Project your success

Project your success

Q. My husband is generally a good dresser; however, sometimes he wears clothes that make me wonder what he’s thinking. Can you explain to him the necessity of consistently wearing quality clothes . . . perhaps just that he should NOT be wearing older worn pants with a nice shirt? I can tell even he knows that they don’t work together, and we have the money to buy new clothes.  

A. One evening on one of the late-night shows, a comedian walked onto the set, looked around at the host and his well-dressed guests, and said, “Have you ever felt like the whole world was a tuxedo, and you were a pair of brown shoes?” 

Feeling inappropriately dressed can be a demoralizing experience; it is why you say you can see that he knows the combination is wrong. With a little forethought, we can all avoid those mistakes that makes us want to go home, get in bed, and pull the covers over our head. 

Let me speak with him directly! Each morning when you confront the clothes in your closet, you have two choices: You can dress in those that bring you compliments, that make you look good and feel great. Or you can choose clothes you don’t really like very muchanymore, but continue to wear to save money. 

How you feel about yourself all day depends largely on how you react in that brief moment when you stand before a full-length mirror and check out your image. It doesn’t require a psychiatrist (or your spouse) to tell you that you cannot feel confident and in control knowing that you don’t look your best. 

We all know there are clothes that make us look terrific. They lift our spirits, light up our faces, and make us murmur to ourselves, “Hey, I look pretty good today!” Then there are clothes that prompt the question, “Could I possibly look that bad?” 

Our clothes should make us feel good about ourselves; it’s foolish to wear anything that doesn’t, even if you save money in the process. If your budget is small, then buy fewer clothes (not less expensive ones), but make sure that those you do buy make you feel on top of the world. 

My advice begins with “trash bagging your closet.” Toss into a large trash bag every 100% polyester item you own, as well as anything else that is not flattering or does not say good things about you. If you find this cleansing experience too painful/difficult, ease into it in steps. First, stop wearing the offending articles; second, move them to the far end of your closet or, better yet, to another closet entirely; and, finally, give the jackets to your favorite charity, and perhaps save the trousers for “painting pants.” 

Bargain–basement thinking is false economy. It is what prompts men to spend too little for their clothes. If you fear that buying quality clothing is too extravagant, think about the whole world’s emphasis on image in business. Most people recognize quality clothes on other people. The men who wear them are thought of as winners. To step out of the business world for a moment, suppose you’re an actor looking for a job. You wouldn’t arrive at your audition in a beat-up, old car. No way! You’d borrow a sleek model car if you had to, to suggest that you are a success. 

My regular readers know that I advocate several dollar-saving methods, from shopping at better stores during their seasonal “sales” to checking out gently-used-clothing/thrift shops (as well as your well-dressed Dad’s closet). Just be certain before you go shopping that you know what you need. Don’t ever buy something you would not have considered without a sale. The old adage is still true: “A bargain is not a bargain if you don’t wear it.” 

To summarize, in a business setting, your clothes, your accessories, and your grooming should all project your success.  

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