I recently attended Derby Day, an annual horse racing event in Australia. It is a day to get dressed up – put on your very best.
As I walked around, I noticed my mind racing, critiquing outfits of passers by. I realised I was placing both, men and woman into three different categories: exceptionally dressed, average, and utterly woeful.
I started to think ‘what differentiates the three categories?’.
‘Exceptionally dressed’ and ‘utterly woeful’ are extremities – complete polar opposites. ‘Average’ is smack in the middle – neither here, nor there.
There is nothing wrong with falling into any of the categories, each sends an entirely different message to the outer world. Depending on what message you wish to convey, is what category your attire will ultimately place you in.
To me, being ‘exceptionally dressed’ says, you care about and value your self-worth. You want to get ahead in life, and you want to be noticed for the right reasons.
Dressing ‘average’ tells me, you too care, and want to get ahead in life, but you lack a bit of self-belief. You are therefore happy to blend in – after all, life is easier when you ‘follow the crowd’.
Lastly, we have the ‘utterly woeful’— this screams that you don’t care, and have little or no belief in yourself. Perhaps because of this, you are desperate for some much needed attention, but I must inform you this approach, often attracts the wrong kind of attention.
The ‘utterly woeful’ category, is not one I take pleasure in critiquing, in fact, it really saddens me to see a fellow human, being mocked and laughed at.
When I see someone so terribly dressed, it makes me realise how thankful I am. I have parents who are ‘exceptionally dressed’ and took the time to teach me: different perceptions come from how you present yourself.
Whether you like it or not, your presentation is how people will first judge you. Due to this I’d like to share my observed traits from each category.
1 - Utterly Woeful—the men who fell into this category on Derby Day had the following fashion faux pas: ill fitted clothing, either too big or too small. One man had a jacket so small, the seam across his back had split, and the sleeves awkwardly sat three inches above his wrists. Another gent had pants sooo tight, I could uncomfortably see the dimensions of his crutch.
What stood out the most in this category was clashing colours, prints and styles. I saw a tuxedo jacket, paired with jeans – a massive fashion no, no. Bold colours were paired with bold prints, I would advise to stick with one or the other—in this case, less is always more!
2 - Average—has more subtle no, no’s. Most would not notice, but to those who fall into the ‘exceptional’ category, these faux pas are like a red rag to a bull: un-ironed clothes, especially men’s shirts (it looks so untidy). Ties not tied properly (a double Windsor knot is always best). I also noticed people in this category, tended to play it safe with their choice in outfit: everything from their pants, jacket, shirt and tie was very plain and lacked in quality (material and cut).
3 - Exceptional—had one main distinction between ‘average’ (both aren’t too far apart): attention to detail, the ‘exceptionals’ have a keen eye for what I call the ‘finer details’.
You won’t find loose threads dangling from their outfits, shoes are polished, cufflinks are worn, a decorative handkerchief is on display in the outer jacket pocket. Fingernails are clean and manicured. Hair (head and face) is immaculately presented.Every little detail has been carefully thought about, and well executed.
Everybody is different and has their own unique style. Some will never aspire to fall into the ‘exceptional’ category (which is fine), but consider this: what message is your style saying to the world. Think about whether or not that message is in alignment with how you would like to be perceived by others.
First impressions do count, and first impressions do last!
Stacey Sellars is an aspiring Author and freelancer.