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I believe that my clothes can give people a better image of themselves – that it can increase their feelings of confidence and happiness.

Giorgio Armani

“I feel so frumpy at work,” Leanne said to me during a coaching call. “I don’t take the time to dress up anymore,” she continued. I asked, “Why don’t you take the time?” At that moment, I looked down at my flannel pajamas and noticed my coffee breath. I glanced at the clock. Noon.

My mind instantly flashed to the feeling of shame that I would feel on any given afternoon, when the UPS man would bust me at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, still wrapped up in my robe, looking like I had the flu.

Then I thought about Ma (my grandmother). I knew better.

She lived alone in a little trailer in North Carolina on Rough-N-Ready Road (I kid you not!). She woke up every morning, said her prayers, put on dress and fixed her bun (those were the days when women went to the beauty salon once a week to have their hair styled for the week). She was always ready, but never rough!

I can’t remember a time that I came over at noon to find her still hanging out in her pajamas. She always took pride in how she looked. There were days that no one came by, but she knew something.

It wasn’t about others. It was how she felt about herself.

I had my chic awakening.

That was the day I said, “No more.”

While it may not seem like a big deal to get up and get dressed when you’re home alone (because who’s going to see you, right?), it’s impacted every area of my life. Most importantly, it’s affected the relationship with myself.

You get to know who you truly are when you’re all alone and no one’s watching. And, truth be told, I didn’t like how I was showing up for myself.

During that call with Leanne, I knew I was out of character. I wasn’t being the woman I wanted to be.

Sure, I’d dress up to meet friends for dinner or anytime I thought I may run into another human being, but at home alone, I looked like a bad lady.

Isn’t it fascinating how we’ll put in the effort
to dress up for others but not ourselves? 

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Yet, there I was coaching women around living their lives like a work of art, while I looked like I’d been spray painted with carelessness.

While no one saw me (except for that poor UPS man, bless his heart), I saw me. And, I did not like what I was seeing.

That’s when I realized that I wanted to be the kind of woman who impresses herself, not others.

Now, regardless of whether I’m sitting at home on the phone working with clients or walking the streets of Paris, I put in the effort to look my best.

I don’t get all decked to the nines in Dior to clean the house or work out of my home office. But, I do shower, put on something that feels comfortable and beautiful and show up in a way that pleases me.

(And, yes, I still have the occasional loungewear day, but it’s a choice, not a habit. I like to think of it as “Casual Fridays” at the office.)

Since being more intentional in how I dress (and therefore feel) and stopped wearing pajamas to work,

My business has grown tremendously.

I’ve become a better coach (dare I say, one of the best).

It’s been easier to maintain my weight.

My confidence has increased.

I’m happier.

Can I attribute this to simply showing up for myself when it comes to my clothes? I think it’s a big part of it, because it’s about more than the clothes. It’s about showing up as the woman you desire to be in all areas of your life.

Your style tells your story one outfit at a time.

My old pattern was to wake up and think, “I don’t feel so hot today.” I’d proceed to wearing something that told that story.

These days, I love to ask myself things like…

How do I want to feel today?
What would the best life coach on the planet wear today?
What would Oprah wear today?

Questions like those have taken me from feeling frumpy to chic!

Instead of waking up and choosing clothes to match where you are, choose clothes that represent where you want to be.

Everything is energy.

Yes, including the clothes you wear.

If you want to know what kind of energy they hold, ask yourself: How do I feel in this?

(By the way, if you love hanging out in your pajamas until dinner or wearing baggy clothes to work and you feel fabulous doing it, I say: “Rock ON!”)

Treat everything as if it matters, because it does.

It doesn’t matter if you are cleaning your toilet or talking to a boardroom of top executives.

Take the time to do it with pride and passion.

Show up in your life as the woman you desire to be.

Decide on purpose.

Personally, I want to live with joy, style and passion. I want to go to bed feeling like I gave this day all I’ve got.

Admittedly, sometimes my best is no makeup, yoga pants and a sweatshirt. But, the difference is that it’s a choice I make, not habit. For me, too many days in Lululemon, and I start to feel rather blah.

How you feel influences what your actions and your actions are creating your life.

So, feeling inspired, joyful, confident or (insert your most effective emotion here) is important.

When you take the time to look and feel your best, regardless of who’s watching, magical things begin to happen.

Remember, you’re doing this for you, not for anyone else. So, if wearing no-makeup and sporting a cute pair of jeans and t-shirt is your style, then wear it. This is not about dressing for anyone other than you.

Here are some prompts:

How do I want to feel today?

How would a <insert your dream job position here > dress?

How would <insert your biggest inspirational character here >  dress?

Then, use your answer to choose your next outfit.

Here are some of my client results who started dressing with intention:

Weight loss.
Job promotions.
Increased salary.
Hot, steamy marriages.
Found their lover.
Business growth.
More joy and confidence.

The moral of this story:

Show up for your life…and do it in your own unique style.

Whatever you choose to do, go all in.

And, in the famous words of Yves Saint Laurent, “Passion is the best makeup.”

I’m just sayin.


JOIN THE CHIC CONVERSATION BELOW: Have you noticed your clothes impacting how you feel about yourself and life? I’d love to hear about your positive and not-so-positive experiences in the comments section below.

The Self-Image Manifesto

You’re Invited To Live An Extraordinary Life!