I have found many dictionary definitions for the word ‘image’. But in regards to’personal image’ it really boils down to this: “Your personal image is how you are perceived by others”. Many different things go into your image such as: ‘non-verbal communication’which is your body language and the way you carry yourself and ‘visual communication’which is your personal appearance, your grooming, what you wear and how you wear it; and ‘verbal communication’ which are the words you use and how you use them;
Although the spoken word does carry weight as we develop rapport. Initially we are judged by what people see. Each time you meet someone new, they will evaluate you either consciously or subconsciously. They will notice your clothing, your hairstyle, and your accessories. They will notice how you are groomed and how you carry yourself. Every aspect of how you appear is pieced together forming a picture or an interpretation of your image. This interpretation will lead to their comfort level about you and help them determine whether they will listen to you.
Given the choice, most of us would rather do business with someone we are comfortable with and fit’s our definition of a ‘Professional Business Image’.
Clothing should be evaluated and removed from your wardrobe if it isn’t worn within a reasonable period of time. However, even though you may not currently wear your accessories due to fashion trends, they can still have future value in your wardrobe.
Yes… accessory fashions evolve in cycles and what is now passé may again become the latest look. Before you discard your accessories consider your scale, personality style and most flattering colours. If these are attributes that your unworn accessories possess, you may want to store them separately from your current accessory wardrobe. Go through this accessory collection from time-to-time, to see if it will once again fit into your wardrobe. You never know…if you once loved it you may love it again.
In my last blog post I talked about how grooming, certain clothing styles, combinations or the condition of your clothing will have a strong impact on the perceptions others have about you and how they can damage your credibility for business. However everything we wear and the way we groom ourselves not only have an impact in a business setting, they also have an impact on anyone who sees us no matter what the setting. If the garment fits the activity or setting, the garment will harmonize and we will look like we belong. If it doesn’t fit the activity or setting, it and us will be distracting and out of place.
What settings do you think the following items harmonize in?
- Wrinkled or stained clothing
- Yoga pants
- Uncoordinated clothing and accessories
- Clothing that needs repair
- Basketball shoes
- Novelty t-shirt that says, “Life is Hell.”
- Delicate clothing with ruffles and tiers
- Ski suit
- Wool suit
Many of us would think the answers are obvious. A ski suit would be worn for skiing. A wool suit would be worn for business or at a conservative event. But what if the ski suit was worn to the beach on a hot August day? Although after thinking about it for a minute, most of us would question the person’s sanity, initially, most of us would consider the oddity of a ski suit at the beach among others in bathing suits and shorts. Now I know this is an extreme case and quite unlikely… I hope. But there are other situations similar to this that we see all the time. Basket ball shoes and yoga pants in fancy restaurants; Wrinkled and stained clothing while out on a date; or thread worn clothing or clothing with a fallen hem at a job interview.
As I mentioned before there is a time and place for everything. However, clothing that isn’t in-sync with its environment draws attention to itself and you and creates questions about your personality and lifestyle. For Example: Dirty, stained or wrinkled clothing worn out on a date or at work, may imply that that you are lazy or don’t care about yourself. However, when worn while working in the garden they might imply that you have been working hard or that you don’t want to ruin your good clothes. Or it may imply that you are lazy and don’t care about yourself. Remember, perception is always in the eye of the beholder.