The late Cavett Robert, renowned founder of the National Speakers Association, remarked that the book cannot be any greater than the writer, the speech no greater than the speaker, and the picture no greater than the painter.
Mona Lisa is deemed a masterpiece not because she is a classic beauty, but because she was painted by a master. We are unable to accomplish anything greater than ourselves; thus, the never-ending task is to improve ourselves, and then our accomplishments will grow.
When others look at you, do they see your greatness, your true value? Or do they see a person whose irreverent image shouts “take me as I am.” When you let your image down, you actually let your Self down – even though you may not be aware of it. The person you see in the mirror each day speaks volumes to you before you head out the door. You may look in the mirror, sigh and say, “Aw, what does it matter” or smile and shout “Yes! I’m going to conquer the world today?” You don’t need a crystal ball to predict your future; all you need is a mirror.
When I was a schoolgirl, I had a sixth-grade teacher who always dressed in a very professional manner. She was not a classic beauty, but she was a class act. Her impeccably-tailored business suits told you she meant business. No one in her class dared to “act up.” Her very presence was a source of inspiration to me, and all my other teachers looked powerless and ordinary by comparison. I discovered at an early age that image plays a role not only in terms of respect but in terms of the ability to inspire.
I doubt that Mrs. Lambert dressed to impress her sixth grade students. More likely, she dressed to reflect how she felt about herself. Military leaders discovered long ago that their uniforms bestowed immense power. General Patton admitted that he relied upon his uniform to boost his confidence. Paul Fussell, author of “Uniforms, Why You Are What You Wear” says it all in his book title. Fussell asserts that the business suit is a powerful uniform.
The devil is in the details when it comes to image. It is necessary to master each and every detail for one very important reason. The sum total is greater than all its parts, and it is that sum total reflecting you that makes an impact with others. The question is, is your image as great as you?
To make certain your image is as great as you are, here are three proven things you can do.
1. Find the colors that make you look better
. Most people look better in cool colors than those with yellow undertones. This means that you will probably look better in a navy blue suit than in a brown one, for example, and you may look better in fuchsia than in orange. Another good color for a business suit is grey, but make certain you add an accent color that is dynamic so the grey doesn’t come across as passive – a bold tie in red or yellow, for example; a shell top in a bright blue or red for women;
2. Find a hairstyle that suits you
. Men have less problems with bad hairstyles than women. One tip: don’t let your barber cut the hair in the back in a straight-edged “bowl cut.” Most women let themselves down in the hair department. A dated hairdo can seriously undermine your image. If your hair is a mousy or drab color like “dishwater blonde” you may wish to consider a few blonde highlights around your face to make your skin look more luminous.
3. Choose clothing styles that flatter your body type
. Get your clothing tailored and it will camouflage little “figure distractions,” so that the eyes will sweep upward to the face and remain there. Avoid styles that are too trendy. It is better to be “eternally stylish” than “in style” for a fleeting moment.
Change your image and you just might change your life!
Sandy Dumont, The Image Architect, is a speaker and image consultant with offices in Virginia and Washington, DC. She is the author of several books and DVDs on the subject of image which can be found on her website. For more information, please visit www.theimagearchitect.com or call (757) 627-6669.