Choosing the areas to focus on

Looking at the different aspects of your image and applying the 80:20 rule - using 20 per cent of your effort to improve 80 per cent of your appearance (refer to Chapter 2) - you'll be able to determine the changes that will give you the most impact the quickest. If you haven't thought about your image in a while, ask a few friends to do it with you. They may see you in a different light.

Use Table 5-1, which lists ten areas of improvement, to determine what area can yield the most significant results. Follow these steps:

1. In the first column, give each item a score from 1 to 10, with 1 signifying the easiest/quickest to change and 10 the hardest/slowest.

Use each number only once.

2. In the second column, do the same, with 1 representing the most significant in improving your makeover and 10 the least significant.

3. In the third column, multiply the two rows together.

4. Pick the two areas with the lowest scores.

These indicate what two items are the quickest to achieve with the biggest impact on your overall image.

5. When you've cracked the two items in point 4, carry on working your way through the list to the highest numbers until you've completed your overhaul.

Table 5-1 Image Assessment Tool

Area of Ease/Speed of Importance of Multiply First

Improvement Improvement Improvement Column by to Makeover Second Column

Hair

Make-up Skin

Eyes Smile

Work wardrobe

Social wardrobe Shoes

Voice

Perfume

The remaining sections in this chapter offer advice on making improvements in these areas.

Shopping bonus

Louise was in her thirties. She was carrying more weight than she had in her twenties and it wouldn't budge. Following promotion, she didn't feel her look matched her new shape or job. She'd always worn tightish clothes with shortish hemlines but now felt they undermined her credibility and made her look slightly ridiculous. She didn't know what style to aim for, so took herself off to a personal shopper for some advice.

Waiting to see the shopper, Louise caught the eye of Mark, who was also about to have a style makeover. He was dressing too young for his age and found himself the butt of his kids' jokes, but he didn't know how to dress appropriately without looking old. They made polite conversation as they waited, both aware of the reason for their visit, but neither mentioning it. A few hours later, Louise and Mark emerged, clutching their new purchases and sporting a new look and air of confidence. Louise complimented Mark on his new appearance and he reciprocated. He asked her to join him for coffee, an invitation she wouldn't normally have accepted, which ran into dinner and they dated happily ever after.

Making small changes can create big results and give you the confidence to behave differently and take more risks.

Looking Ten Years Younger

Unless you're 21, like most people you wouldn't object to looking younger. A youthful appearance is highly valued in our culture; women with the physique, style, and energy of a woman of Madonna's age didn't exist a few years ago, but are commonplace now. More men than ever are having cosmetic surgery and enhancement, and from an earlier age, and grooming and anti-ageing products fly off the shelves in unprecedented volumes. Having a lived-in face is no longer an indication of gaining wisdom with age; unfortunately, wrinkles and grey hair are seen as indications of being too lazy to care for your appearance.

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to ageing. Don't smoke, drink alcohol in moderation and water in abundance, sleep well, and use a moisturiser with a minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 to remain younger looking for longer.

To look younger, you need to address the key areas of your eyes, teeth, skin, hair colour and style, and clothing.

Down in the mouth

Alice was a widow in her sixties. She'd always hated her teeth and as a result never smiled. People often mistakenly thought she was miserable, but that couldn't be farther from the truth.

When she unexpectedly came into some money, Alice decided to have her teeth straightened with braces. Eighteen months later, the braces were removed and, for maximum effect, Alice also had her teeth whitened. The result was astounding. Alice finally had the confidence to smile freely, and she wished she'd done it years ago. People now react to the smiley Alice in a completely different way and she feels much more positive about herself, too.

Don't put off changing something because you think you've left it too late. Making yourself feel good by investing in your appearance is always worthwhile.

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