Espresso 18 – Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall


The next few issues of e-spresso are dedicated to you ladies—a few need-to-know’s if you’re interested in having a good look. Yep, we’re going to pull out those suitcases, open those wardrobes and see what you’ve got. And if need be, you might even have to stand in front of the mirror (eek … scary), which could result in a few honest moments with yourself—like owning up to the fact that crazy patterns don’t really bring out your eyes, and those ultra comfy bright blue spandex you live in really don’t flatter your body type, even though you absolutely love them. But don’t worry, ladies, it’ll be fun. And guys, don’t think you’re getting out of this. You’ll get your turn too.

And for those of you who couldn’t care less what’s in your closet, well, it’s time to start caring, because how you look matters to everyone around you, even if it doesn’t to you. Sorry. Majority rules.

Or, maybe it’s not that you don’t care, but simply that you don’t know how or where to start. If that’s the case, then here’s an article that lends a sympathetic and helpful hand.

Dress Well, Look Great— 3 Simple StepsIs it possible for a person who finds dressing well to be a chore to learn how to do it easily? The answer is yes. For some, knowing how to dress well and look great is difficult. It is something that, for them, takes a lot of time and effort. While for others, who just naturally seem to know the secrets to successful dressing, looking great daily is easily accomplished.

But don’t despair. Dressing well is something that can be learned if you take the time. And why should you learn? Why is looking your best important? The reasons are simple. We feel better when we know we look our best. People also react to us in a more positive manner when we look good. The old cliché is still true, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.” This is especially true when it comes to landing a job, getting a promotion, making a sale, or scoring a date.

I’m not saying it’s fair that we are judged on how we look, but since we can’t control it, and we are judged by our appearance, the only other alternative is to just go with it.

Where to start? Being well dressed involves knowing yourself—your lifestyle, your best colors, your best clothing styles, best hairstyles and so much more. (Editor: We will cover some of these aspects over the next few issues.) However, to get you started, here are three steps which, if you follow them, will start you on your way to looking great.

1. Grooming. A neat, fashionable hairstyle, subtle makeup and good overall grooming are essential touches to a well-dressed look.

2. The perfect fit. Clothes that fit well will make you appear slimmer and present a more polished look. It is amazing how much difference an inch taken off or added in a certain place can make. If you need to, get your clothes altered for a better fit.

3. Always keep clothes wrinkle-free. No matter how expensive or inexpensive your clothes are or how well they fit, if they are wrinkled, you will lose all credibility. (Editor: Unless of course, wrinkled is “the look” of the fabric and style.) Take care of your clothing by keeping them well pressed and hang them to prevent wrinkles. Before you buy pants, skirts or blouses check to see how easily they wrinkle by taking a little of the fabric in your hand and squeezing for two seconds. If it wrinkles, don’t buy it.

Those three steps are the veeeeeery basics, and if you follow those points as a general rule of thumb you should be able to get by. But following those three steps alone isn’t going to give you a good wardrobe—clothes that suit your body type, in colors and cuts that accentuate your positives and minimize your negatives.

To work on that, let’s look at the following article along with your closet. As you start pulling out that suitcase and opening that wardrobe, be sure to bear this first tip in mind:

Putting Together a Winning Wardrobe

Begin by thinking about your profession, your place of work, and your leisure time. If your work life and your “play” life are very different, think about separating your work wardrobe from your leisure wardrobe. Does your work wardrobe present a confident, well-groomed image? Are the clothes suitable for the type of work you do, for the country you live in, as well as weather-appropriate? Do they harmonize with the customs and expected dress styles where you live, etc.? Are your leisure clothes also neat, even if they’re casual? Are they in good repair, without stains or tears?

After you’ve thought this through, it’s time to venture into your closet.

Assessing your existing wardrobe

Every once in a while, closets need a spring cleaning—whatever the season. Follow these guidelines to determine what to keep and what to pitch:

*Each year, try on your clothes in front of a full length mirror. If you’ve gained weight, make sure that your clothes aren’t stretching or pulling. No matter how much you suck in your stomach in front of the mirror, in real life people tend to relax. If you’ve lost weight and your clothes are hanging on you, you can have them taken in. If you can’t have your clothes altered properly to accommodate a weight gain or loss, donate them to charity.

*If pant legs or skirts are too wide, they can be altered to be narrower, if that is the style. Unfortunately, if they are narrow and the style is the opposite, that can’t be easily changed. You can avoid some of these problems by never buying extremes in fashion trends for your basic wardrobe.

*Check your existing wardrobe for large, bold patterns, checks, florals, and geometric patterns. These types of patterns generally don’t wear well with time.

*Color is something you should also look at in a wardrobe review. Although that lime-green suit may have been all the rage a few seasons ago, it’s probably not going to convey the same impression any time soon, if ever.

*Take a look at the type of fabrics you have in your closet. Certain fabrics are always in style—cotton, silks, etc.—whereas blends and new fabrics come and go. Natural fabrics cost more and can be expensive to maintain, but they’re usually high quality garments. Combinations of cotton, wool, silk, and synthetics are a good compromise, because they combine a good appearance and fairly low-maintenance care.

*When you’re going through your closet, make sure that all your clothes are properly cleaned and pressed. Shine your shoes, brush your suede garments, and have any rundown shoes repaired. Then go through your clothes and hang them so that outfits are together and easy to reach.

*If you haven’t worn the item in the last eight months, most likely you will never wear it. Don’t hesitate to give away clothes that don’t make your cut.

Adding new items

Consider the following points when adding to your wardrobe:

*Invest in well-made classics that will last for several years and that you can mix and match with other items to create new outfits.

*Trendy clothing is fun to have, but make sure to balance it with long lasting, more classic-styled items. Consider putting together a trendy shirt and a pair of classic pants, for example.

*Choose garments that suit you in style and color, and be wary about purchasing something if you aren’t sure where you’ll wear it. Finding a bargain or an item that you just adore is great, but it’s of no use to you if it sits in your closet untouched for years.

*Remember that new accessories can make an older outfit seem new. If you don’t have the money to purchase new clothing items, pick up a couple of accessories (jewelry, scarves, belts, handbags, etc.) to freshen your look.

While you’ve got all your clothes out, here are a few to-dos that are worth your time, especially the first two. Knowing why something doesn’t look good on you, or why it does will save you from making poor purchases that end up sitting in your closet screaming “regret” every time you see them. (Come on, admit it, we’ve all done it.)

* Put on the clothes you feel most confident in and work out why you like it so much. What does it cover and what does it reveal?

* Put on the clothes you never wear. Ask yourself exactly why. What about it is not flattering? What about it don’t you like?

* When evaluating your wardrobe, either your present clothing or what you need to purchase, it helps to get an outside opinion. Ask someone who has good fashion sense to help you determine which clothes look good on you, what are the best styles for your body type, etc. (Editor: More on “body types” coming.)

* While you’re in your wardrobe, also make sure that you can clearly define which outfits are casual, smart casual, evening and work. Try to avoid mixing outfits—keep work for work and evening for evening. If an outfit is incomplete, work toward finding the missing elements that will compliment it perfectly.

* If you’re working to lose or gain weight, try to have a few outfits that look good on you while you’re “transitioning” to your ideal weight. Don’t think you need to look like a bum while you’re waiting to lose or gain weight. There are ways that heavier or very thin people can dress that are flattering, that accentuate the positive and “hide” the less than ideal parts.

*Lastly, give away the clothes that don’t suit you—even if you think of them as old friends.

And don’t only get rid of clothes that don’t suit you. While you’re at it bag up any clothing that is old, damaged beyond repair, stained, or just not making the cut for whatever reason. If it’s not presentable then you don’t want it. In “A Professional Lifestyle for the Offensive,” Peter said, “… Clothes that are torn, dirty, stained, or wrinkled, worn-out, pajama-like clothing … would be a poor testimony to your visitors and would not denote professionalism. It’s preferable to err on the side of going out of your way to be presentable even when at home, rather than risk offending people by overly casual, revealing or unkempt attire.”

So trash that unkempt attire and trust Him for something better. Amen!?

Sam Smith
Sam Smith is an independent Missionary, that has spent 7 years of his life in Africa, trying to spread Jesus' message of love in any way possible. He has been involved with non profit companies distributing educational material, youth counseling, IT education and humanitarian aid work in medical camps. He believes in Jesus in the simple way that the Bible speaks about, without going so far as to "belong" to a denomination, but just wants to do his best with likeminded people to make the world a better place.