The 10 Commandments Of Dressing

The 10 Commandments Of Dressing

These 10 Commandants of Dressing provide structure for your wardrobe which is an important investment by you in your image, your style and your finances. You also want to project your authentic self. It is so easy to get it wrong.

When contemplating a purchase or just deciding what to wear, think of these 10 principles to help you look your best.

1. Know what you like and what you don’t like – You should know your style 

There is a lot to say about defining your style and a lot of factors go into it. Basically it should honestly reflect your psychological and emotional fashion personality which is your “internal” style, the real you.

Coco Chanel said “When there is an incompatibility between style and a certain state of mind, it is never style that triumphs”

coco chanel

2) Dress for yourself and not for anyone else – It is your true personality that you are projecting through your clothes.

How do you want to be perceived? You don’t want there to be a disconnect between who you really are and your image. Have you ever felt that people did not understand you or perhaps didn’t really know you. It could have been that they were not interested to. It may also be that you had not put much thought into who you were and what message you wanted to project. I think it is easier for cis women as they grow up as little girls, influenced by their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, peers… Did you know that we are unconsciously influenced by the 5 people we frequent the most.

Dressing for yourself

3) Dress appropriately for your age – Otherwise it will look like you are trying too hard and it will age you.

How you feel about your age and its implications have an important impact on how you feel about yourself and ultimately how you look, dress and present yourself to the world. You may feel like you are in college, even though you are 60 and that is wonderful. However, the body changes and you are not alone in this world, you live in a society where there are rules and people make assumptions.

Why would you want to feel rejected? Wouldn’t you prefer people to think that you look stunning and well put together? Wouldn’t you like people to look up to you? I would love to wear shorter skirts but that would imply that I had perfect legs and that is not the case. You want to show what looks attractive not the contrary. After a certain age, a very low cut blouse for instance is no longer age appropriate. For one, most women have wrinkled chests. Secondly, it gives off a vulgar vibe. I’m not saying you should dress dowdily, we can look modern and trendy at any age. But we don’t want to look like we have raided our teenage daughter’s closet.

Dressing appropriately

4) Dress to suit your body shape – It is all about optical illusion –

Understanding your body’s unique beauty and shape is essential.

Every body is unique. Understanding how to dress your body will help you create a figure flattering image every time you get dressed.

When your hips and shoulders are the same width and you have a defined waist, the figure is considered balanced. Once you get acquainted with your shape, know what to enhance, what to minimize, where you are wide, where you are narrow and the tactics to appear taller, slimmer or more balanced, you will feel so much better in your clothes. It’s really that simple.

dressing the inverted triangle

5) Look appropriate for where you are going – Learn what to wear when, social rules are important. The world does not adapt to us, we need to adapt to the world. It has always been like this and always will be.

We must know what is acceptable to avoid being labelled as ignorant of social rules. Besides, we want to be comfortable and feel at our best at all occasions and the way we are dressed is a big part of that.

When dressing, learn the difference between;

Casual and dressy Casual,

Country Club Casual, Business Casual, …

What should you wear for a wedding if it is in the afternoon versus evening?

Semi-formal or Black Tie or

When are jeans acceptable.

6) Wear your clothes with confidence – We select our clothes with an idea or image in mind whether it is consciously or unconsciously. It brings out and projects your true essence, embrace it.

Your clothing becomes just another way you express yourself and your individuality to the world. Style is about creating ensembles that represent you by mixing them with your attitude, personality and your creative use of accessories. Style is about being comfortable in your own skin.

Every morning, we decide on an ensemble according to our mood, the venue, activity we will be doing and our feelings. We play an authentic role!

dressing to wear clothes confidently

7) Feel good about what you spend your money on – Whatever the price, love what you purchase. The average woman spends in average 5% of their yearly income in clothing. It is an investment. When thinking of a purchase, there are a lot of factors to consider of which, the cost per wear is one

 If a garment is 50$ and you only wear it once = cost per wear 50$ a year and you may have to add the dry cleaning for each wear.

If a garment is 50$ and you can create at least 5 different outfits that you will wear twice a month with variations =  cost per wear 0.41 $

Dressing to feel good about money spent

8) Embrace your Individual style because this is YOU

Your image should be created with purpose and intent so that the image you convey is who you are and how you want to be perceived by others. Your image should be aligned with your personal goals, lifestyle, personality and preferences because it is an authentic reflection of you.

9) Don’t be a slave to trends – Not all trends are for all people – Know what you can and cannot wear.

As indicated earlier, knowing your body shape is essential as, for every body type there are a set of guidelines to follow to flatter the body. For a rectangular figure for example, you will want to create a waist and avoid straight lines. An inverted triangle will want to avoid large shoulder pads and pencil skirts. Each season has new trends. They may not be your style or color. The best way to experiment a new trend, if you wish to, is with accessories. It is not a large investment and it brings a new vibe and update to an outfit.

dont be slave to trends when dressing

10) Don’t be afraid to break the rules – When working with a client, I define their body type and give them suggestions on what they can and cannot wear for that shape. However, every body is specific and you may find that some things that are not on the list actually suit you well. When shopping try on everything and you may find that some garments could be worn with just a little tweaking. The list may say that you cannot wear pleated skirts but it may depend how the pleats are laid and how the skirt is constructed. A stylist can advise you with these details.

 break the rules

Hope you enjoy these tips.

You might also enjoy our Primer on Understanding Different Fashion Styles in the Dressing Room or Rachel Rollins Ten Commandments of Crossdressing

Anna McConnellGuest Columnist:  Anna Mc Connell

Anna is a Transformational Coach & Wardrobe Stylist.  Anna helps women and Trans-women create and maintain an efficient and functional wardrobe to suit their lifestyle, body type, personality and budget. You can reach her at



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