Monday, June 2, 2008

What Your Outfit Says About You

One of the things students learn in the study of communication is that everything communicates. In other words, you cannot not communicate. It's in your facial expression, your hairdo, jewelry, posture, pose, the words you say, of course, and those you don't day, and in what you're wearing.

Generally speaking, when you put some effort into looking nice, you're sending a positive message to the world. Your message is that you care about yourself, but you also care about the rest of the world. There are no fixed rules about this, like wearing foundation says you care, wearing only chapstick indicates you're a lazy slob. Looking slobbish can mean you're highly distracted with a brilliant project, and that message will come across, too, through other channels.

If you really want to make a positive impression on others, style-mentor Tim Gunn says the way clothes fit is the key. It is wrong-o to think that tight clothes make you look slim, likewise with tent clothes. Too tight and too loose both indicate you are not comfortable with yourself. And if this is true, Mixonian suggests you fake it with correctly-fitting clothes and soon you will actually begin to feel better.

Dressing inappropriately for the occasion won't be noticed by everyone, but a few people will certainly be impressed, though not necessarily in a good way. In a way, dressing appropriately is like buying advertising, it only works half the time but you never know which half.

Sending the message that you are an intelligent, imaginative, caring, and capable person is not about fashion, unless you work in the fashion industry. It's about finding your style, maybe even your own sort of uniform. Dressing well does not mean having closets full of clothes. The opposite may be true. People who have less closet space are forced to make better buying decisions about their clothes. Find the clothes in which you feel most comfortable, and make sure they fit. The warm-up suit is only for exercise!