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The quote might have oversimplified the importance of the way you dress, but important it is nevertheless.
Try to think of the three most impressive people you met in your life, or that left a lasting impact on you. Now think of the way they were dressed when you met them. Did they dress better or worse than an average person? Did they have a distinct or well-put together style that complemented their personality? More times than not, the answer to this would be a yes.
There’s a reason fashion continues to pull major money and awe in the world. It does not matter whether or not you follow fashion or think that it is meant for a certain gender, or feel that you cannot afford to spend on the way you dress. The truth (albeit simplified) of the matter is that the way you dress does have paramount importance, in the way you are perceived and responded to. This is not only true in personal life (especially when going for dates and meeting potential love partners), but also in your professional life equally. (Related: Job Interview Tips: Nail Every Interview You Walk Into)
I strongly believe that the way a person feels on the inside reflects on the outside. Simply wearing a great designer dress will not transform you into a powerhouse. Simply wearing the latest shoes will not speak volumes about your intellect. Your personality, sense of style and how well the clothes fit the occasion will be critical in the kind of impression you will set.
Here’s why I think the way you dress matters more than we realise.
It shows a way to reflect your personality through the medium of what you wear.
Even though it is hard to generalise, there are remarkable similarities between the way people dress. Fashion editors do not dress the same as a tech startup employee. College kids do not dress the same as working people. When you are in a certain phase of life, it pays to invest in your own unique style and how you express yourself through the medium of clothes. If it were not at all important to be creative in the way you dress, we would never have reached a point where such a thing as ‘luxury items’ existed. We wouldn’t care at all about how we look on important occasions such as parties or weddings. The more distinct your sense of style is, the more value it brings to the way you dress. You do not have to look like you came straight from a Dior runway show, nor do you have to be dressed as a Coachella hipster all year around. What you do need to find out are a few key statement items that pull your look together and make you look amazing on a daily basis.
The way you dress creates a lasting first impression and we all know first impressions matter.
“Dress for the outcome you hope to achieve” when thought about makes a lot of sense. In this world of excessive exposure, people copying each other on social media and real life, it pays to stand out. You do not need a personal shopper to be able to stand out. Apart from what you wear, just an accessory that you carry could make all the difference. I have an obsession with jewellery, and even if the person wears the most regular clothes but has a piece of something unique on them, I love it. I love how a small accessory that you probably picked on your gap year abroad can be the first thing some one notices about you and spark a conversation. I have even had talks with completely random strangers based on what I was wearing/carrying or what they were.
If you dress well, it reflects that you are the kind of person who puts thought and effort into your appearance.
Maybe, this comes from me being a Type A personality more days than I’m not. To me, a shabby appearance indicates a person who does not take themselves seriously. I mean I get it if you plan to live alone in a camper van or want to live a minimalist life. In fact I can seriously admire people who are able to live away from other humans because I cannot. At least not for long. One can still put a decent look together with a few handful things to wear. This also means getting the basics of grooming to go with what you wear. Like I said, you can create a good impression just by taking care of your hairstyle, skin and basic grooming! None of this needs to break the bank, but involves dedicating time to groom yourself well, even if that happens twice a month. Getting regular haircuts, shaving when you need to shave, taking a regular shower and smelling good can quickly add up to how you look and how people perceive the way you look. I, for one, feel 5x better when I take ten minutes to look after myself.
It attracts like-minded people.
Have you ever heard that birds of the same feather flock together? There’s a reason me and my best-friends have a lot of things in common. A LOT of it has to do with how we express ourselves with what we wear. In fact, some of my best moments have been spent bonding with my friends doing absolutely ridiculous things like a Sunday Self Care day or even beauty sleepovers where we would put a face mask and watch movies back to back. I get that this is beginning to get a bit too personal, but you get the idea.
The way you dress will undoubtedly be important for the kind of people you are able to attract. Why? Because it reflects how confident you are in your body and how you express it. This creates a pull towards people who are operating on more or less the same wavelength. It sounds shallow, but well this is true more often than it’s not. I get that we shouldn’t look good for anyone else, but we should look good for ourselves and the kind of people we’d like to attract to ourselves (especially in our personal/romantic lives). I mean, isn’t everything we do on a daily basis related to a need we want to fulfill for ourselves anyway?
It enables you to to be creative in ways you didn’t think you needed to be.
Last, but certainly not the least. The way you dress allows you to express your creativity. There is a reason people that are depressed, often dress like it. When you do not feel good on the inside, you do not feel like you want to make the effort to look good on the outside. This does not mean you can cure depression just by looking after the way you dress, but what it does mean is that the way you look really can help you express a side of you that you never thought existed. You don’t need to be a successful musician or dancer or singer. You can be the artist of your very own life. And that starts with the way you look after yourself and most certainly the way you dress.
Take the time to invest in yourself, and the way you dress. It matters more than you think!
Shruti’s a digital marketer by day and ninja travel blogger by night. Two years ago, she left her post-MBA life in India to chase some new adventures and now calls Germany home. On this website she shares her tips on how to travel smarter, cheaper and longer. When she’s not working or blogging, she is out exploring new places, mastering yoga challenges or sipping masala chai while scrolling through Instagram.