Hey, Rebels. Welcome back to another episode. Today I want to talk about the power of your image, and potentially ways that you may be sabotaging not only your image, but your income. Now, most of you may or may not know, but amongst my many certifications and degrees that I have, I'm also a certified image consultant. And part of the reason that I became a certified image consultant is because I understood this psychology of what you wear and how it impacts your confidence and how you show up in the world. And I was curious about that relationship, that how when people dress up really well that they perform differently, they actually perform better. They project a whole different image of who they are in the minds of the other people that are around them. And I was really fascinated by that to really understand that connection. Not to mention I am a shoe fanatic and love shopping.
So the two went really well. And one of the things that image consultants are trained is not just understanding appearance, but also the relationship of your appearance, your behavior, and your communication skills. So image consultants are trained, they're different than stylists who tend to focus on what you look like and making sure that you're stylish and up to date and on trend with things that are out there. Whereas image consultants are more behavioral consultants who are looking at the impact of your image on how you show up. It's part of the whole field of executive presence, your gravitas, your je ne sais quoi, if you will, in terms of how you show up when you walk in a room, how you show up for an interview or in your role, and how it's aligned to who you are fundamentally. So that you're showing up authentically, not with some made up look to make you look a certain way, but something that is generated from foundationally who you are, and what you wear becomes a reflection of not only who you are, but also where you're going in the world.
So it's a pretty complicated process, and the certification process and the training for it is a little bit more in depth than other things. And I've found it completely fascinating, and it's part of the branding work. When I talk about messaging and marketing, I also talk about imaging when I work with my clients to make sure that when they're stepping into the career and life that they love, they're also showing up in the way that's reflective of that so it's authentically and genuine to who they are. So let's get in it for a little bit.
I wrote a book some years ago called Your Clothes Speak, that understanding the psychological relationship between who you are and what you wear. And I talked about the process of understanding how to build that connection so that your image can be reflective of you in a certain way, and you can utilize your clothing in order to do that. And the reason it matters is because what you wear affects and influences how others see you, respond and interact with you. It also profoundly alters your own mood. It can stimulate your mind and energy, it can enhance your feelings of confidence and self-worth, and it can make you feel more powerful and in control of certain situations. Everything has energy, and really what we're talking about is how you control the energy around you, including the colors, the patterns, the textures, and the clothing itself in terms of what you wear so that it can serve to support you and uplift you as opposed to stopping you dead in your tracks or being a drain on you.
There are a lot of times that I work with clients who have been told that they haven't been able to promote to the C-Suite or promote to higher levels of leadership because they just don't have that presence. They just don't have the confidence, the behavior, the look and the feel of someone who should be at that level. And many, many, many times when I do work with my clients, it starts with the fact that the way they're showing up and what they're wearing is not reflective of someone who has that confidence, who has that ability to own a room. So clothing is anything but trivial. And so even though intuitively I think we understand these things, we sometimes like to dismiss it, to think, "Oh, it's just shopping and clothes," but it's so much more. In fact, 93% of our communication is based on our appearance and what people visually take in around us.
So if you get it wrong, it's like an umbrella going up between you and your intended audience. And it only takes 1/10th of a second. You may have heard three seconds or seven seconds or five seconds, but studies show it takes 1/10th of a second to form an impression. And studies further show that the longer the exposure, it doesn't significantly alter the first impression. Because once trust is gone, you can almost never get it back, or you're going to have to work super, super, super hard to try to re-earn the trust once the first impression is set. So you're never going to get the client or the opportunity or the promotional opportunity that may be in front of you that one occasion back. So you're going to have to almost go back to the drawing board and start all over to change the perception in other people's minds.
I mean, think about it. Who are we going to believe, our own thoughts and perspective or what you're telling me I should believe? It doesn't matter what someone says if what they're saying doesn't match against what we're seeing. I even had a situation where I was talking with the mayor of the town that I live in, and we were talking about this very topic and how important it was for her and how she thought about it with her staff. And she was walking into her office one day knowing she was interviewing a couple of new people to join her team, but one of the people in the interview room, or in the waiting room, she thought totally looked like he was prepared for the interview and was excited to have a conversation with him. But the other person in the room, she didn't know why that person was there.
She thought, well, is the person assisting the other person? Or maybe they're here on some civil matter or they're a member of the community to have a conversation. Well, when the person walked in to interview for the position, she said the problem was not that she couldn't interview the person and get through the interview, but because she had formed a perception of them before they walked in the room, it took her longer to even see them as a viable candidate because she had already written them off based on their appearance and how they were showing up. So this stuff is powerful. It's very powerful. It's important, and your appearance is the filter through which everything you say or do is evaluated. And it can have a significant impact on your income. In fact, research published in the American Economic Review found that those with an improved image enjoyed a 20% increase in income.
And the Wall Street Journal did also, they put out a study a few years ago where actually they increased that number to 30%. So what would you do with a 20 or 30% raise? And compound that over years. Maybe if you didn't land that promotion, that would've been a 20% raise, and now you're five years down the line. That is 20% year by year by year, you have missed out on, that compounds, because maybe for some reason your presence wasn't what it needed to be. It's a hard truth, but what you wear and how you carry yourself makes a difference and will determine if you land the job, nab the promotion, rock the stage or obtain your new client. So how would you rank your image? How would you rank how you show up in the world? Is there visual static? And by visual static, I mean, are you saying that you're gregarious and you have a bold personality, but you're wearing things that make you look small and not so bold and confident?
Are you lacking authenticity? Is there a misalignment between who you are and what you want and what you're wearing? You've heard the adage that you don't dress for the job you have, you dress for the job you want. Well, I believe that you just want to dress authentically, but part of that authentic image and brand is about you also dressing in a way that tells people where you're going in the future. So if you feel invisible or you're unsure of yourself or wondering how the superstar you once were got lost, or you don't feel as confident as you could at work or in networking events or when making new connections, and maybe you're changing your outfits three or four times every morning because you're like, "Ugh, this doesn't work." In fact, most people only really wear 20% of their closet because most of the things in there don't really work for them. And it's because they don't know how to find those right things that demonstrate who they are and makes them feel amazing.
They buy things because somebody else suggested it or it looked good on somebody else, or the stylist in the store said, "Oh, you look amazing," or your girlfriend said, "You got to have this." So most of us only wear 20% of our wardrobe, and most of that was by luck that we got it right. But the fact that we have 80% of the things in our closet that we don't wear shows that we really aren't in tune with what are the best things for us to wear. So as I said, if you're feeling invisible, unsure of yourself, wondering how maybe you once were on top of things, maybe you had a child or a family situation or things changed. You were confident at one point but now you're not, and you're changing your outfits so many times.
And you have no idea where to begin or are totally clueless about what looks best on your current body, not the 20 year old body, but now your 40 plus, 50 plus year old body, then you really want to lead into making sure that you're understanding your image and what that is and the image that's reflecting who you are, the gifts you have to offer the world and where you're going, the vision you have for your future. That's such an important part of your imaging. You want to understand where it's holding you back and potentially sabotaging your success. So what I want to do is kind of go through five ways in which your image could be sabotaging you and things that you should be doing so that you show up amazingly. One quote that I absolutely love by Coco Chanel, I think she's my spirit animal, is, "Dress shabbily and they remember the dress, but dress impeccably and they remember the woman." And that is so true. That is so true, I can't emphasize that enough.
And it's because your appearance, and this, again, all of this is based in psychology and scientific research, and this, as I said, the thing that drew me to this topic to begin with was all the research that was done around this. But your appearance showcases both your strengths and your weaknesses. And studies have shown that when you wear ill-fitted or outdated clothes, it can signal a lack of awareness and knowledge or understanding of current and relevant information. It can signal a lack of maturity or ability to handle complex or high level tasks. And you can appear to have a lack of concern about even yourself or others. And it demonstrates a lack of confidence, control, and skills, which often equate to poor performance. This is why people don't get the job or don't land the promotion. So Coco was right.
When you dress shabbily, they remember the dress, but dress impeccably, they remember you. So meaning when you're wearing things that are aligned, not ill-fitted, not outdated, but really follow the distinguishable natural attributes that I call your DNA of your body, when it really aligns with you, when the colors are right, when the patterns are right, when the textures are right, and you feel amazing in it, you can communicate either competence or lack of competence. You can communicate a maturity or lack of maturity. You could communicate a sense of awareness and understanding of complex high level tasks and abilities, or you could communicate the opposite.
It does definitely the appearance to other people, the perception to other people is that you just don't cut it, you're just not ready. And that is really, really powerful. It's about connection, alignment and resonance. And if there's a lack of congruence between your self-proclaimed skills and abilities and how you show up, you'll struggle with advancing in your business and career. Remember, as I said earlier, which is why I titled my book that, your clothes speak. So what do you want to do? Well, you want to understand how to dress your body, how to find the right colors, how to wear the right fabrics and patterns that uplift you and build connection and alignment as opposed to causing dissonance and resistance.
Remember, I said everything has energy and energy either draws people in or repels people away. And what you want to do is understand the science of style so that you know how to build a powerful image that is going to support you in terms of where you are and where you want to go. The second thing is that you want to be careful about wearing all black. And women love wearing black. Particularly as you get older, it becomes easy, you think it hides a bunch of things, and so women tend to lean into black. So there was a great quote that I found that I love that said, "I'm wearing all black to mourn the death of my motivation." And that's exactly kind of what it is. Color is a powerful phenomenon and it stimulates our brains in different ways. And the way we respond to certain colors can say a lot about who we are.
And again, studies show that people who wear black all the time lack power or are trying to shield themselves from certain emotions, or they're trying to create distance, or they're trying to divert attention away from how they look. It's one of the reasons. Now, Steve Jobs is an example of somebody who wore black all the time, and he was quoted as saying, "It's just easy. I don't have time to think about what I wear, so I just grab it and go." But he really did have a sense of who he was, and he was in a very powerful position. So being as rich as he was, you can maybe say, yes, he can wear what he wants. But if you're trying to get there, you want to be very cognitive of how you use color and using it in a way that allows you to have a friendly, approachable energy and not an unfriendly, unapproachable energy.
So if black also is not one of your best colors, you don't want to wear it because it can really drain energy from your face and it could really make you look sickly as opposed to making you look amazing. Now, I'm a fan of wearing black, but I love wearing black when it makes a statement. So if you're using it in a way that has interest or it's in fabrics that grab your attention like, I don't know, leather or suede, or it has a style to it that's really unique and not just a plain black drab thing, that could actually be very different and something that could be really useful. So you also don't want to join a sea of other people who are also wearing black. So if everyone's wearing black to the interview, why not grab a different color to stand out?
You don't want to blend in with everyone, to be nondescript, you want to actually show up so that you're not invisible, but very visible. So what do you need to do? Figure out your best colors and really lean into them in terms of your wardrobe. Now, there may be situations where you have to wear black or you have to wear certain things. That's totally fine and understandable. But you can always add interest and something authentic to how you wear it so that it shows up better. But if you can wear color, always side on the side of the best colors for you. If you have a variety of colors in your closet, figure out which ones are really best for your skin tone and also best for your brand. What really supports you moving forward? There are five types of ways to use color that I usually work with with my clients around so they find the right use of color for them, and that's something that I would definitely suggest for you.
Now, the third thing is what I spoke about a little bit before about wearing black is having no authentic style. And I love this quote that says, "Style is a way to say who you are without saying a word" And that's very, very true. Again, 93% of our communication comes from what we see as our perception. So when we see people dressed a certain way, we have a certain idea about what they do, who they are, where they're from. It's just human nature. It's how we're designed, which is to see things and make some determinations about them. So whether you like it or not, your clothes speak and can have a serious effect on your ability to achieve success. Therefore, you want to make sure that you're showing up authentically and that you're communicating the messages that you want to communicate to other people. Impression management is the strategic process of presenting yourself in a way that will positively influence and engage your image and your perception in the eye of others.
And impression management as a field has actually been around since the fifties. The term was coined in the 1950s in social psychology. And so this idea of making an impression and utilizing it strategically is something that's been embedded in our culture for a long time, but not something that we've leaned into in a way that we should. So think about your authentic style. What is that? It should be based on having a strong understanding of the essence of who you are, as well as your vision and your goals and where you're going. That's how you determine your style. It doesn't have to look like everyone else. When I work with my clients and they have this idea of professional and personal wear, professional is always suits. And so I always get told, well, I don't want to wear suits, I don't like suits, or I don't like dresses, or things of that nature.
And I'm like, you don't have to wear what you don't love. You shouldn't wear what you don't love. Now, if your company requires a certain type of uniform, that's different, but you could still add a unique touch to it to make it your own. But if it doesn't require that, don't wear what you think they think you should wear, find your authentic style and wear that. One way to determine your style is by considering three things, your lifestyle, your workplace, and your industry. And if your attire is vastly different in these three areas, ask yourself which of the styles do you actually prefer. And from there, work to expand your preferred wardrobe in a way to make it appropriate for the other areas of your life. Again, I do this work in depth with my clients as part of a service, the part of the branding service that I offer to really help them bring that alignment so that no matter where they're going, they can walk in their closet and everything is available.
They're not throwing things away, changing three or four times a day. They know exactly what they can wear because it's aligned authentically to who they are, and they always feel confident no matter where they are. The fourth thing is body size and size issues. And I really want to spend a moment on this, particularly for us curvy girls like myself who may be struggling with not liking where their body is, remembering the time before the children and when they were in their twenties and not having the same body that they have now, and then trying to hide it or not wanting to showcase who they are behind their ideas and negative self-talk about their body size and body shape. I love this quote too: "There's nothing wrong with your body, but there is a lot wrong with the messages that try to convince you otherwise." And that is so true.
It is no secret that we have a love-hate relationship with our body, but it comes from the messaging that we've been receiving societally that tells us something's wrong with us. In fact, surveys have found that 60% of adult women have negative thoughts about themselves weekly. There is something else I saw that said, when women look in the mirror in the morning, they can spot at least 22 things that they don't like about their bodies. And on average, nine out of 10 women do not like the way they look in front of a mirror and so they frequently talk themselves down. Listen, I always say this, you have to love yourself whether you are a size two or 22. And if you can't love yourself at a size 22, you'll never love yourself at a size two, because there's going to always be something externally that you're looking for to make you feel better.
You want somebody else to say, "Oh, look at you. Don't you look great?" As opposed to you saying, "I do look great." Now, I'm not saying if you are a size 22 that you shouldn't ever try to lose weight if that's not your goal. If you want to lose weight, do it. But if you are not in the process of trying to lose weight, don't beat yourself up, telling yourself constantly, "Oh, I wish I was smaller," if you're not doing anything about it. Just enjoy where you are until you make a decision to do something different. Negative self-talk will sabotage your self-esteem and your confidence every time. And a lack of confidence will negatively impact your image and the perception that people have about you. You'll act upon that negative energy. It'll determine how you show up, if you don't think you're good enough, if you can't trust yourself, if you don't think you're worthy or capable. It will impact people's perception of your intelligence and ability to do things.
We think sometimes that people are shaming us or negative toward people because of their weight, but honestly, it's because you're putting out a perception that you're not happy. Now, I'm not saying there's not discrimination around body weight and issues, there is, but sometimes we have to make sure that we're not projecting something about ourselves as opposed to just assuming someone is doing something to ourselves. We want to make sure we're looking all the way around. Negative body issues will impact the way you communicate, how you command a room, a meeting, or a stage. So it's really important that we don't do it. And here's what I suggest that you do. Start celebrating your body for all that it allows you to do every day. Focus on the positive things that you do love and highlight those. Engage in positive self-talk daily. Focus on your parts of your body that you love, and celebrate them and show them off.
Make sure that you're wearing perfume, that you add a great lipstick, that you're wearing scents that make you feel amazing, that you're getting massages so that you feel incredible. Compliment yourself daily and accept the compliments that others give you as well. When you believe you're beautiful and wonderfully made, others will too. So lean into feeling positive about yourself. That is a huge factor in how you communicate what you look like, how you show up, and the energy you project, and what could come back your way. The last thing is try not to do this by yourself. You can see it's a lot of work. I call it the art and science of image and branding. This is a big part of what I do. So I love this quote, Rosemary Clooney said, "So you see, you can't do everything alone," and that's very true.
So most likely you're here, or most likely you've listened to this, or most likely this episode caught your attention because you've tried to do it alone and you're like, "It's just not working," or, "I've tried to work with people and I don't understand what's going on." However, with anything else that happens, without an urgent desire and a proven process and accountability to support and support, it's hard to really get what you want. And that's why I offer a service for people to be able to support them. I have a program called the Confident Image Solution that I utilize with my clients. I'll drop information in the show notes if you want to take advantage of it, or take a look to see if it's going to be working for you. And it goes through these particular steps that may be sabotaging your income so that you could actually utilize your image powerfully in order to get exactly what it is that you want.
So when you have the support and the tools that you need, you can create the visual brand of your image in a way that's going to get you the life and career that you absolutely want. So that's what I have for you today. Stop trivializing your wardrobe and your brand and how you show up. Use these tips to kickstart the process for yourself and to make the impact that you want to make in your life and career. And hey, listen, if you want to talk to me more about it, I invite you to join me on a 30-minute strategy session, and let's talk about your visual brand and your brand overall, and how it may be impacting your ability to get what you want in your life and career. I'm more than happy to support you. I'll drop the rest of the links in the show notes so you can find the other information that I talked about to support you. And listen, until next time, have an amazingly rebellious week. Bye-bye.