Today’s article is from Sarah Jones of Introverted Alpha.
You’re here at Effortless Gent because you get how important your style and presentation is.
What you wear influences your self-perception, which in turn influences your mental/emotional/social state.
Your state then spirals around to influence what you wear, since you dress according to how you feel that morning and even more overarchingly, your fill your closet over time with how you feel in general.
Depending on how aware and well-equipped you are in this regard can either take you into an upward spiral or a downward spiral.
If you can get yourself into an upward spiral, you’re in business.
All sorts of good things start to happen. People take notice of you. Women give you longer and more inviting glances. Colleagues listen with more respect.
Like it or not (and once you’re seeing the benefits, you’ll like it), your life gets better when you feel really good about yourself and dress accordingly.
You become genuinely and distinctively charming.
The best way to tap the kind of charm that gets those responses is to notice what’s attractive about you in particular, and enjoy playing that up.
In order to help you do that, I’ve laid out five steps for you here, each step preparing the way for the following step, until you’ve walked through the whole process and are reaping the benefits:
Find your distinctive internal charm in three words.
To do this, think of the three compliments you get most often or things you notice about yourself.
These are a reflection of the qualities on the inside that come through to the outside strong enough for other people to take notice.
Write those down. These compliments are the starting base of your style, because your style is an extension of who you are on the inside: your personality and preferences.
Surround yourself with people, things, and places you’re inspired by.
There was a study done showing the powerful influence clothing and the environment has on your performance.
In this study, there were two groups of test-takers, both groups wearing white coats. One group was told they were wearing a house painter’s coat, and the other group was told they were wearing a doctor’s coat.
The group wearing the doctor’s coat performed much better on the math test than the other group.
They did a follow-up study where the group simply had a coat hanging on the door that they were told was a doctor’s coat, and again they did better than the group without it.
You can harness the effects of this study on your performance and even charisma by finding environments in which you feel inspired, places that reflect high-performance, high class, intelligence, or whatever turns you on.
This helps you get out of your smaller world of what you’d normally choose to put yourself into (clothes, places, even situations), and presents new options for your brain to scope out – new possibilities to leisurely expand into.
Noticing what you’ve chosen in Step #2, discover your external style in three words.
Given the places, people, and things that inspire you in Step #2 as well as the compliments you noted in Step #1, reflect on the common themes.
From there, draw out three words that describe your expanding sense of style.
For example, my three words are flirtatious, rustic, and elegant. I discovered them over lunch with a friend who’s thought a lot about this herself and shared her own three words with me.
Let’s say that as a man, you’re more of the engineering type who also loves yoga and the outdoors. In this case, your three words might be something like strong, understated, and easeful.
If you’re more of an artistic type like an architect or graphic designer who also mountain-climbs and cooks, your three words might be more like rich, sophisticated, and fresh.
Get a few pieces that represent this charm you’ve found.
Start with identifying the shops that carry a style consistent with your 3 words.
For me, Urban Outfitters is a great place to go. I was there yesterday and found a beautiful soft denim top, and I chose it with my three words in mind. It’s got a flirtatious cut, the denim material is soft and rustic, and the simplicity of design is elegant.
Without those words to guide me, I may have settled for something I was more comfortable with or used to, even if it didn’t inspire me and suit the style I’m building.
For you, if you’re like the engineer above, you might shop at J. Crew and choose something like a structured jacket that provides a nice strong look, in an understated navy, and fits well in an easeful and comfortable way.
If you’re more like the designer above, you might scope out Gilt and fall in love with a pair of boots in a rich suede, with sophisticated sleek lines, in a fresh slate blue color. (You can find the boots I’ve just described here.)
Once you have your three words, it guides the process of where to shop and what to choose, so that everything becomes much easier and more fun.
Refine from there.
Think of your closet as an extension of you, a place where every item can reflect your style now, the man you are becoming more of every day.
You can always add more pieces and go through your closet to purge pieces that don’t suit your style anymore. Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is a great guide for this.
As you go, you’ll be naturally refining your style. Any part of yourself that you give constant and curious attention to develops over time, and style is no exception.
Once you activate the positive feedback loop of your state influencing your style and vice versa in a fulfilling and exciting way, there’s no going back.
You can revisit this process every quarter, as the seasons change and as you’ve changed! You’re always changing, and so there will always be subtle refinements.
As you refine, you’ll appreciate the compliments and inviting looks you’ll get as the sweet results that are subtly evolving along with you.
Over to you!
Have you ever taken this process to developing your personal style?
Whether you’ve done this before, or this is your first time, I’d love to hear your three descriptive words that embody your external style.
What are they? Post them in the comments below and share your thoughts with us!
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