressed for the day ahead, were you confronted with a beautifully curated rail of clothes that suited your lifestyle, colouring, body shape and personality? Or were you confronted with an overstuffed wardrobe and nothing, or not much to wear? If it is the latter, I can promise you that you are not alone, as this is a case for many women up and down the country. When I first work with my clients on their style and image I am often confronted by wardrobes full of many items that are no longer fit for purpose because they are; too small, too big, have holes in, are bobbling, are scuffed and worn or the wearer doesn't feel comfortable in them.
We may feel that knowing our style, what suits our body shape and shopping for it should be easy. But these things can cause us a lot of anguish and stress, and this is why more and more people work with an image consultant.
The old adage that "it's not what's on the outside that counts, but what's on the inside" is a bit of myth. Clothing and makeup that we love, that is comfortable and suits our personality and needs has multiple positive benefits:
1. Psychological: When we feel we look good on the outside, it positively impacts our mental state. Studies have shown that we feel more confident and happier when we like our external image. When we catch our reflection we want our visual thought prompt to be positive.
2. Body Language: We sit up a little straighter, we hold our heads higher, we are less defensive and have more open body language
3. Verbal Communication: Being confident with the way we look on the outside positively impacts the way we talk to others. We may find it easier to make difficult points with our colleagues in a more positive manner.
4. Personal Brand: Our personal brand is our emotional appeal, and the key to success is our authenticity. It is therefore imperative that the way we look matches our core values and the messages we want to portray.
5. Financial: Knowing our style makes it easier to shop, reducing panic buying and money wasted.
6. Time: Time is a precious commodity, and time spent shopping for clothing and makeup that you are not sure will suit you is time wasted. Many people who online shop do not take purchases back that don't work for them. In 2015, the average UK woman had 22 items in her wardrobe that she didn't wear, many with the tags still in tact. These clothes taunt us.
The biggest tip I can give you is to see an experienced image consultant to understand your colouring, body shape and your go-to signature style. This may be an initial investment, but it can pay huge dividends not only for your image, mental health and confidence, but for your personal brand too.
Author credit: Lizzie Parsons, Image Consultant