To a large extent we dress for ourselves and our own needs. Our style reflects our aesthetic preferences and our lifestyle, resulting in a look that’s all about us. But to some degree we also tailor our outfits to suit the audience.
For example, I find that I adjust my outfit to suit the dress code of each individual client. When I’m shopping for career wear with an executive, I’ll wear a Theory suit or pull out my most pristine professional separates. When I’m shopping with a client who leads a very casual lifestyle, I might wear faded boyfriend jeans with a pullover, moto jacket and booties. I’ll wear business casual attire when shopping with a business casual client. And a skirt or a dress when I’m with a client who loves frocks.
I think my clients will relate to me more easily when I’m wearing something along the lines of the clothes we’re shopping for. I might put off one of my casual clients if I wore a suit on our shopping day. And I would not make a professional impression if I dressed up jeans for a business formal shopping session.
I sometimes also take into account my client’s colour preferences or style goals. Although I love wearing happy bright colours, I will stick to a neutral outfit if I’m shopping with a client who has an aversion to brights. Or, if I know my client wants to add blush pink and white to her wardrobe, I might wear an outfit incorporating these shades as an example. Just recently I went shopping with a client who enjoys wearing white as much as I do. So I wore white-out that day, which she appreciated, and consequently we put together a similar look for her.
I hope that these choices make my clients feel more at ease, but they also make me feel more at ease.
I have focused on the clothes I wear in my professional setting, but the same applies in other situations. Of course, I sometimes make choices based on what Greg likes. And I will consider what other people like too, even when I’m deciding what to wear to a very casual event. I don’t do this out of a sense of obligation. I enjoy it. For me, it is part of the fun.
But as much as other people factor into my outfit decisions, I never wear something that doesn’t feel authentically me. All of that influence is confined to the contents of my wardrobe. I’m not changing my style for other people. I’m changing my outfit. While I do dress with other people in mind, I never shop with other people in mind. Well, except perhaps for Greg.
How about you? To what extent do other people influence your outfits, and why?