Total Life Blog   |  What TO Wear

What TO Wear

I love to watch the TLC show What Not to Wear.  If you’ve never seen it, friends and family nominate someone to go to New York for a week and get a complete makeover- clothes (a $5,000 Visa gift card included!), hair, and makeup.  On the face of it, the premise is just to make someone look better but many of the people who go through the process say they end up feeling better about themselves, more empowered, and more confident.  What is it about getting a new wardrobe and a haircut that could make this much difference?

The hosts of the show are very blunt about what’s wrong with the participant’s current look.  And some of those looks are admittedly pretty outrageous.  However, the hosts offset this bluntness with the concern that this look is wrong primarily because it sells the participant short by not portraying who they really are on the inside to the world around them.

We may not like it but the reality of our human nature is that we make judgments about other people based on their outward appearance.  Research shows, that it actually only takes 7 seconds to make a first impression, and it sticks with us for a long time. Often times, if we get to know people we frequently find that those judgments aren’t correct.  Unfortunately, if we act on many of our judgments, we probably don’t get to know whether they’re wrong or not.  Now turn that around.  When we go out the front door in the morning, what are we telling others about ourselves with our appearance?  Is it accurate?  Is it what we want people to believe about us?  If so, and the message is negative, why do we want to send it?

Think about going on a job interview.  If you’ve picked up a job search guide or seen any on-line articles, they all talk about what you wear for that first meeting with a potential employer.  You know you have the skills to do the job and you may even be able to articulate your abilities. However, an appearance that is at odds with those abilities may prevent you from being the chosen candidate.  According to Martin Yate, the author of Knock ‘em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide, “your appearance tells people how you feel about yourself as an applicant.”  The point of dressing appropriately is to put your physical appearance in line with who you are as a person.

Dressing and grooming appropriately is also shown to build confidence (in real life, and on the TLC show).  When asked why they have nominated someone, friends and family repeatedly say what a wonderful person the nominee is but that their appearance doesn’t accurately reflect who they are and holds them back in life because of the judgments others make about their appearance.  At the beginning of show, the participant admits that they never felt beautiful or struggled with body image issues. By the end, it’s a different story. And all with zero change in the body shape. Clearly, the most important change that took place is seeing their real personality overcome the lies they have told themselves about what they look like and gaining the confidence that is so attractive to others.

Improving these areas of our lives doesn’t have to be expensive and we don’t have to wear the latest fashions.  We only need to wear clothes that fit our bodies well and take the time in the morning to put on some makeup that emphasizes the beauty that’s already there in the features God gave us.  It’s not about being vain, it’s about making the most of the life and person that God gave us by respecting ourselves and not letting a poor appearance rob us of the confidence we should have!


Author: Kristina Eberly

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