It's the first question in my class on finding your personal style in clothes.* "How do you wish to be perceived?" I ask, and back come all the answers I need to guide them to making the right choices when they next go shopping.
Yes, of course I need to analyse their body architecture and think about their lifestyle, but in the end it all comes down to the question "Who Are You?".
So some people will start with "Warm and Friendly" and some with "Approachably Authoritative". I get "Controlled and Assured", "Sexy and Confident", "Intelligent and Passionate", "Fun and Quirky" and many, many more.
My job is first to make sure that these descriptors are authentic; because sometimes we think we want to be something we admire but could never really aspire to. For instance, if I were to list "Elegantly Understated" it would be all wrong for my Mischievous Pixie persona. Oh so, so very wrong!
But twenty years ago I didn't know I was a Mischievous Pixie, and I craved "Classic Elegance". It was never going to work, but I didn't know that because I had spent a (then) lifetime trying to fit in with my sensible family, with a highly academic school, with a career in chartered accountancy (no – I still don't know why I thought that might be a good career choice), with all my classically elegant friends (I still have a lot of those) who didn't realise they loved me for our differences, not because we were the same.
So, if you are constantly trying to achieve something that is impossible for you, if you are existing in inauthenticity, then maybe it may be a good idea just to spend some time thinking about how you really wish to be perceived within the structure of being authentic. Remember to be positive. "I don't want to appear nervous" becomes "I want to be seen as confident."
I've spent the last twenty years in my clothes rather than in the clothes that the classically elegant self I aspired to be would choose. I wouldn't have "elegant" now if it came free with Rice Krispies, because I've got something much more real and natural and "me".
Your real "me" is worth a hundred fake pretends; even if you think the pretend is what people want.
They don't: they want the real you.
And if they don't want the real you, then you don't (really) want them.
A Moodscope member
* I'm an Image Consultant by profession. “I help people have more fun putting their clothes on than taking them off!”