Looking Good For Lots Less
Self Images
By James F. Brown
Feb 15, 2009 - 2:08:47 PM


— Dress Like A Fortune 500 CEO On A Mailroom Budget!



Attire not only affects how others view and react to us, it also plays an enormous part in how we see ourselves at any particular moment. By choosing our outfits, we can alter our own self-image, influence our actions and reactions, and maximize effective role playing to achieve our goals.

This phenomenon isn’t new; it’s been used as a tool for centuries. Actors spend a lot of time in rehearsals for a play, working hard to develop their characters and immerse themselves in their roles. And the most important rehearsals are the final ones done just before the play opens: the dress rehearsals. The actors are in costume. These costumes tell the audience who the characters are, as well as what era and location the play is set. Knights in armor are expected and appropriate for “Camelot,” but wouldn’t work at all for “Annie Get Your Gun!” 

There’s more; proper costumes also help actors play their parts well. That’s why dress rehearsals are so important. Shakespeare was right. We are all actors on the stage of life. Dressing appropriately for whatever activity we’re engaged in changes our heads, gets us into the right “zone,” and enables us to be sucessful. We’ve all done this many times in our lives. Think about how you feel when you’re dressed in business attire. How do you act? How do you walk, talk, and project yourself? What role are you playing? Now give some thought to how you act when you’re dressed in leisure clothes such as jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers. Probably in a completely different manner. That’s because your self image is different. You’re playing a different role, inhabiting a different character. You’re on your own time, not at work or in some other professional situation.


Dressing correctly to play a particular role isn’t being duplicitous or conniving or false. All the various roles we play are valid. In life, we need to be different people at different times. Do what all good actors do, use costumes to alter your self image to your advantage. Dress in business attire for the corporate and professional world. Don stylish, well-coordinated, properly tailored outfits when you’re out on the town. Slip into active wear that’s designed for whatever sports and recreational activities you’re engaged in.

For every situation, analyze who you need to be and what you need to do. Then choose attire that will work for you, positively impress others, and get you into the proper mindset for success.


James F. Brown is a business consultant and expert on professional attire.

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