Based on a first impression, before you even open your mouth to speak, people judge you — it just takes a matter of seconds — 7, to be exact. Part of personal success is having the ability to project a winning image that creates a powerful first impression. If what you think about yourself and your capabilities is not projected, it leaves a poor impression on people, thus affecting what they think of you. In life’s path toward success, we’re dependent on others…so why not make a conscious decision to influence them in a way that’s beneficial to your cause?
Image Maker Doreen Dove, who began her career as a model for Ann Taylor, advises her clients to know their body, like their body and dress their body. “Stand in front of a mirror and understand what you’re working with,” she says. “Are you petite? Do you have a long torso? Are you rounder? Use style as a tool to take strategic control of your image to empower yourself.” And Miami-based Celebrity Stylist Angie Escamilla agrees. “Feel comfortable with what you’re wearing,” she says. “Don’t follow trends — find what looks good on you and embellish it with confidence, something your wardrobe can’t be without.”
But how does one do that in a practical way without the assistance of a professional? A great source for women is the body type calculator. Based on your measurement, it breaks down different female shapes: The Banana, The Apple, The Pear and The Hourglass. In a 2006 study of more than 6,000 women conducted at North Carolina State University, it was concluded that 46% of women were Bananas; just over 20% were Pears; about 14% were Apples; and only 8% were Hourglasses. The latter is normally accepted as the feminine ideal for Western countries.
Once your body type is identified, it’s time to turn to Miami-based Image Consultant & Imagedd Consulting Founder Diana Diaz Stütz for expert insight. When a client comes to her for advice, she sums up her basic consultation in a few simple steps: The first being perception. “Who are you?,” she asks. “How do you see yourself, and how do others see you? Ask some friends to write down on a piece of paper adjectives that describe you. You’ll be surprised at how you assume others envision you.” Secondly, Diaz Stütz brings up color. “What are the hues that look best on you, they might be completely different from the colors you gravitate toward. Invest in finding this out. Are you warm or are you cool; does orange fare better with your skin tone or fuchsia?” The next thing she mentions is proportion. “Once you’ve figured out the type of body you’re dressing for, tailor your clothes in accordance to your body — in the company of color, that’s the other really important thing to invest in.”
Designer & Celebrity Stylist Rachel Zoe dispenses her expertise by adding to learn to showcase your favorite features. Ask yourself: “What do people mostly compliment me on?”. Now it’s up to you to go and do the research on ways to accentuate those specific parts of your body. “If you want to give the illusion of an extended torso, because yours is not, a long necklace will give that illusion. Also, a wide belt worn a little higher than your waist always creates more of a classic hourglass,” advises Zoe. “Once you know which areas you want to accentuate, focus on necklines, silhouettes, sleeves and hemlines that do just that.”
To help you in your pursuit, it’s also indispensable to buy quality. It’s fundamental. It will be a bit difficult, for example, to put your best foot forward in cheap shoes that harm your feet. Unless you have an unlimited amount of money to invest into your wardrobe, most need to stay within a budget. But sticking to a budget doesn’t have to equate to cheap quality. “Put your stock in good quality and buy natural fibers like silk, cotton, linen, wool and cashmere,” says Diaz Stütz. “There are so many wonderful outlet stores available to us now, it’s about shopping smart.”
“From your posture to the colors you decide to wear — virtually every decision you make before you face the world says something about who you are and how you’re feeling.”
What you have in your wardrobe is also essential. “If you have a shed with no adequate tools, you can’t create a project,” says Dove. Let’s say your personality is that of an introvert who is soft-spoken, with a tendency to be shy, yet you’d like to be seen as more of an assertive, vibrant leader. Dressing in pastels, or overly floral patterns will not send out that message. Some of this might seem like common sense, but it’s incredible how much people fumble in these areas, and part of it is being adept at picking up or being aware how best to be in control of nonverbal language. How we gesticulate, the way we stand, the colors we choose to wear — it’s all communicating something to the world around us.
From your posture to the colors you decide to wear — virtually every decision you make before you face the world says something about who you are and how you’re feeling.
According to a study by Psychological Science, good posture helps us feel more confident, and gestures enlarge our physical presence and help us become dynamic communicators.
A person who is emotionally expressive, but only when he or she wants to be, is fully aware of him or herself, and is good at emotionally “infecting” others — these individuals are considered to have great personal charisma. It’s what our expert in the realm of psychology, Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., describes as, “masters at reading body language and being sensitive and comforting, adjusting their nonverbal communication to make a deep emotional connection.”
The next step in your metamorphosis is to (as the old adage states): ‘walk the walk.’ How is your posture? What does it say about how you feel about yourself? You can’t just depend on the clothes; you need to believe in your new image. Preston Ni, Professor Of Communication Studies & Author of Communication Success With Four Personality Types affirms that it’s about establishing a confident impression. “Stand tall and avoid fidgeting,” he says. “It’s also important to make eye contact, naturally and directly and to smile.” But, he warns, flashing too much of your ivories may give the impression that you’re eager to please and seeking approval. “Lastly, make sure to take pauses when you speak, rambling on is an unattractive trait,” he concludes.
In the end, you need to learn to invest in yourself, and in what you want to achieve. Don’t look back. You’re not going in that direction. Life always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow.