Posts Tagged 'What your dress says about you'

Who gets you dressed in the morning?

I enjoy Thursdays.

On a Thursday the majority of my clients are via phone or Skype, and the ones who I do see face to face are those that (I like to think), have strong foundations built on trust. So among other joys it means that within reason, I can wear pretty much what I like to the office and just like a news anchor, for the people I Skype with, I just need a very presentable top half!

It seems somehow archaic that we are still often judged by what we wear, and a little sad that I will sometimes catch myself bowing to some of these pressures. Coaching an executive around leadership, you bet I will be found wearing something a little more ‘structured’. And I have completely taken on board Stacy and Clinton’s advice in regard to length of skirts, and my particular favorite, that toe cleavage is ‘still cleavage’!

I do however wonder if these considerations are for my perceived client’s comfort or only mine. Dress can definitely be a prop for us, and our outfits will often indicate the role we are choosing to occupy; mother, working professional, flirty date. Actors use ‘costume’ to help them find character, so why wouldn’t we be influenced by what we wear in any given setting?

Yesterday as I was mid coaching session, I believe I was swirling around a special edition ‘David Beckham Sharpie’ in a complex Olive color, when the client stopped and stared at a large ring I was wearing, commenting that it didn’t seem to fit my personality. I assure you this is not what you need during a session where you are supporting someone with their life. In that moment I could have got curious about why this person thought this, in fact I am still curious about why they thought this. It is a piece of jewelry I am extremely fond of, instead I took the alternative route of muttering something about the observation and moved on with the exercise.

I want for all RBC clients to arrive at our coaching space and find new ways of looking at things, to open their minds and experiment, and to do that I feel that coach and venue need to set the scene to promote that behavior, but not have so much personality that it gets in the way. That ring may need to stop coming to the office..IT may have too much personality??!

I have my own curious relationship with the color of clothes. When I imagine my future self, she is wearing white and ivory colors. I even made a recent commitment to only buy clothes in these colors because when I wear clothes in these tones I do leverage that serene energy from my future self. It is a structure and cue for me to show up a certain way. Would these clothes work in that executive coaching session? Yes I think so, we are not talking flowing garb here, my future self doesn’t suddenly turn into a glowing organic mother earth. These lighter color clothes can still have structure and convey a certain professional togetherness which feels like me.

I have been known to set clients homework around the way they choose to dress; they may choose to express their dormant outrageous self, add more eclectic accessories, or explore that more feminine side that they have been hiding from the world in fear of criticism or too much attention.

I have a friend who lives by the Coco Chanel quote “Dress shabbily and they notice the dress. Dress impeccably and they notice the woman.” I would like to add to that and say, dress consciously and purposefully, and you will shine. Your wardrobe could be your cue to show up as the person you want to be that day, and yes, that ring will be worn to the office once more.

Have a good look in your wardrobe this weekend, are its contents reflective of you?
C
P.S this is not about having more clothes, in fact it is more likely to be about paring down. For inspiration to do that check out www.theuniformproject.com, quite a fun and disciplined approach!

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