I was fortunate to grow up in a family with at least one family member who cared about his personal style. My grandfather was a master dresser, always inspired by the designers and art so ingrained in New York culture. He raised me to not only dress for myself but also out of respect for others.
Over the years, personal style has become synonymous with doing what you want. We no longer think about others when we dress for a particular occasion. T-shirts, hoodies and ill fitting clothes are now the brand of the young and wealthy. While style should never be about money, our personal style tells a story both in the office and in our personal life. When we do not consciously think about the story we want to share with the world, we miss out on a rare opportunity allow people to see who we really are.
When we leave the office without adding an accessory, changing a top or simply a pair of shoes, we convey the message that we are still on the clock and unavailable for intimacy. While our work wardrobe needs to convey self-assurance, authority and seriousness, our dating wardrobe needs to convey openness, vulnerability, and authenticity with a hint of fun and flirtatiousness. Not caring about your personal attire is one of biggest roadblocks I uncover when women are actively dating. While it may seem like a lot of effort to think about what other shirt, shoes or accessories to add to your work bag when you have an after work commitment, learning the art of dressing for any occasion will eventually make this transition so much easier and help you feel more in control of your personal life.
Here are a few tips to help you transition from your business wardrobe to your personal one more consciously:
- When meeting new people – avoid black. Black can be a sexy color but on a first meeting or date it is often too severe and authoritative to put the other person at ease. Men, in particular, do not like when women wear too much black. In a city like New York it can be hard not to wear black, but you will appear much more approachable, fresh and interesting if you dress in other colors. This season take advantage of the nudes and pinks available!
- Pay attention to your make up. Learn the art of daytime versus nighttime make up. If you ever need to transition last minute, changing your make up can have an effect on your overall appearance. Always carry a separate set of makeup in your workbag and include a few nighttime options if you get stuck in a pinch.
- Bring a fresh pair of matching underwear/bra. I will never forget the tip shared during my time being trained as a matchmaker. This well known dating coach shared that she often tells her clients to take off their underwear prior to a date in order to help them shift from a serious to a more playful mindset. While that may not be comfortable for all, I suggest you change your bra and underwear into something that makes you feel confident and sexy – this change will affect the way you walk into a date and will help you appear less business like even if you have to wear the same work clothes.
- Invest in your personal wardrobe and try not to mix them. Your wardrobe should not include Chanel for work and beat up yoga pants for your casual Saturday shopping trip. You are missing potential personal AND business opportunities when you do so. Buy a pair of jeans that looks amazing and some higher end t-shirts or simple sweaters. You will feel better and be prepared for an impromptu meeting with a prospective new date.
- Make sure your hair is kept up to date. Doing your hair and make up on a regular basis is one of the simplest ways to look pulled together even in the most casual outfit. Resist the urge to always pull your hair back because it is easy (unless you are going for a more dramatic look). Men are attracted to well coiffed, shiny hair so do not miss out on the opportunity to showcase your natural beauty!
Jennifer B. Rhodes, PsyD is a licensed psychologist, personal image consultant, dating expert and the founder of the bi-costal relationship consultancy, Rapport Relationships.