“The way we dress affects the way we think, the way we feel, the way we act, and the way others react to us.” Judith Rasband.
The quote made me think and realize the true value in it. It is widely believed that, on an average one has a total of five seconds to make a good impression when meeting with people and this time doesn’t allow one enough time to speak and create an impression. So, imagine the complexity of this and the importance of these few seconds in case of an interview or meeting a new prospect. Further going into a bit detail in this area it has been found that after a series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Wills and Alexander Todorov they revealed that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face, and longer exposures don’t significantly alter those impressions (although they might boost your confidence in your judgements). They published these interesting facets on first impression in the July 2006 issue of Psychological Science as an article titled “First Impressions.”
On the personal front, looking back, it reminds me of the life experiences shared realized by one of my uncle, a college lecturer who has now since retired. At the height of his youthful days, whenever he needed to borrow money, he used to go to the most happening shop in the town, the owner known and a common friend in the most beautiful and smart dress he could; sometimes in a suit and with a tie. Then he would confidently ask for some money on some pretext or the other, promising to pay in the next pay cycle. And the owner never hesitated; he would gladly handover the money. But, on the other hand, not so long back when he was dressed in a normal manner, the same owner didn’t obliged. So, he gave this example and said this to me in my childhood, as I commenced my journey for higher studies at Guwahati, Assam, India. I too got to see the power of power dressing, when my cousin did the same. My cousin and me were waiting to meet the Director of Technical Education, Assam to get an issue sorted out. The secretary to the director was a man who didn’t allow people to go in. It was an ardent task to meet him. So, my cousin, who was a student in Guwahati University, took the responsibility to get the job done for me. He was dressed in formals and was wearing a safari suit. As we reached, he just knocked the door of the Director and went inside. I don’t know what he said, but after a few minutes I was called and the issue was sorted out. I was surprised, to which my cousin said, see the power of ‘power dressing’. Today, simply my dress and confidence did the job for you and with so much of ease. I never paid heed to these, as I was a firm believer of simple living and good thinking. But, during preparing for a presentation in my engineering days in my college; which was very rare in those days; I was very tensed. I practiced in front of the mirror, but couldn’t find myself comfortable, although I was thorough about the technical details. But, on the penultimate day I planned for a dry run. I dressed to the occasion, with my favourite shirt and trouser and WOW, it was the beginning… I have never ever felt uncomfortable while dealing with people in different platforms, both nationally and internationally.
Analyzing and discussing with such people, who dress smartly, it has been found that these category of people love and like themselves, they are happy with the features they are born; they don’t try to change it but only try to enhance themselves externally by dressing smart. Once, they feel comfortable and satisfied with their dress, they ooze with confidence. Believe me, its time tested and is very true. I am a firm believer of what Maria Sharapova had said, ‘When you look good, you feel good. Confidence with what you are wearing is very important. If you feel good, you will always perform your best without worrying about anything.’ She dresses beautifully, plays tennis with elegance and in this fiercely competitive game she was ranked number one in five occasions. So, she has proved it. For this, the only resource you need is your will power and interest. Choose the best dress you have along with a pair of shoes and wear them tidily to any special occasion. But, before this, try to wear dress gracefully everyday with the available resources you have. Never wear a dress in which you are not comfortable and you do not like seeing yourself. Discard such dress and if necessary create a new wardrobe. Just try and you will feel the difference. But, a word of caution; never try a new dress, not tried at home, to any important occasion like appearing in an interview or making a presentation to an audience or public speaking. If you are not comfortable with the dress or you are not fully sure that it suits you, you will definitely feel uncomfortable and at the end this will be in the back of your mind and you will most likely to flatter.
So, the rules are; first look at yourself in the mirror, introspect, feel blissful the way you are being crafted and where you have no control (you can change yourself by surgery, which is a different aspect altogether). This is what I term as ‘Loving self’. It may sound so simple, but actually it’s a difficult task. You have to be true to yourself to pass through this step successfully. One you are through, the next step is easier. Wear a dress you have and check yourself in the mirror again. If you had learned to love yourself by being content with the way you are, then you will feel comfortable with most of the dress you wear provided they are clean and tidy. Otherwise, even if you say so, you will be uncomfortable. People can understand your situation very easily as you will show signs of uneasiness; adjusting you hair, sweat in your forehead, occasional scratches here and there, uncomfortable seating postures, cross hands, and so on. This reminds me of what John Galliano said, ‘The joy of dressing is an art.’
In my numerous dealings with people, in the various interviews, public meetings, seminars, workshops, conferences etc., I have observed that people who are adequately dressed for the occasion, creates an aura of positivity. People on the other side always treat such people with warmth and believe me, a favorable atmosphere is already created. And so, the battle is already half won. From the experiences in my current profession I can say that people who dress smartly are always at ease, they can speak up and put their views across very nicely. On the flip side, people who are confused, nervous while dealing with people are mostly not adequately dress. So, borrowing from Regina Brett, ‘No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.’
As, Edith Head, an American costume designer had said, ‘You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it’ and also proved it by winning a record eight Academy Awards for Best Costume Design.
So, what stops you; go give a try, change yourself. If you give it a go, it’s a Win-Win situation for you.