In numerous scientific studies, it has now been proven, that first impressions really do count.
- According to the studies, we unconsciously and within just a few seconds, make judgements about somebody we meet, based on their appearance.
- We notice somebody’s body language – whether they’re smiling, whether they look tired, angry, timid or confident etc.
- We also notice their clothes, their hair and general style i.e. whether they look stylish and well groomed or whether they look dishevelled etc.
We’re taking in lots of visual images about the person and using these to form our opinions about the person, within seconds of meeting them and although consciously, we may think this is very judgemental, interestingly, the scientific studies have proved that these unconscious determinations that we make, based on somebody’s appearance, are often very accurate.
Indeed, creating the right image, is a natural part of existing here on earth and the importance of appearance, can be seen in all aspects of nature – birds preening themselves to look attractive or to make themselves look stronger, to attract a mate or to scare off a potential predator or the brightly coloured flowers, to attract the birds and bees to support pollination.
Without even realising it consciously, we’re constantly making judgements, based on somebody’s appearance. We may change our initial views once we get to know someone better, but initially, our interaction is influenced, by how someone looks and their personal style.
Are you investing time and energy into making the most of your appearance?
Not only does our appearance impact very quickly on the people we meet, but more importantly, it also impacts on how we feel about ourselves.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, how does it make you feel?
Are you making the most of yourself and do you feel amazing?
If you’re not sure, go now and have a look at yourself in a full length mirror. Listen to the voice in your head – what’s it noticing?
- The chances are, like many people, you’re probably not noticing your best features.
How we look at ourselves, impacts on how we feel about ourselves and therefore changing how we look can also change how we feel.
I have a daily routine of getting up in the morning, having a shower, putting on my makeup and styling my hair. I do this 99% of the time, even if I’m not planning on leaving the house.
Why do I bother, if I’m not going out anywhere and I’m not likely to see anybody?
Because once I’m ready:
- I feel fresher, brighter and ready to tackle my daily goals
- I feel more energised and definitely more motivated
I’ve learned, that when I don’t follow my morning routine, I’m much more likely to slob around and I definitely don’t achieve as much.
So how I feel about myself, is reflected in my actions.
- When I feel smart, I’m more likely to take smarter actions, that move me toward my goals.
Now whilst I believe it’s important to consider our personal appearance and sense of style, I’m not saying we all have to have the same style. Absolutely not!
- We’re bombarded with so many images about what beauty is meant to look like, that often we end up comparing ourselves to the models and the perfect Instagram images and as a result, we feel bad about ourselves, which isn’t good…
Rather than comparing ourselves to somebody else and feeling that there’s no point even trying to improve our appearance, because we’ll never achieve the ‘perfect media model look’, it’s far better to consider what our best features are and what we can do to highlight these in a positive way. When we start to notice our positive assets, we can start to build on our strengths and when we focus on these, we’re much more likely to feel better about ourselves.
A few years ago, if you looked in my wardrobe, my clothes were all black and reflected how I felt about myself – I felt dull and boring. I’d developed a habit of focussing on being overweight and feeling dumpy and I was hiding behind the black clothes.
When I took a step back and reflected on how this was making me feel, I realised I’d become someone I didn’t really recognise and it didn’t feel good. When I was younger, I was clear about my personal style and yet somewhere along the line, I’d drifted. I’d become unconscious about my appearance and gradually, I’d lost the sense of who I was and how I was presenting myself to myself and to the world.
I was feeling Fat and Frumpy at 50! How do you feel?
The great news is though that it doesn’t matter how old or young we are, when we become conscious about our personal appearance and style and we make conscious decision about what we want to reflect into the mirror, we can change how we feel about ourselves and how we are perceived by the people we meet.
Having acknowledged this, I was able to develop a much clearer image in my head about what I wanted to look like and what I liked about myself, instead of just focussing on my chubby tum and bum!
What are your best features?
What’s your current style?
What would you like your style to be?
Here’s how I started to develop my personal style consciously:
- I used my Vision Board and cut out pictures of clothes that I’d like to wear and as a result, I opened my mind to the possibility of wearing colour again.
- Introducing some colour back into my wardrobe definitely made me feel better about myself and I found using an online catalogue to try out new colours and styles was a really great way of improving my confidence about what suited me and what didn’t.
- I was able to send off for lots of different outfits to try on at home and then send back the ones I didn’t like – A much more comfortable experience than trying to do this in a shop fitting room..
- I’d suffered from Rosacea and had given up on a skin care regime, so I began to research what I could do to improve my skin and I established a much better cleansing routine, which definitely improved the condition of my skin.
- I’d been working long hours and often fell into bed without using moisturiser and as a result, I’d started to develop wrinkles. Implementing a strict moisturising regime has definitely reduced some of the fine lines.
- I went to a local Beauty Training College as a client, for my niece who was completing her training and was able to have some free laser treatment to reduce the redness on my cheeks (as a result of the rosacea), which worked really well and I’d definitely pay for some more treatments in the future if necessary.
- I practiced different make up techniques and use of colours to enhance some of my better features (and to disguise others – haha!)
When I started to change and develop my personal style, my self-confidence level began to improve again and I’m sure this reflected in my body language and as a result, changed how I was perceived by other people and definitely improved my relationship with my husband.
So is it vain and stupid to make the most of our best features or is it actually the most sensible and potentially beneficial investment we can make in ourselves?
- When it comes to romance, who you attract, is very much determined initially by your appearance.
- Our appearance can also make or break our careers. When we go for an interview, first impressions determine who gets the job and the decision is often made within the first few seconds.
Now it’s not to say that we all have to clone ourselves to look exactly the same, or to fit the advertising media image of perfection, but we do have to think about what our appearance is saying about us, to the people we meet.
- If I want to secure a job as an accountant or a solicitor for example, I’m more likely to secure the job if I present myself smartly dressed and well groomed, than if I turned up looking tired, with my hair dishevelled and wearing a grimy looking tracksuit and trainers.
- Alternatively, if I’m going for a job interview to become a fashion designer, I’d probably be better to wear something that reflects the brand of the design company or in some cases my own creation. This may be very chic, vintage, classic, contemporary etc. depending on the ethos of the company I’m seeking to impress.
The same applies to romance.
- If I want to attract a punk rocker, I’m probably better not turning up to a gig wearing a City Slicker suit and vice versa!
Our style should reflect who we are and/or who we want to be. It’s not fixed in stone and therefore becoming more conscious about what we’re reflecting out to the world about ourselves, as a result of our personal appearance, is important.
When we develop our style in a way that flashes our assets and allows us to focus on what we like about ourselves, our confidence and self-esteem will soar. Age is definitely no barrier and no matter how old we are, it’s never too late to make some changes and start to feel good about ourselves. When we do, we begin to radiate a different energy and our body language changes to reflect our inner confidence. As a result, we are perceived differently too.
If you’re not achieving the results you want e.g. you’re not succeeding in securing your dream job or you’re perfect romantic partner, then maybe it’s time to go back to your personal style drawing board. Whilst we may not like it, there are business dress codes and whilst we can introduce our personal style, sometimes there is an element of conformity.
Have you taken time to consider what your personal style is and whether it’s what you’d like it to be or whether it’s enhancing your results in life?
Invest some time in yourself! The results may surprise you…