I work for a top image consulting management company in New York. Essentially we create and maintain complete wardrobes to make our clients' lives easier. From the outside, it might seem like it's all about fashion. But having worked at Visual Therapy for three years, and seeing how defining a style and organizing a wardrobe can bring confidence, I actually believe our work has very little to do with fashion.
Style is much more than what it seems to be in women's magazines. It's just another way to be inspired, stay on track with your dreams, and be the best version of yourself. Here are the 5 empowering ideas I've learned about personal image that I hope can help you, too:
1. When you invest time in creating a visual representation of what you want to be, the signal is being sent much further than you think.
A few seasons back, I started pinning outfits I wanted to wear on Pinterest. When I noticed that I started becoming my board, and so did people around me, I had a true a-ha moment. What I realized is that knowingly or unknowingly, you become a reflection of your board. Choosing things that you want to attract into your life through visualization is a simple but powerful tool that really affects your style. When applied to all areas of your life, it brings a true transformation.
2. Express yourself! Style can help you find harmony between your inner and your outer worlds.
When you put a little energy into what you're wearing, image (the outer) and identity (the inner) are aligned, and the result is clarity that will bring you places and help you reach your goals. There's a quiet confidence that comes with looking (and feeling!) like the best you. It allows you to not be caught up in your insecurities, and give the world a clear and consistent message. When putting on an outfit, ask yourself: Does this represent me, and is this the image I want to portray?
3. Declutter and feel liberated.
Do you ever wake up in the morning, look at your closet, and think, I have nothing to wear? We all have these moments. A realistic goal is to minimize them, not to eliminate them completely. To achieve wardrobe clarity, there's a simple process that you can follow:
- Donating what you're not wearing (say goodbye to pieces you've not worn for over a year, unless there's a sentimental value attached)
- Organizing your clothes by season/style/color
- Keeping your clothes and shoes repaired and clean
- Figuring out what works with what.
- Instead of just buying things, approach your clothes from the perspective of "looks," or outfits that work together.
When shopping, ask yourself:
- Do I love it?
- Is it flattering?
- Where am I going in this?
- Does it represent the image I want to put out there?
4. Use fashion for social change.
By being smart in the ways you buy, and choosing ethical and fair trade pieces where possible, you can change lives. Many people in the fashion industry use their companies to get involved in social issues, from empowering third-world artisans by giving them jobs, and fighting bullying with a cool t-shirt campaign (Rachel Roy), to granting fashion wishes to kids with life-threatening medical conditions (Mary Alice Stephenson of GLAM4GOOD).
5. Don't follow fashion rules.
If you think that fashion is about wearing the latest trends, matching your shoes with your bag, and not wearing the same dress twice to an event, you couldn't be further from the truth. Even Kate Middleton repeats the same dresses, changing up the look with accessories. Find pieces that work for you, and make them your signature. Is there a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, or shoes that fit perfectly and give you that little boost of confidence? Perfect, build more of your looks around them.
Ultimately, life is not only about fashion, image and style. And it's certainly not about what others will think or say of the way you look. But if style can be a tool that will bring more confidence and clarity into your life, then why not use it?