In my new book, The Rule Breakers Guide, I have a chapter titled: Putting On The Glitz or what to wear in public. I write about the complex codes and the unspoken rules that determine and decide how we appear in public. It highlights the dilemmas for the professional stage and particularly if you are female. It is a fact of life that we humans pay far too much attention to appearances and yet we know it makes a difference. I mean you wouldn’t show up in court and stand before a judge wearing beachwear – would you? Or attending a book launch, accepting a prize for your brilliant speech – wearing your pyjamas? Unfortunately, what is considered acceptable, presentable even allowed varies immensely. And how we show up influences those watching and listening.
“Every time we step out of our homes we pay some kind of attention to our appearance. We go through a series of rituals to prepare ourselves for the outside world depending on where we are going and whom we maybe meeting”
Putting On The Glitz or what to wear in public, has been a dilemma for many public speakers. It is a question I am asked a lot. Funny how I seldom hear this question from the men! Women want to dress to impress, yet be comfortable and at the same time feel good! How do you decide what to wear that makes a smart impression, is super comfortable and fits your brand? Well, I don’t have all the answers, but I do know it is hard to please all the people all the time.
-If you look like a million dollars – you’ll get a million dollars – Georgia Varjas
For women, the guidelines are sticky and long and there are rules too! Many women complain that it doesn’t matter what they wear, there will always be a comment or complaint. Even the news today is still advising, cajoling and demanding that women dress as they are told. Read this and see the pressure continually inflicted upon women. It seems our appearance is often judged, critiqued and ridiculed, by women and men.https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/aug/15/how-bridezilla-became-this-summers-biggest-sexist-slur
-We have no template for what a powerful woman looks like, except that she rather looks like a man – Mary Beard
In my book, I write that “whether we like it or not or are aware or not, it takes less than 10 seconds to make an appraisal about someone according to how they appear.
We understand on a primal level that how we decorate our faces, our bodies and our words, will affect the responses of those around us.”
One piece of advice I can offer – is to keep assumptions and judgements to the last. If a person shows up in court, on a stage or for a book launch wearing beachwear – please tell them. But tell them kindly.
Help each other to Step Up & Stand Out in all areas. Keep your criticisms to yourself. Listen and look for content, body language and energy.
At The Authentic Performance Workshop I shall be hosting in October here in Spain, I shall be looking at all the brilliant ways writers, speakers and business owners can really excel on Video, Stage or Page. How they can use the power of language to reveal their story, charisma and quality offers that work on social media outlets today. Jump on the link to discover more.
wonderful article, Georgia! But I disagree with the Mary Beard quote. We DO have 2 outstanding examples of ‘powerful’ women. Margeret Thatcher and Angela Merkle. I wouldn’t say either of those got to their positions with the help of their dress sense! But who gives a damn? a nation does not need a fashion model to represent it in politics…
Yes Elaine we have many fantastic women out there, Mary Beard herself and you and me ! But she is referring to a template. A woman who looks like a woman is still not acceptable being her point. A woman who looks like….fill in the gaps. It’s not about the Oprahs, Katty Kays, carrie Greens, Julia Gillard’s – it is about how we appear as women. Men can wear what they like but women are also being judged for how they appear not what they say.
BJ looks like a buffoon but no one kicks him out! etc etc etc……
As I’ve matured, I’ve tried being less judgemental, but – even silently – can’t avoid being secretively selective about what’s before me. Some people, usually those who are not over-weight, are attractive and have a pleasant persona, can usually get away with iffy fashion. But…for us lesser mortals in the glamour department, I’d say that clothes are very important indeed. You certainly shouldn’t dress like a page 3 girl if attending Court… etc.,It’s certainly liberating to be able to choose what you wear in today’s society, but still prudent to give it some thought.
Spot on Joy! Unfortunately, we all have a critical eye! I try to listen more than look!