Do You Dress for Success or Stress? How to Tell, and What to Do!

Colleen Hammond Have you ever heard of “Appearance-Related Anxiety”? It’s a thing! It’s when what you’re wearing causes you more anxiety and stress, and that’s what we’re going to be
talking about today! Click the SUBSCRIBE button, then the bell! Hi and welcome! If we haven’t met yet, I’m Colleen Hammond. So make sure you subscribe and hit the bell so that we can keep in touch. And if you’ve ever at any point been stressed out by what you’re wearing or trying to figure out what to wear, leave me a comment below. But let’s talk about what “dressing for stress” really means. Because what you wear does speak to your level of confidence and my level of confidence. You judged me right away. If this is the first time you saw me, you judged me right away before I even opened my mouth. OK let’s say you made an assessment. And knowing that and knowing that people judge us can sometimes cause us stress. But what we wear and why we wear those particular things can have a big impact on the amount of anxiety that you feel. So the power of first impressions are very very powerful. You know that first impressions are lasting impressions. And it’s because a thing called “Confirmation Bias”. And it’s just a big scientific term that means once our brain has made up its mind about someone or something it looks for evidence to prove that. So if you think redheads are dumb, anytime you meet a redhead you’re going to assume that they’re not that smart. So that’s the power of first impressions. So how you present, or how we all present ourselves to the world based on our appearance what we’re wearing how do we do our hair and makeup — that can impact our relationships and it also can impact our self-esteem how others feel about us and how we feel about ourselves. So there’s a few different areas that can cause a high amount of stress and some things to be looking out for. Number one. Is somebody else determining what you wear? Oftentimes we’re in relationships whether it be in friendships, in personal relationships, or even with our parents where they’re telling us what we should be wearing. And there’s some warning signs to look out for. So let’s talk about friendships first. And I use the word friendships in loose terms because if your friend is determining what you are wearing and telling you that you need to wear these things and you’re not comfortable in them? That’s kind of a toxic relationship. Not kind of. I have a whole series on toxic people that you should probably benefit from learning how to set those boundaries with people because it really helped me too. So if your friend is constantly criticizing what you’re wearing — regardless of your preferences — that’s a person that’s to be avoided. And that’s an unhealthy relationship. Now that being said there’s a difference between that and somebody that you respect their opinion and they help you pick out things that you’re comfortable in that you like. What we’re talking about is people who insist that you wear things that you don’t like. OK so those are friendships then if you have a significant other that’s very controlling. By that we mean that person tells you what to wear and whether you like it or not. Same thing is like a friendship situation but also a significant other could say that you wear one set of clothing or outfits, hair, makeup, whatever when you’re around them. But you wear or don’t wear other things. You know like, “OK when you’re with me, you do your hair and makeup. But when you’re NOT with me, you’re NOT to do your hair and makeup.” That is exhibiting abusive behavior as well. So if you’re dressing, at any point, to fulfill someone else’s idea of who you need to be or who you are in order to gain their approval or their love that’s a very shallow relationship. And you need to really consider the importance of removing that relationship, if possible, from your life. The third person is the parent. Now we’re not talking about your minor and you’re still living underneath your parents roof. Sorry. What we’re talking about if you’re an adult you’re 30 years old, you’re 40 years old, you’re 25 years old, and your parents are still trying to be hypercritical of what you’re wearing. And then if you’re past the age that that’s appropriate and picking out your own clothing where your family says they’re not going to accept you (or your parents won’t accept you) because of, based on what you’re wearing? That’s something to analyze. You know. It could just be them sensing… Exhibiting control. It could be that they’re having a crisis in their life. But we also have to be considerate of the fact that, too, maybe they have a point. But if it’s not valid don’t worry about. OK. The second way we can see that we’re dressing for stress is “Careless Couture”. What do we mean by that. There’s a difference between dressing casual and dressing sloppy and careless. So being thoughtless about what we’re wearing isn’t prudent, number one. But sometimes people just aren’t motivated and they’re sensing a feeling of depression. And they’re not motivated to make an effort with their appearance or they’re too stressed out. They’re standing in front of… My
closet is over there! They’re standing in front of their closet going, “I can’t figure out what to wear, I have
a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.” Or they feel that no matter what they wear they’re going to feel rejected. So they just give up. “I just I’m just going to wear my hair in a ponytail I’m not going to bother put makeup on and I’m just wearing sweats.” There’s nothing wrong with having enough self-esteem that you don’t care what other people think. But there’s also being appropriate and realizing that everything in life comes with consequences. Because people do judge us. That’s a fact. So you can say, “I can wear whatever I want!” Yes you can. You cannot follow that up with,”And people can’t judge me!” Because they will! So our actions all have consequences and the consequences of Careless Couture is that you look careless, and you look sloppy, and you look look like you don’t care. And then, consequently, people will treat you differently. And that can also have an impact on your self-esteem because you’re exhibiting or experiencing rejection. So our clothing needs to be appropriate for the situation. If we’re at work, we wear work clothing. If we’re going to a funeral you’re not going to wear fuzzy bunny slippers to a funeral. If you’re going to a job interview you’re not going to wear pajamas. If you’re going to the store. You’re not going to wear pajamas. Please. So we’ve all seen that right or we’ve all had to run to the store for one reason or another. I’m talking about a regular basis. So your clothing choices do impact how other people perceive you. Are they right? Maybe. Maybe not. But 97 percent of the time when somebody has made a first impression? 97 percent of the time, they don’t change their mind. So those first impressions are really lasting impressions. The third way we know that we’re dressing for stress is it’s disguising low self-esteem. And there’s three places that we can really see someone disguising their low self esteem, because they feel like they have to dress to compensate, because they don’t feel they measure up. The first way. And we see this a lot in our our young adults is they feel they have to dress a certain way to fit in with a certain crowd. And this can go on into adulthood too. So it’s not just young adults. Also they are dressing in a way that calls attention to themselves. I read a book that was written in 1862 1862! You know, what was that? 150 years ago. That said, “When a young lady doesn’t feel that she has enough intelligence, character, or personality to offer she’ll dress in outlandish ways to get to draw attention to herself.” And I think that still is true today. Now there’s a difference between somebody that has a really flashy personality and people who go out of their way to dress in a certain manner to draw attention to themselves because they’re dealing with low self-esteem. The third way we know that this is true is that a person will be obsessive about following trends. And they have to have the latest styles and the latest fashions. And they talk about it because they want to be recognized for being “leading edge” and very fashion forward. They want to be recognized for that. And again this is a way that can lead to very shallow connections. And it keeps you from forming strong emotional bonds and relationships with people because you don’t have that sense of confidence. And confidence, joy, and exuberance is what attracts people. When a person walks into a room and they’re all slumped over you know that’s not attractive! But when somebody comes into a room and they’re bright and shiny and they’re carrying themselves with a sense of confidence, that’s attractive to people. So that’s what people are attracted to is that confidence. The fourth way we know we’re dressing for stress is that we dress uncomfortably. I don’t mean like the occasional pair of shoes that we wear. You know, “I’m going to wear these four inch heels because it’s going to be perfect with this outfit and it’s a perfect event.” I mean every single solitary item we own is uncomfortable. They could be high four inch heels. It could be a pair of skinny jeans that we won’t get away… Give away but they’re a size too small. And once we put them on, when we leave we don’t even go to the bathroom because we know we never get them zipped back up again. Or maybe a belt or something around the middle is so tight we can’t even eat because this thing is so tight. Dressing uncomfortably is showing that you’re not confident or you don’t have… Your dressing at the expense of your physical comfort, which isn’t prudent. It’s not wise. It’s not smart. So it’s hard to feel good. Besides that it’s hard to feel good when your feet hurt. If the dogs are barkin’, it’s hard to really think about anything else because you’re like, “Errr..when can I take the shoes off? You know, I have flats in my purse to get to the car. I’m not wearing these shoes to the car!” type of thing. And if your internal organs… You can’t eat because your clothing is so tight it’s not really wise. So that’s another sign of someone that’s dressing for stress. Because you’re either dressing from external pressures, or from what you see in the media, or Instagram, or somebody that’s FaceTuned themselves. Or maybe there’s your own beliefs about clothing. “Fashion has to be uncomfortable!” And it really doesn’t. You really end up setting yourself up for increased anxiety when you’re doing that. So do any of those kind of ring a bell or make sense to you or someone that you know? Because next up we’re going to talk about how to dress in an unstressed, Dress for Success. Because some people you look at them and it just seems effortless. Every time you see them they’re just pulled together and… But you know, that used to be taught in schools. Up until the 70s there was the Home Ec Movement it started in the late 1800’s. So for over 100 years, how to dress for your body type, your coloring, how to dress for unique bodily characteristics, your personality, how to send a message, how… You know… How to set a table. All of that was taught in schools up until the 70s and then they pulled it all out. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t taught this stuff! You know, sometimes we look at people we think they either have their own Image Consultant. They have a lot of money, or you know, you just don’t know how they pull it off. But there are secrets and there are tips. So again look in the notes below I have some ideas for you, too. So first of all, you want to dress for you. Your personality. Your career. You have the message that you want to send. And we don’t want to be worried about what other people think. There’s technically seven Style Personalities, and we are normally a combination of three of those. Sometimes just two. But dressing for yourself, and the message that you want to send, because then you are authentic to you. And when you feel comfortable and you feel authentic, then you present a confident appearance. I have a client that’s an attorney. She’s a trial attorney during the day and on the weekends she sings in a rock band. She dresses two different ways. But for her authentic self, she has some jewelry pieces and things that you can’t see from a jury box. But as a trial attorney she can wear that’s authentic to her rocker chic, right? So you’re dressing for yourself and not ever anyone else. However keeping in mind that we are sending a message with the things that we are wearing. So considering what looks good and what doesn’t. That also doesn’t mean you don’t want to reflect the best of who you are. What we want to do is draw attention to your face. Into your eyes. And too, because the eyes are the window to the soul and let other people decide when they see this as opposed to deciding about you based on your fuzzy bunny slippers. Think about what you wear. Clothing takes planning. And these people that seem like they effortlessly pull things together? Either number one they plan it out. Or number two they have the perfect capsule wardrobe. So no matter what they pull out of their closet it’s going to work. It’s going to mix and match work together. More than likely, they planned it out. What about meal plans? You know a lot of households have meal plans. When you go to the grocery store and you go shopping you have a shopping list. These things are planned. And it’s the same thing with our outfits. So look through Pinterest. See what types of things you like. And there’s a lot of things you can emulate by seeing it in the picture and then deciding, “Do I have those types of things in my closet?” So when you do that, and you can put together an outfit, don’t you have an outfit that you just you know if it’s a special occasion you think, “OK, I know and I’m going to wear because that’s my favorite outfit.” We all have an outfit. My clients have a closet full of outfits that make them look and feel amazing. But we all have “that one outfit”! And people come to me, when they first start working with me, they have one outfit they know makes them look amazing. So it doesn’t come by accident. We all know, “That thing looks good on us.” It’s just figuring out why it looks good on us. So don’t hide behind what you think people want you to be. Don’t dress in ways that don’t reflect who you really are. You want to dress who you really are. You don’t want to have clothes that pinch or pull, or chafe, or don’t make you feel good — either about yourself as a person on the inside, or your body doesn’t feel good. So looking amazing doesn’t have to make you unhappy. It doesn’t have to make you uncomfortable. And it doesn’t have to make you feel stressed out. Because that can lead to anxiety and problems in other areas. So. Have you ever been frustrated and not known what you’re going to wear? Leave it in the comments for me below! And make sure you like comment and give us a follow. And we’ll see you next time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *