Reader Question: “I struggle with aligning how I feel inside with what my external image is meant to convey. It makes me doubt many of my intuitive wardrobe decisions! Help”
If you sometimes feel this way too, here is a simple process to follow to help you figure out what the disconnect may be (and you may discover there isn’t one!).
1. What Should Your External Image Convey?
What are the characteristics that you feel that your external image should be conveying? This may depend on what you do or where you work and the required dress code (if there is one), or what you perceive to be the requirements of that role. Here is a list of words that can help you get started on this process – it’s by no means exhaustive (feel free to add in your own words).
Once you have this list – say 3-6 words move on to step 2.
2. How Do You Want to Be Perceived
What do you want people to pick up about your personality and your values? What traits would you be really happy for people to think that they sum you up?
Using the above list (and any other words you like) fill in this sentence:
Oh there’s XX INSERT YOUR NAME HERE, she’s so ….. (FILL IN THE BLANK)
Again, you only want 3-6 words – the most important 3-6 that really sums you up as a person.
3. Compare Your Lists
Let’s figure out if there is a disconnect between the image you are wanting to convey, that external image, and who you are on the inside – it’s time to compare your first list with your second.
If they are very similar then you are probably feeling fairly aligned, the more they are different then there is something going on here that needs to be further investigated.
External and Internal Don’t Match
If this is the case, why is this so? Are you unhappy or don’t feel you fit into the role that you are currently in which is why your external image is not meshing with your internal image? Are you in the wrong environment for your personality? Or maybe your expectations of your external image are no longer valid in some way? Does it need updating?
If you’re not sure why this is where getting some professional image advice can really help – to get an outside perspective or a more in-depth style education to help figure out what’s going wrong – you’ll get to understand much more deeply the relationship between your personality and your style and outfit choices as well as how your values – both clothing and personal values impact on your style too all inside my 7 Steps to Style program.
4. Costume Your Character
You have a list of personality traits and values that feel truly aligned with who you are on the inside. I want you to imagine that you are dressing a character with those exact traits for a movie, what clothes and accessories would you dress them in? What kind of grooming? Hairstyle? Makeup?
You may want to head to Pinterest and collect some images on a board that represents this character’s wardrobe and style. How do you know if you’ve gotten it right? As you select each garment or outfit, ask yourself if you would describe it with your set of words ” Is this carfree, alluring and unusual?” (if that was your set of words). If you say yes, then great, if it’s a no, then that outfit or accessory doesn’t go onto the board.
5. Photograph Your Outfits
Get into your wardrobe and take photos of your current outfits – what you wear day-to-day. Do at least 2-3 weeks of outfits so you have quite a few to compare.
Look at these outfits and note down what are they conveying (you may want to look at the list above.
Does what you do wear align with what you want to convey?
6. Compare and Contrast
Then compare what you do wear with your costume board – do they look similar and aligned or is there a big disconnect between what you are currently choosing and how you’d dress the character of you?
You may find some similarities and you can see from the costume version that adding in some tweaks is all you need (you may get some styling inspiration from doing this). You may find that the costume version doesn’t relate to your body shape or colouring in mind – as to what really works for you (if you’re not sure, again, get your style education here so you are empowered to make the right choices), redo this step with your own physicality in mind and see what you come up with.
If you’ve started to realise that you’re not shopping well, that you are making mistakes in stores (and there are all sorts of reasons for this) jump onto my new masterclass 5 Things You Should Stop Doing to Instantly Improve Your Style and find out where you’re going wrong (and why) so you can start making better purchasing decisions straight away.