“Clothes Maketh The Man - Naked people have little or no influence on society.' – Mark Twain
While this quote from U.S. humourist and writer, Mark Twain is a little bit tongue-in-cheek, it still has plenty to offer as far as advice. Without getting too graphic, our appearance says a lot about us as people, and our clothes, hair, and accessories are a large part of that. Like a uniform that clearly shows what someone does for a living, like a police officer for example, our clothes say something about us as people.
A certain amount of our style is personal choice, as we are pretty sure there are certain things you wouldn’t dream of being seen in, but our style is also a way of representing ourselves to the world. This means that we are making a declaration of who we are and what we like with our appearances, and so much of this is reflected in the opinions of others.
You may be the type of person who couldn’t really care less what others thought of you. You may feel that your clothes and style are your own choice and that it has nothing to do with anyone else. Afterall, it’s not your problem if people make misguided assumptions about you based on your appearance, is it?
However, sadly, this is not always the case.
If you have ever dressed up in formal clothes like a suit or a gown (for the ladies!), you may have noticed how you were treated differently by those around you. You may have found people being more polite to you in public than when you wear trainers and jeans or a tracksuit. This is a form of snobbery, since you are the same person whatever you wear, but it does have a definite effect on your life. It is why we get dressed up for job interviews, for example, people won’t believe you are the part unless you look it!
That said, it is 2014, and that means that the rules are a little more relaxed than in the past. A tie, for example, may no longer be required in every workplace, but it is not just the perceptions of the modern world that you are battling against, but also those of your co-workers and bosses. A more conservative employer may expect a more formal appearance from you, but there are still some hard and fast rules you can abide by.
For men, you can’t go wrong with a decent suit. Unless you can afford to replace it regularly, try to avoid the cutting edge of fashion in favour of a more classic look. Alternatively, a shirt and trousers should do for many places, while it is always safer to leave your trainers at home. For women, there is a little more room for leeway. Dresses, skirts and a top, and suits are all fine and here it is more about the cut and colour of your outfit. Nothing too low cut or high up the leg – keep it classy, ladies!
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t add your own touch of flair to your outfit. Accessorize it with something to make it your own style. However, try to avoid overly large items of jewellery (unless you are a rapper), too many piercings, or ‘joke’ socks or ties! If in doubt take a look at some of the smartest celebrities and take a few pointers.
You can have style without going too far – think ‘smart’ – both for your wardrobe and your life!