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The old adage “the clothes make the man” is not just talking about whether or not you look good in a suit. How you feel about yourself is often projected to other people by your physical appearance. This is then interpreted by our brains as an assumption about what kind of friend/partner/co-worker you might be. Like it or not, our personal presentation makes a huge impact on how the world perceives us. According to Christina Young, author and relationship therapist, “studies have shown that people with higher levels of knowledge, acceptance, individuality, and identity are more likely to function effectively in a relationship.”  The good news is that we can largely control this presentation.  

If you are assuming that this process will involve huge alterations to your closet, think again. The most important part of this process is of course to get to know and accept yourself. Take some time to really get to know what values are important to you and what brings you joy. Once you’ve got that figured out you are ready to think about how you can present that to the world around you. These three tips about your clothes will make a huge difference.

The first important way to tailor your appearance is to express your personality through your wardrobe. 

When selecting clothes, look for pieces that show what is unique and wonderful about you. Do you love quirky vintage pants with wide hems or the relaxed vibe of the beach? Even if you have to wear a suit to work, you can look for unique elements that say “this is me.” Having the confidence to be yourself lets you feel authentic and accepted for who you are. This makes you seem honest/trustworthy and inspires other people to be their true selves also.

A second way to improve your appearance is to wear clothes that have had alterations to fit you well. 

Do you have a favorite pair of jeans that you no longer wear because they are out of style? Why not give them an update? Or maybe, in your journey of self-love, you got in better shape and now your best jacket is a bit baggy? Having your clothes tailored by a company like Tad More Tailoring, who is your personal virtual tailor, can bring your clothing up to date and give you the fit that can make you feel comfortable and confident. Here’s the bonus: when you aren’t distracted and fidgeting with your clothing due to improper fit, you appear more present in the moment for your companion and can even be a better listener.

The third way to tailor your appearance is to choose an outfit that suits the occasion. 

While it is still important to express your personality, it is also important to respect the environment of the situation you are in. Taking the time to assess the situation ahead of time will help you to avoid the discomfort of being significantly over or underdressed. Both situations can rob you of your confidence. If you can’t afford a new suit there is nothing wrong with shopping at a local thrift store- you can get it tailored to fit you perfectly for a fraction of the cost of a new suit which would probably need alterations as well. Not dressing appropriately for the occasion can give the impression that you are unreliable, high-maintenance, or even disrespectful. 

As you can see, looking your best could mean making a few small alterations. However, it does not need to cost a fortune or involve brand-name clothing. What’s important is that the clothes you choose make you feel good about yourself and fit you well. These simple choices can free up your mental energy and allow you to focus on the people you are with. As Helen Fisher, Ph.D., a well-known anthropologist and relationship author  shared recently “your self-confidence tells a good deal about your emotional stability.” A wardrobe tailored to your personal taste and fit will help you put your best foot forward in all of your relationships.

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