Okay so I am using a little artistic licence here. I am not interested in talking about a 10 week wheatgrass detox, I am not a nutritionist or personal trainer and I am not in a position to tell others how to get the body of their dreams!
What I’d like to focus on is image in more general and achievable terms.
We are all shapes and sizes and we each have physical characteristics that we like and those we really don’t! That applies to even those people publicly extolled for their good looks.
Let’s face it, whoever you are, and whatever you look like, some people will think you are gorgeous and others will think a different look is more appealing. In much the same way as my Mum not being able to stand coriander and me happily eating it straight from the pot..!
You will never be all things to all people, so who should you be trying to please? Well, you should be at the top of your list, that’s for sure. Some might say that is all that matters, that you are happy with your appearance. But we are human, and we want to be accepted and respected and admired. It’s in our nature.
There are some things you cannot easily change, control or influence, the most obvious being your age, so, let’s appraise what you have that you can do something about.
1. Sort out your Barnet!
For those who might not know – Barnet is cockney rhyming slang for hair! Barnet Fair = Hair
Are you still sporting the same ‘do’ you first commissioned in 1989? Are you wearing your hair a little too long in hopes it will belie your true age? Have you got roots that would safely secure an oak or frizz that would get the burnt on scrambled egg off that non stick pan?
Perhaps it’s time to get a ‘do review’ and seek a professional opinion on what is right for you. The right hair style can dramatically change your image, make you look younger (yes, It’s true!) and even slimmer!
Clean and fragrant well styled hair will be your crowning glory and most importantly, it will make you feel better about yourself.
2. Eyes and teeth baby, eyes and teeth!
Invest in both. If you are self conscious about smiling because you don’t like your teeth it is well worth spending a little time and money to get them looking good. Again, good teeth suggest youth, vitality and health.
If you wear glasses, ask people for their honest opinion about the shape you have chosen, or speak to your optician to make sure you are choosing frames which suit your face. The difference is incredible when you get the right specs for you. And manage those eyebrows – they play an important part in the way your face communicates but it should be subtle and sometimes all you can see is a pair of eyebrows which is very distracting!
3. Dress to impress
You really do not need to spend a lot of money to look your best. You do need to choose clothes that suit you though.
Too tight? Unattractive bulges and straining seams are never going to give you the feel good factor.
Too loose and baggy? Will make you look disheveled and bigger than you are.
Crumpled and creased? – Suggests you don’t have pride in yourself, and that could reflect on your work and your relationships.
Covered in dog/cat hair? As above!
Smell musty..? That ‘dried on the radiator when the radiator wasn’t on’ smell, or the smell of cooking that permeated your clothes when they were on the airer in the kitchen – not a great way to create a good impression, and you will feel self conscious all day.
Does the shoe fit? Shoes should be comfortable enough for you to walk with confidence. Being squashed into something that causes you to hobble after 15 minutes will make you miserable. I always look at shoes. If they are dirty and scuffed and ‘down at heel’ then all the Armani in the world won’t matter. Keep them clean get them re-heeled and make sure they fit.
Buy classic pieces that work together for ‘professional you’, that doesn’t mean you have to wear suits – not many businesses do these days. But a well fitted pair of jeans and a cool shirt or t-shirt worn with a classic jumper or jacket and some natty trainers or boots is a great look.
Of course we can wear whatever we like in our down time and behind closed doors, but when you go anywhere, make sure it fits, it’s clean and it suits you! Bumping into a prospect in Sainsbury’s in your old tracky bottoms with last nights curry on your t-shirt will not do you any favours..!
And yes, perhaps you could lose/gain some weight, get a bit fitter, lose a few wrinkles, have a little nip or a tuck – but realistically your professional image should be either understated and discreet (if that is your preference) or truly representative of who you are and what you do – at worst it can be a massive distraction and a talking (behind your back) point.
Don’t try and kid yourself that people won’t notice if you don’t make an effort, because they absolutely will. We are very quick to judge and knowing that means we can guess at what others will decide about us from the way we present ourselves to the world. Use that information to your own benefit.
If you are wondering if you’re getting it right, find three people you know and trust but who aren’t too close and ask them to be brutally honest and give you their opinion of your image. Promise them you will not take umbrage, explain that you would rather hear it from them and deal with it than have people talking about you – and if they all three say the same things independently of each other, then you know you need to make some changes. If they all have different opinions then you have to make the decision for yourself.
Be you, but be the best you.