First impressions – Smack on a smile…
So September always heralds the start of new things…. new term, new school shoes, new X-Factor or Strictly series to get stuck into and if you read my blog post last month, new lifestyle for me as my youngest starts school. My blog this month seems to be split into how all this “newness” can be approached with Life Coaching advice as well as titbits from my Image Consultancy.
Now I have got used to and accepted the idea that I am having to “move on” to the next stage of life as a mummy, I keep getting shivers of excitement at the positives…. namely the thought of having a bit more control over my time again for the first time in seven years. During the last few weeks of the summer holidays I was making mental notes every time I saw things that bugged me around my home that I knew, come September 7th, I could start sorting out.
With my “Life Coaching” hat firmly on, I also began to work out what my “new week” was going to look like and how I was going to reach the goals I have regularly set myself during the last 7 years and had to repeatedly let go of as I realised they were unachievable. Such as #1 “Incorporating regular, formal exercise into my day, preferably before 9.30am”. #2 “Fulfilling all social media updates/requirements by 10.30am”- ready to start my day of work.
Approached in the same way as I would with my clients – these goals are precise and my action points to achieve them will be small and attainable, ie I will update my LinkedIn status three times a week, not every day or only chose exercise I enjoy otherwise I won’t stick at it. There is always the need to be ready to “flex” on these details as you begin to work on them and see how they are panning out; the key is, change your plan if necessary, but never the goal!
The starting of a new school is obviously about making sure your child is happy, secure, knows what’s happening and hopefully, quickly settles in and starts to make new friends. However, I was reminded by a friend the other day, the new start is also a bit of a test for parents in wanting to “create the right impression”. As my friend said “I hate it that I care- I feel I shouldn’t…but I do!”
She doesn’t want to stick out, nor does she want to fade into the background…
She doesn’t want others to be easily able to “categorise” her by her clothes or what she says…
She wants to look friendly but not desperate…
She wants to dress well but doesn’t want to look like she has meticulously planned her outfits….
She doesn’t want to be judged unfairly on the days when trackie bums and a baggy sweatshirt are the only way forward….
All these things are part of our natural human behaviour when meeting people for the first time …an innate need to be accepted and feel as quickly as possible that you belong.
So…my advice? To arm yourself with a few wardrobe staples that you feel really good in, that show off your best features so that you feel comfortable and confident. They don’t have to be high fashion, expensive, a whole outfit…. they just make you feel good. Then you can take the playground by storm …. (I want to stress again- I am not forgetting the main reason you are there is to bring or collect your children to/from school…!)
- Have a selection of scarves that are in your best colours (I call them “wow” colours). That way you can be wearing simple neutral separates but can immediately elevate the outfit by adding the scarf before walking out the door to take/collect your little darling(s). Having a really good colour right next to your face can totally change the way you look- it brings warmth, clarity, brightness and interest to your natural colouring, with very little effort on your part.
- Compile a collection of necklaces and/or earrings that create a statement…so again- you can be wearing a simple outfit but you add the pop of colour or sparkle and it completely changes the look. This can be added to your outfit in seconds….another “as you walk out the door” gem…. so you don’t need to wear them all day and feel like you can’t do the hovering in it as you are ‘too smart’.
- Play around with some lipstick colours or learn how to do a good eyeliner “flick” so even if your outfit is feeling a little “blurgh” your face is looking more “zing”… here is a good tutorial on how to perfect the eyeliner technique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBVxiXCyRKo
- A statement coat is always going to be a really useful addition to your wardrobe…it’s just deciding what type of statement you want to make. Some people might like it to be in a really bright colour. I always have a secret hankering for a bright yellow rain mac….but last Autumn I instead went for a charcoal grey geometric print coat from Topshop…. and it has been so useful as I can be wearing really simple, neutral separates underneath and the coat does all the hard work for me.
There are a few coat options that have caught my eye, coming into the shops now that would do the same…
So…to summarise – know your colours, wear what you feel comfortable in, make a statement with one piece….but ultimately (and I apologise for sounding saccharin and clichéd) smack on a smile- a smiling, confident face does more to make an impression then any clothes will do!