When you’re ready to start changing your look, the experience can be a bit traumatic. After all, your old persona was snuggly and well-worn. The new persona feels a bit awkward. How do you inhabit the new you?
Put on the clothes. The whole nine yards. That interview outfit? Walk through the mall or the park. Go to the movies. Be the dressiest woman at the grocery store or DMV. Wear your awkward edges off somewhere the stakes are nonexistent. Walk in those shoes. Bend and stretch in that jacket. Wear those clothes around town until you recognize the woman wearing the new outfit as you.
- Your clothes should be part of you. Your clothes are your employees, they exist to support you, to put you in the spotlight. If you’re conscious of a binding jacket, a too-high heel throws off your stride, the makeup makes your face itch… then you’re not putting your energy to the outer world, you’ve become the servant to your clothing.
- Find the odd places that want fixing. Do the shoes need taps or pillows? Are there odd threads loose? Are those sleeves too long? Poor grooming is fatal.
- You need to get over the psychological changes involved with showing the world the real you. You are just as affected by your ornamentation as your audience is.
Don’t discount #3. When you change the person you’re showing to the world, you’re going to be uncomfortable. This happens when you’re upgrading, it happens when you downgrade (or retire). It takes some time to feel right in your clothes, in your skin.
So take the time. If you have the blessing of transition time away from the spotlight, use it. If you don’t, give yourself a bit of grace and understand that all transitions are awkward. Chin up, back straight – give it your best and don’t expect to be totally comfortable on day one.
It’s scary to put the real you out there. Scary is okay. Difficult is okay. You can do this.