After watching an interview with Daniel Levy, creator, and actor in Schitt’s Creek where he said:
“Wardrobe is probably the most important element in storytelling, outside of actually writing, because we, as people, say so much about who we are and what we believe in, and what we want, and what we think of ourselves, by the way we dress.”
It got me thinking about the impact of wardrobe and how you can harness the power of style to improve your own life.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people say to me “Does anyone really notice what I wear?” or “It doesn’t matter what I wear” and “who really cares about what I wear?” and this tells me that the person I’m speaking to is unaware of the power of image and wardrobe. They have not read the research nor noticed that characters in TV and movies have very specifically defined costumes that help tell the story. And though you may not be a character in a TV show, you are the lead protagonist in your own life story. If you ever were to write a memoir about your life, your wardrobe would be an element of that story.
The Impact of Wardrobe
Every novel you read will have some description of how characters look, as this enables us to both create an image of them in our mind (making them more lifelike) as well as telling us something about who the character is, their life, lifestyle, state of mind and so much more. Here is an example from Booker prize-winning novelist Margaret Atwood in The Blind Assassin, as the narrator describes her sister in the opening pages:
‘I could picture the smooth oval of Laura’s face, her neatly pinned chignon, the dress she would have been wearing: a shirtwaist with a small rounded collar, in a sober colour – navy blue or steel grey or hospital-corridor green. Penitential colours – less like something she’d chosen to put on than like something she’d been locked up in.’
This description alludes to the character being more sombre and depressed by the very sober description of her appearance. You get a vision of who they are, where they are, and their state of mind from even this short description.
How do You Want to Be Perceived?
Your wardrobe has the power to influence how you are perceived and what’s great is that you have a lot of opportunities to choose what you wear and so how you are perceived. Firstly, you need to decide what it is you want people to think about you, and how they perceive you. Do you want to be seen as
This list could go on and on… it’s up to you to decide.
You need to find the words that represent your personality and how you want to be perceived, because then when you have them, you can start consciously deciding which clothes, accessories, prints, details, styles, and fabrics all help to communicate what it is you want to communicate.
This is why the first step in my 7 Steps to Style program is all about helping you define who you are and how you want to be perceived so you can start to create that authentic personal brand image in a way that feels natural to you, rather than like a costume.
Sadly, so many wardrobes are packed full of “it’ll do” clothes, ones that have been bought and are worn because the wearer doesn’t know where to start. Clothes that are bought because we have that “hunter-gatherer” need to bring something home, even if it’s only kind of “OK” rather than being great.
Without a consciously curated wardrobe, it’s very hard to communicate our expertise, our genius, our brilliance to the world in the way we’d like as our image can be holding us back, without us realising it.
This is where getting that style education is so important as it gives you the tools and the wisdom you need, it empowers you to happily say “no” to all the wrong clothes that will not help you be perceived in the way you want.
Defining Your Personal Brand Image Makes You Memorable
Having a consistent appearance that always communicates what you want it to helps you become more memorable. This doesn’t mean wearing a uniform of your own devising, instead, it’s having a common thread that runs through everything you wear.
You will want to wear different kinds of clothing for different aspects of your life, but there will be come congruence in all your outfits.
Your outfits are always communicating, as Dan Levy says “who we are and what we believe in, and what we want, and what we think of ourselves, by the way we dress.”
Where are you seen in your life?
- Do you need to be seen in a team meeting at work and have your ideas listened to and taken seriously?
- Do you stand up and give speeches?
- Are you the face of your own business?
- Do you appear on social media?
- Do you teach a class and are the centre of attention?
If your image is incongruent with your message, it makes it harder for others to believe what you have to say. It puts a barrier between your message and your audience.
Develop Your Style Recipe and Your Own Version of an Outfit Formula
Your style recipe needs to work for you and your whole personality, identity, and lifestyle. It needs to be congruent with you and your message and values.
We all need to be ourselves, and identifiable as a unique beings rather than a clone.
Your wardrobe can really help you get what you want in your life as it helps others see the expert you are on the inside on your outside.
You have to get dressed every day anyway, so why not use your image as a tool to help you rather than hinder you in your daily pursuits as well as your life goals.
Harness the Power of Style – Get a Style Education
Your next step if you want to really become the boss of your wardrobe and image if you want to become much smarter about what you should wear so that you’re always communicating in an intentional way, is to get a style education. You can do this by joining my 7 Steps to Style program and discovering how your personality influences every style choice you make, which colours and styles harmonise with your body and colouring, and how to use clothing to communicate in a way that works for you and your lifestyle.
Watch the Interview with Dan Levy
The quote about wardrobe from Dan Levy is at around 13:34 of this Schitt’s Creek Farewell Special if you’re interested in finding out more.