While a classy woman has many different facets to her, I continually receive the most requests for content on how to dress elegantly, and with good reason. Although it is not the most important aspect of who we are as a lady (our internal characteristics are), our overall appearance is what others will see first when they meet us and how we choose to put ourselves together speaks volumes. It is important to convey who we are through many means including our personal sense of style, which is a first glimpse that draws others in to continue to learn more about us. My goal for today’s post is to share with you the reasons why it is so valuable to dress well as often as possible.
There are many times in life when we may not necessarily feel like putting in the extra effort to dress up. Maybe we just need to do a quick late night run to the grocery store for a loaf of bread or gallon of milk, perhaps we’re headed to the carpool lane to swing by and drop off/pick up the kids from school, or we may not feel the need to wear anything fancy to workout in since it’s ‘only the gym’. Whatever our reasons, I’m going to reveal why it is worth your time to put in a little extra effort, which goes beyond just being aesthetically pleasing to others.
Like you, I’m only human, and while I love a good reason to dress up in a chic new outfit or wear my Sunday best but the truth is, with a little one to chase after these days as I know many of you can relate to, sometimes the additional time required to look pulled-together before leaving the house (and not like a frumpy mommy whose been sitting on the floor playing with a toddler and picking up crumbs and spills all day), can sometimes feel unnecessary and time consuming. One thing I promised myself before my daughter was born was that no matter how tired I was or how crazy things got with a wee one, I wouldn’t go out in public in sweats and milk stained t-shirts and daily showers were non-negotiable. I also vowed to be as presentable as possible for myself and my husband inside our home. It’s so important to keep that piece of yourself regardless of how life changes after children, and it definitely changes.
No matter what we do for a living or how we spend our day (whether it’s spent in the workforce, at home solo, with our kiddos or even in retirement), the truth is that what we wear, although exterior, matters and as the saying goes you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Like it or not, a big factor in how others perceive us is our physical appearance. We send a subtle message to others with how we speak as well as our non-verbal cues along with our attire. The good news is, like the other two forms of communication, our attire is definitely something within our control. Dressing well can be made simple if you know a few tricks allowing you to get out the door quickly so a frumpy, disheveled look will never be an option again!
Dressing well doesn’t mean you need to don head-to-toe designer labels nor does it mean you have to be outfitted in a dress or skirt everyday all day, there are many ways to dress up even the most casual outfit in jeans. However, your clothing does need to be well cared for and of quality even though hefty price tags are not required. In today’s post I’m focusing on why you will want to dress well, followed up by a post next week on the specifics of what constitutes a ‘well dressed’ look so that you can nail it every time!
1. People Will Take You Seriously – When we are well groomed we become more approachable to others. Not only in everyday personal life but especially in the workplace, you’ll notice a difference when you up the ante on your outfit game. Superiors at work will pay attention and take you more seriously. When you are new to the workforce and still quite young you’ll appear older and more sophisticated which can be advantageous and the reverse is also true in that as you mature, you’ll be viewed as stylish and ultimately more youthful-both are definitely a plus. On the contrary, dressing without much consideration says one thing only: that you didn’t care enough to put in the effort to dress better. No matter what level of income we earn or our occupation, we can all agree that clean, pressed, well-fitting clothing that is appropriate for our daily routine and is also in good repair just shows that we take pride in our appearance and respect who we are as a woman. It all comes down to this: Dress how you want to be Addressed.
2. Your Self-Confidence will Increase –We all know how it feels when we wear a brand new pair of killer heels or a beautiful new dress. It gives us an extra swing in our step and boosts our spirit and in turn we stand taller, lift our head high and exude self-assurance not to mention the fact that you may even receive some compliments along the way. Why wait for a special occasion to look fabulous, it’s something we can do for ourselves each and everyday that radiates to those around us and can positively impact our life in so many different ways. Confidence makes others feel as though we are capable and will only help bring new opportunities our way.
3. You’ll Appear More Trustworthy – This may sound like an odd point to consider, however if you had a choice between loaning your car to a well dressed person for the day or to an unkempt person, who would you choose? Exactly. If it appears we cannot take care of ourselves properly, why would someone entrust us with a great new career advancement that comes with an increase in responsibility? When people see that you take pride in your appearance they know that you’ll do the same in every other area of your life also, they can rest assured that their business (or in the case of friends-personal possessions) are in good hands.
4. You’ll Be More Prepared – How many times have you gone to run an errand looking your worst and that’s precisely when you bump into someone you know? We’ve all been there. What’s worse is that sometimes the person you meet is someone new, you get chit chatting and find out they’re hiring for your dream job or equally as cringe-worthy, you bump into a handsome stranger who you can’t be yourself around because you’re feeling so self-conscious the whole time about your poor wardrobe choice and lack of even basic makeup that you can’t focus or think about anything else. Like setting the tone for an interview before you’ve even opened your mouth, dressing well and early can ensure that your day begins in an organized fashion, so you’re not caught off guard but rather well prepared for whatever comes your way. Personally speaking, the days I’m inside and don’t get dressed into something decent first thing (this is often typical for those who work from home), it just makes the rest of the day drag and I always feel less productive.
5. Others Will Feel Respected – For the same reasons that you wouldn’t want to invite someone into your home or car at its absolute worst (at least I hope you wouldn’t! *If this is you, definitely read my post on how to keep a clean car), you don’t want to offend others by wearing dirty, wrinkled clothing that appears as though you’ve slept in it. There’s a reason why people spend a lot of time preparing to get dressed up for big events such as weddings and take extra care in choosing an outfit for church, because they are attending an event that calls for respect and want to honor that. When people feel respected around you they’ll feel more comfortable around you.
6. You’ll Become More Engaged in Life –There have been a number of times that I haven’t wanted to go somewhere, have my photo taken or to be in a family video because I didn’t love what I was wearing at the time or hadn’t put on makeup that day (I just always feel better when I at least have the basics working for me-a little blush, mascara and tinted lip gloss on). Those uncomfortable moments of not wanting to be in front of the camera or just front and center in your own life change when you choose to put in the extra effort to dress well and do so early in the day. You then are essentially ‘ready’ for life and will have so many more wonderful memories and experiences to reflect back on in years to come instead of wishing you had been more prepared, polished and joined in on the fun. Let’s face it, when we look cute, we want to document it! Am I right?
7. You’ll Maximize Your Wardrobe Investment –We all know people who have rooms in their home that nobody ever uses or sits in (I always think that’s such a waste of square footage) or fine china that only sits in the cabinet collecting dust. We can often be the same with clothing in that we own beautiful pieces and they sit awaiting the perfect occasion. Guess what? The fact that you are living and breathing is the perfect occasion. You can easily get more wear out of dressier pieces by wearing them to more than just the office or a special event. There are so many ways to dress a garment up or down so that a variety of looks can be created thus expanding your existing wardrobe. Speaking of stretching your wardrobe, ready my 8 tips to maximize your wardrobe budget so you can stop buying clothing that you’ll never wear.
8. It Increases Your Standards – People who dress in a polished manner typically treat all of their spaces and possessions in a similar manner. Their home is neat and filled with the best of what they can afford at the time and their car is tidy and well maintained. You expect more of yourself in a good way. One area of your life spills into another, so it’s important to lead with your best foot in all areas including in what you choose to wear.
9. You’ll Be Motivated to Get & Stay Fit – One of the side effects of intentionally being well dressed is that you’ll want to wear those pretty pieces that have been hiding in your closet and drawers which are just a touch too tight or that you would feel more confident in if your stomach was a bit flatter or if your arms were more toned (you know, the pieces that have been pushed to the back of your closet for that very reason in the hopes of losing a few pounds). It’s unfortunate to have beautiful garments not being worn due to a few stubborn pounds. This ties into increasing your standards, you set a higher standard for your own health and fitness too because we feel best in clothing that fits us properly and comfortably. Let’s not forget that when you do get into great shape, you’ll want to show off all the hard work of creating your newly updated physique as often as possible.
10. You’ll Be More Focused on Quality vs. Quantity- A good wardrobe has a mix of many different classic pieces along with some trendy statement pieces also, over time some may wear better than others. What you’ll find is that again and again you’ll reach for the pieces that keep their color instead of fading, don’t tend to have loose threads after a few washes, are properly lined, keep their shape, aren’t slightly see-thru (unless that is the look of a particular piece), are comfortable and soft, have buttons that don’t need to be re-attached because the washer has pulled them off. You’ll also stop buying cheap shoes realizing that this is truly an area where you get what you pay for. As such, your wardrobe will become smaller as you increasingly become more discriminating in your taste. This is a good thing though! Less clutter lets you get straight to the essential pieces without wading through your closet hanger after hanger avoiding a collection of mediocre blouses or ill-fitting jeans that used to be your go-to but don’t flatter your curves anymore. When buying new pieces, you’ll also notice that you are more selective about bringing home garments that will last, saving up and investing in them vs. buying what happens to be on sale, available in the moment or just a great deal you can’t pass up.
I hope today’s post helped you identify new reasons to make dressing well a priority. Ultimately though, at the end of the day it comes down to good manners- the cornerstone to making others feel comfortable in our presence which goes beyond just how we act, speak or treat someone. Being well dressed truly is a beautiful form of politeness.
*Update: I’ve already started to receive a few messages asking where the burgundy lace dress in the photo above is from. While I don’t have the exact match, I’m linking to some very similar lace and lace overlay dresses for you from a few of my favorite designers in varying lengths. Many come in the same burgundy tone (this dress in auburn along with this dress in auburn with a bit more sparkle are two of my favorites!), but there are so many other colors options to choose from that are equally as elegant, most are offered in both regular + petite sizing plus some are currently on sale.