Last week, I got invited to present at a workshop with a group of up and coming corporate execs. In my old life I wouldn’t have thought too much about it but now, as a full time mum and ‘entrepreneur’ it was initially a bit daunting – not least because the topic was ‘Image at Work’.
As I prepared the materials and reflected on my own experience I found a great article by Adrian Snood . Here he shows a bald, tattooed guy dressed in T-shirt and Jeans, side by side with the same guy in a doctor’s coat and stethoscope. It may have been a extreme comparison, but really helped hit home that what you wear affects what people think and even how they treat you. Studies have even shown than people are more likely to trust a doctor’s diagnosis if he is wearing a stethoscope when briefing you than if he didn’t?! Tragic but true.
It only takes about 7 seconds when meeting someone to decide what your opinion is of them. Even worse if it is bad, it can take 20 further interactions to change that opinion. In 7 seconds there’s not a lot of deep and meaningful stuff that can come across despite our best efforts and fabulous personalities. It’s all superficial, and whilst it is hugely frustrating (especially for those of us that are ‘take us as we are’ types), it is inbuilt. It is simply the way all our brains deal with too much information – we use visual cues to short cut our judgments.
The trouble is it’s not as simple as you think to look polished AND unique, to make sure you fit in AND stand out all at the same time. Creating fixed rules can feel unnecessary and restrictive so instead my favourite tip when buying / choosing clothes for any occasion is to simply think about the 4 F’s…
– FORTIFY your personality
Clearly some people just get it, but most of us have to work on it AND in reality we are limited by the choice of clothes around us.
So I left with a spring to my step (or it could have been a limp from wearing killer heals for 3 hours?). I reckon the solution we have at AURZA could be incredibly powerful for solving a lot of the challenges we all face about consciously choosing the image we want to project without compromise, irrespective of whether we are at work or on a night out with the girls. It’s got me thinking about how we provide more support for the design process through our website and party plan and how to update my own style now that the little ones are not so little!
At the end of the day our mission is simple – we want every women to feel fabulous and we reckon that if we get this right you wont ever have to worry about the first 7 seconds again! It would be great to get your thoughts on what you think we could do to help too…..
Steph and Jess