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How You Look: Does It Really Matter? #fb

In the show “Wife Swap,” two wives switch families for two weeks — the first week living by the family’s rules and the second week setting their own rules by which the family must live. For the sake of dramatic tension, they choose families whose values and philosophy are diametrically opposed.

In a recent show, the women expressed their views about personal image. One woman believed that how you look is all that matters. The other, who felt strongly that beauty comes exclusively from the inside, was appalled at how much time her temporary family spent on grooming and dressing and was very outspoken about it. She rarely brushed her hair, never cared if her clothing matched, and shopped exclusively in thrifts stores and only when necessary. Much drama ensued!

So, does how we look matter above all else? Do clothing, makeup and hair choices have that much influence? Or, should our personality and inner essence be the primary focus with no attachment to how we look on the outside? Given that our society is very image focused, it is critical to temper that with appreciation and expression of who you are on the inside.

  • Be true to yourself: Do you feel good about how you look? Hopefully, the answer is yes. Being aware of certain parameters for appropriate dress is important, but once you understand those conditions, you can tweak them to suit your personal style and preference. The biggest question is “do you know how you want to look and how to make that happen?”
  • Know the rules: If you understand the rules about dress then you are well equipped to make choices that serve you. Knowing the expectations, you can then make a conscious decision to disregard them and are better prepared to deal with (or circumvent) the consequences.
  • Show respect: Take pride in how you look. Good grooming habits are essential and have nothing to do with where you shop or how big or fancy your wardrobe is. Others notice when you take good care of your body and your clothes…and when you don’t!
  • Dress with intention: Many women have fallen into a state of unconsciousness about how they look. Is it any surprise when you consider the factors working against us (e.g., body image issues, social pressure, compromised self-esteem, disinterest in fashion…)? Women are bombarded with messages about how we “should” look and what we “should” wear. After a while, many give up and resort to dressing in what is safe and easy.

After this pattern is repeated enough, it becomes an unconscious choice. If this sounds familiar, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself this question “If my clothes could talk what would they say about me?” Do you like the answer? If not, it’s time to make changes. And, if that feels like a daunting task, ask for help.

How you dress gives people visual cues about who you are. True or not, they will make assumptions about you based on what they see. While it is not possible to meet everyone’s expectations, you can meet your own. Dress with authenticity, respect and intention, and feel good about how you look everyday.

To purchase Ginger’s book “Fashion Secrets Mother Never Taught You”, please click here.

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Fashion Secret 2009 is written and produced by Total Image Consultants. Please direct all questions and comments to If you would like to forward this article, we ask that you do so in its entirety. Do not alter its content or form and please include copyright info. Thank you. To purchase Ginger’s book “Fashion Secrets Mother Never Taught You”, please visit or


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Ginger Burr is a fashion stylist and personal shopper serving clients worldwide from metro Boston.