Attitude, How-To, Wardrobe Development

Closet Talk: Do Not Freak Out About What to Wear

This happens all the time with clients. I suppose it’s precisely why they are clients. It’s pretty common that, among the clients, they freak out about what to wear. I laughingly think it’s also a solid reason why I don’t have even more clients. The ones who think about working on their personal style, and want to take the plunge, but still don’t. I believe it’s because they don’t even dare to go where my clients go. The moments that make my clients freak out about what to wear are the moments that promote growth. This is also why my clients are surging ahead in their lives and careers.

You might read all of that and think it’s just a lot of hype and hyperbole. I assure you, it’s not.

Clients get to a point where they have collected a gorgeous assortment of clothing and accessories. Over several seasons or years of working together, they know what to wear within each capsule of clothing. I define a capsule of clothing, including accessories, as a group of intermixable clothing selected all at once. But, when it comes to combining items between various capsules, they often freak out about what to wear. They like the ease created by having well-defined capsules of clothing. It becomes safe for them to play within each specific group. But, combining an item from one capsule with other items from another capsule or two isn’t within their comfort zones. I welcome this moment because this is where the learning deepens.

The downside to these moments is that clients feel like failures. The upside of these moments is that they are hardly failing moments. Rather, they are forced out of what I refer to as their “familiar zone” and into their true “comfort zone.”

All the while, the organization inside their closets might devolve into something that resembles chaos. This is another cause toward making a person freak out about what to wear. So, we take time to recollect the wardrobe and to combine the capsules. Suddenly, the wardrobe is easier to see, easier to visually read everything that’s there. I love being present for the moment it all comes together. Audible gasps of relief demonstrate the return of a sense of ease.

And then comes the heart of the closet talk: “I don’t want to think about what to wear.”

Wrong statement.

Instead I offer a solution to not freak out about what to wear. You have permission to think about it. In fact, it’s much better to think about it. After all, what kind of strategy is it to be thoughtless? What the hell does that ever get you in life? Do you just want to rely on luck?

So, out come the scenarios. Who are you meeting with? When are you meeting? Where are you meeting? What do you want to convey? What’s the point of the meeting? The answers to these questions yield a strategy for how to show up – effectively and successfully. Put some thought into what to wear and it works like a charm.

I don’t know a lot of advice by self-help gurus because I don’t read other’s works. It’s not that it’s irrelevant. It’s just that I’m a fiercely independent thinker.

From three decades of experience, I can tell you why working with your clothing effectuates your intentions. You start out with an intention about what you want to have happen on any given day. Connecting the intention to your clothing takes the intention out of your head and puts it into action. So, this is even before the meeting or activity occurs. You put the clothing on your body that meets your intention, and quite literally, you embody your intention. It’s very powerful, and in a calm space of contemplation, it’s highly effective.

Clients and I talk about scenarios all of the time. How do they energize their inner power? What are the best ways to nonverbally convey their core strengths and competencies? How do they feel safe?

Rather than freak out about what to wear, I offer clients customized insights that activate their senses. We talk about how to create the ideal outfit. Each clothing element means something. There is a language to clothing. What do the colors convey? How might a color’s meaning dovetail with a person’s strategic intention? These very specific answers resolve any potential opportunity to freak out about what to wear.

Learning the language of your personal style and of your clothing can lead you to transforming your life. There is no need to freak out about what to wear. But, the next time you do, stop. Use the opportunity to think about your intention. And, if you remain stuck, that is a time to reach out for help. You have everything to gain.

My role, as a personal brand and style strategist, is that of a storyteller. I learn about a person’s personality and strengths, translate that into an appropriate personal style aesthetic, and help each client to visually and non-verbally tell her or his story with ease and authenticity.