Change Your Outfit, Change Your Outlook: How Your Wardrobe Can Affect Your Personal Growth
Posted by Vanessa Torres on August 7, 2009 at 10:10 PM
Change is good. But it can be difficult. Especially when it wasn't your idea. Like when we find ourselves fresh out of a relationship. Right after a break up we often feel bored, depressed, too fat, too thin, and all around blah, blah, blah.
We've gotten comfortable with our every day staples and too attached to those old comfy sweats or our ex's college t-shirts. If you've been dumped, your self-esteem is also probably in the crapper. The last thing you feel like doing is getting dressed up and putting on lipstick.
But life must go on, right? And Step One is boosting our self-image so that we can take full advantage of the opportunities the world is presenting to us right now. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by giving your closet a once-over. Personally, when my ex and I broke up, I gave away a bunch of clothes that were perfectly fine but reminded me of dates or holidays we spent together. Buh-bye. By overhauling our wardrobe we give ourselves a chance to reimagine who we are, and more importantly, who we are going to be.
Catherine Cassidyknows all about effecting positive change through clothing. As an wardrobe consultant and stylist she helps women get a grip on their image by transforming their closets. Her efforts have helped women land their dream job, put together a great look for corporate headshots, and simply find more appropriate clothing choices as they begin new chapters in their lives.
I asked Catherine about how changing your image can also change your outlook. And why it's so important sometimes that we do both:
Describe LIFE*Styled and your mission.
My mission with LIFE*styled is to empower women to do something for themselves. It's a tough job trying to balance a career with a personal life, but it's a huge help to have someone else working tirelessly (or just an hour a month, whatever your budget) to make sure you look and feel great. It's really about realizing that it's OK to ask for help, and/or outsource it!
Why do you think it’s so important for a woman to carefully consider her wardrobe?
There are so many reasons, from the obvious to the not-so-obvious. Your clothing is an extension of your personality. Your image is your brand - whether your an entrepreneur, corporate professional or busy mom. When you look good, you invariably feel good. An outfit can completely alter your mood - if you're dressed in comfy clothes, you'll feel more like relaxing than ready to get up and go; if you're dressed up you feel ready for the day and can quickly and easily address whatever challenges come your way. You only get one first impression. Don't waste it!
What are some of the biggest mistakes women make when shopping/dressing?
a) Clothes that don't fit - whether too small or too big. It's just not flattering, and let's be honest, if something's too small how great do you really feel? If it's too big, then you're just not doing yourself any favors. Flowing, loose tops is one major mistake. A lot of women don't wear it right. I love clothes that aren't too tight, but somehow you need to create a shape. Either your top or dress skims your figure to flatter your curves or if it's really flowing you add structure somehow - this can be done with a jacket, a vest or a belt, depending on the look you're going for (and that fits your personality).
b) Duplicating - buying too much of one item because it's a favorite, is another mistake. Dresses and skirts don't count unless you have 5 LBD's (Little Black Dresses) and 10 variations on a black skirt. Casual tees and tanks are often a problem. If you're buying all of the same, you're not doing yourself any favors as far as maximizing your wardrobe.
c) Impulse shopping - buying something for the pleasure of buying something. Then, it just sits in your closet, sad that it doesn't get to go out and play with the rest of your clothes. In my past, I had a few of these items because I truly loved something about it - color, print, fabric, design - but ultimately they didn't fit right. If you don't get an amazing feeling when you try something on, chances are you really don't need it in your wardrobe.
What are the best ways to reinvent your wardrobe on a budget?
First and foremost, go through it and clean. Purge what isn't a representation of you anymore. If you need to, get a girlfriend to help you with that extra support to throw things out. Think about what can be saved with a quick trip to a tailor. Then start playing with clothes. Just take some time to put outfits together that you think might work. If an outfit's not quite working, think about what might pull together the look. Most likely it just takes some simple accessories.
And get creative! I've guided clients to alter pants into shorts, take a couple of inches or some sequins off a dress to make it more current or simply using a small purse as a clutch instead. Also, don't be afraid to try things that you think may not work. You might have a happy accident and find that it actually works really well!
What do you help women achieve with your services?
I help women really pull together a complete look. Though, more than that, I guide them through the process explaining why I'm throwing away certain pieces, why some may work, and how I'm putting together outfits and why. Usually, by the end of the session, she's putting together outfits herself. I love when the student surpasses the teacher!
Usually, a client is doing pretty well on their own, but they start doing GREAT after they've worked with me. I love getting emails telling me how they wore an outfit and got a ton of compliments. With shopping, it really helps to have someone who can take your style to the next level while also knowing the best designers and deals.
What are the best ways to reinvent your wardrobe on a budget?
First and foremost, go through it and purge what isn't a representation of you anymore. If you need to, get a girlfriend to help you with that extra support you need to actually to throw things out. Think about what can be saved with a quick trip to a tailor. Then, start playing. Take the time to put outfits together that you think might work. Often, it just takes some simple accessories to make the whole thing come together.
And don't forget to get creative! I've guided clients to alter pants into shorts, take a couple of inches or some sequins off a dress to make it more current, or using a small purse as a clutch instead.
For women trying to date again after being in a LRT (long term relationship), what changes should they make to their outward appearance to help ease the transition?
They should be giving themselves every advantage to feel great about themselves! After spending so much time focused on someone else, I encourage women to recognize the opportunity to focus on themselves for a while. Of course, that doesn't have to mean ignoring all your friends and family, but appreciating the independence that comes with having time that is ALL YOUR OWN. Now is a great time to purge and refresh. Oh, and remember COLOR! Color can instantly brighten a mood and attracts positive attention. Even if it's just a simple accessory or fun pair of shoes, always add a pop of color!
Follow LIFE*styled on twitter at www.twitter.com/catherinecassid