You Wear It Well

The day came for Harold and Julia when they decided it was time to get to work on their wardrobes. They had gained confidence in their looks and felt they definitely deserved better "packaging." Both consulted experts to help them with their new looks.

For evaluating appearance and advising on changes, Harold and Julia had several types of experts to choose from:

• Image consultants advise clients on hair color, hairstyle, make-up, clothing, and accessories, and may advise on posture, general appearance, and demeanor. Some offer both personal and corporate image consulting services.

• Make-up consultants advise clients on type, color, and application of make-up.

• Color consultants advise clients on choice of colors for clothing that will complement their appearance.

Harold was doing okay financially, but being in construction, he did not have a surplus of money. First he went to a quality department store and spent some time with a fashion consultant there, who guided him toward styles that would look good on him. With a little guidance, Harold got a feel for his correct style, and managed to stay within his budget at the same time.

Julia was a successful advertising executive, and she'd recently received a raise. So she decided to splurge and hire a personal wardrobe expert. This turned out to be a good investment for her. Unlike Harold, who put so little emphasis on clothes that he really didn't have any, Julia had a closet filled with clothes. However, too many of them were completely wrong for her desired image.

The first thing the wardrobe expert did was to clean out Julia's closets, leaving behind only a bare minimum of the best outfits. Anything that Julia hadn't worn in over a year, or that she truly didn't feel good in, was disposed of. The consultant divided the remaining outfits into three categories: work clothes, party clothes, and play clothes, and told Julia to keep at least three or four outfits in each category that she felt extremely good in. She also took a very good look at Julia's coloring and told her that, while her closet was full of neutral colors, she was an animated person and that brighter colors looked better on her.

What a difference this advice made. Julia found that simply changing from brown to red changed her entire look and color of her complexion. Her overall appearance changed from that of a mousy wallflower who was easily overlooked to that of a striking, dynamic woman who made a statement.

Whether you choose to consult an expert or decide to go it on your own, here are some guidelines for buying clothes:

• Buy clothes that fit you well and are comfortable. This is one cardinal rule that is every bit as important as style—perhaps even more important. While tight pants may be sexy on a man or a woman, the effect is completely diminished if you have to keep tugging and pulling because they don't feel right, and a "wedgie" isn't sexy on anyone. Better that you buy your clothes a size or two larger, so that you're comfortable in them and they hang properly without your constant attention.

• Select fabrics that feel good to you. I'm adamant about this point. A sensual person will have nothing touch the skin that doesn't feel delightful. It's better to wear a soft, cotton-blend sweater, than a wooly one that really itches, no matter how good the wooly one looks. You have to feel good in the fabrics.

• Opt for quality over quantity. Instead of trying to fill your closets, concentrate on buying clothes that fit well, are stylish but not faddish, and fill your senses with delight.

Continue reading here: What the Sirens Knew

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