Saturday, March 17, 2012

Being deliberate is being well dressed

Many years ago, someone said something to me about being well dressed and I have never forgotten it.

Interestingly, I have forgotten who told me, but the comment has stuck with me like glue.

The comment which was made to me was that "being well dressed requires one thing & one thing only - "to be deliberate about your appearance, from top to toe".

First lets clarify what this means & then I will give you a great example which recently came up.

In this image industry you are always hearing about wearing the right colours, knowing your body shape and dressing for it, knowing your style type and dressing for it, blah, blah, blah. These guidelines are all well & good, but ultimately if you want to summarise the "blah, blah, blah" into one phrase its "
be deliberate about your appearance, from top to toe".

Being deliberate means that as long as you have thought about what you are wearing/how your hair/make up looks etc, then you ARE presenting the most appropriate "you" and this is what being stylish is all about. The knock on effect is that if you are well dressed, you will give the appearance that you care about "you" and others will respect and care about you too.

In the alternative, if you dress without putting any thought into your clothes, hair, make up etc etc, you will present sloppy and unprepared, like YOU dont care about "you". If that's the impression you choose to give out, how is anyone else going to care about you or respect you?

I certainly dont want the latter scenario going on in my life! Do you? I didnt think so.


Lets look at the example I found recently - here is a recent photo of Elizabeth Olsen, the 23 year old aspiring actor who is the sibling of the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

She is wearing:

Jacket - Chanel
Dress - The Row (MK & A's high end label)

Shoes - Chanel

When I posted this on my Facebook site and asked for feedback, readers came back with comments like:

- too old
- she should stop wearing The Row
- too boring

- a dont

No one posted anything positive.

Today I was in the city & having forgotten my camera, I had time to think about all sorts of things. This photo came to mind - random, yes I know, but its better than thinking about it in the shower, eh?

Nothing in this photo looks deliberate.

OMIGOD! Yes, that's it.

1. The hair isnt wavy & it isnt straight. It just looks unstyled.

2. The jacket and dress dont look co-ordinated - dont get me wrong - I am not talking about matchy-matchy - I am talking about having added an element to pull them together (even though they are separates) - maybe via some jewellery, a belt, something.....

3. Her neckline looks like she forgot something - jewellery perhaps?

4. The jacket looks too big.

5. The shoes, well they are lovely alone, but are cutting her off at the ankles.

6. It looks like she has put on a jacket, dress and shoes & walked out the door without even checking in the mirror.

7. Hey I wonder if she even put on any undies - oops, lets not go there.

This photo shows a classic non deliberate look. The "image" she is projecting is neither here nor there. It looks like she is in fashion no man's land.

I realise being deliberate in the way you dress does take time & effort - achieving anything good does. But considering how important your visual impression is, isn't it worth the time spent to be deliberate about your appearance?

Tips for being deliberate

1. Plan your clothes/accessories/look from the night before (especially if you work).

Frankly, this is my favourite part - I have collected so many beautiful things over the years, I deliberately think/rotate (especially my jewellery) so I dont forget anything.

2. Make sure the pieces you need for tomorrow are available, dont need mending & are not still sitting in the dirty laundry basket.

3. If you have worn an outfit in the past and it worked well, take a photo and place it on the wardrobe door, so you dont forget the elements that made it special. for next time.

4. Always keep a spare pair of hose at work (if you tend to wear hose).

5. No visible panty lines (VPL), no bra fat & get fitted for a bra every 2 years or if you have had a major body change (like gotten pregnant). No exceptions here.

6. Before you walk out the door, take a look at "you" in a full length mirror. No exceptions here.

7. Being deliberate applies to men as much as it does to women.

Where to from here?

Yes, I am making sure you dont miss this part.....

Of course being deliberate requires you to know what impression you want to make.

I have posted many times about "know thyself" - by knowing who you are and what you like, what you need and what you are comfortable with, you can then easily decide what impression to make. This is SO crucial to the big sartorial picture folks - I cant underestimate this enough.

If you happen to be uncertain about your "look" - perhaps in a bit of a fashion no man's land? - let me know - I can help you with this.

Once you know what impression you want to make, the next phase is to learn to use clothes/grooming to make that impression. I can help you here too! That's where body shape analysis, colour analysis etc comes in.

...and we'll cover this type of analysis in future posts too.....until then.....ciao


  1. Perhaps a fresh pair of eyes will help. My style is too mish mosh methinks....

  2. Ren - I'd love to know what sort of clothes are "mish mosh".....just describe some typical outfits....Val