The Clothes do Make the Woman: Why I'll Never Leave Home in Anything That Makes Me Feel Less than Stellar
This past Friday, I had the privilege of being a business writing consultant at the Branded Youth Entrepreneurship Conference. It was an amazing experience. I was asked to share my knowledge and expertise with other young entrepreneurs who were looking for help putting words behind their ideas. But I really feel I learned so much more than I taught. I learned that Toronto is full of brilliant young people with big ideas and the ambition to push to make them reality. I had the pleasure of listening to keynote speaker Adrian Aitcheson, one of the founders of the wildly successful brand, Too Black Guys, talk about being your own brand and realizing your brand doesn’t have to be for everybody. I learned how beneficial it is to network with people who have different interests but just as much passion as you. It opens doors you might have never found on your own.
But something I learned that I can’t shake out of my mind had nothing to do with business and conferences and everything to do with fashion. I know that sounds shallow, but stick with me here. Being the queen of last minute that I am, I picked out my outfit for the conference at 1 o’clock on Friday morning, knowing I had to be up at 7. Now, picking out something to wear is an all-out event for me that involves trying on far too many items of clothing, parading in front of the mirror and critiquing every stitch with Janice Dickenson meanness.
I eventually picked out and ironed an outfit and crawled into bed. I got up in the morning and put it on. And I hated it wholeheartedly. Changing would mean having to pay for an Uber to get to the conference on time. I hemmed and hawed in front of the mirror for about two minute before taking it off and changing into something that made me feel fabulous. When I walked into the conference with my heels clicking and my skirt swishing, I knew that $22.64 was money well spent. Yyves Saint Laurent once said, “I have always believed that fashion was not only to make women more beautiful, but also to reassure them, give them confidence.” I’m inclined to believe him. Because I knew I looked like a boss, I felt confident and I spoke confidently. And people responded in kind. People approached me to compliment me on my appearance and walked away knowing I was smart, talented, and serious about my business.
My mentor always says she never attends an event in something that makes her feel like less than a 10 because when she looks good, she feels good, and it’s the absolute truth. When you’re not yanking on your clothes or worrying about being under-dressed, you feel confident and you can funnel that confidence in everything else you do. People will notice and they’ll treat you accordingly.
In a perfect world, you could show up anywhere in a pair of sweats and a hoodie, feel like you run the world and can win anyone over. And some people are lucky enough to feel that way in anything. But for a lot of us, that’s not the case. For me, it will always be heels or the perfect pair of jeans that make me feel like I can do anything. For you, it might be a pair of pearl earrings, or that perfectly tailored blazer, or shiny patent leather brogues. Next time you’ve got somewhere to be and an impression to make, don’t walk out the door unless your clothes make you feel like the world is yours. Then go out and get it.