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So Who Are you – Really? Wednesday December 17, 2014

It never fails the amaze me, the different ways people want to be seen.

It's the first question in my class on finding your personal style in clothes.* "How do you wish to be perceived?" I ask, and back come all the answers I need to guide them to making the right choices when they next go shopping.

Yes, of course I need to analyse their body architecture and think about their lifestyle, but in the end it all comes down to the question "Who Are You?".

So some people will start with "Warm and Friendly" and some with "Approachably Authoritative". I get "Controlled and Assured", "Sexy and Confident", "Intelligent and Passionate", "Fun and Quirky" and many, many more.

My job is first to make sure that these descriptors are authentic; because sometimes we think we want to be something we admire but could never really aspire to. For instance, if I were to list "Elegantly Understated" it would be all wrong for my Mischievous Pixie persona. Oh so, so very wrong!

But twenty years ago I didn't know I was a Mischievous Pixie, and I craved "Classic Elegance". It was never going to work, but I didn't know that because I had spent a (then) lifetime trying to fit in with my sensible family, with a highly academic school, with a career in chartered accountancy (no – I still don't know why I thought that might be a good career choice), with all my classically elegant friends (I still have a lot of those) who didn't realise they loved me for our differences, not because we were the same.

So, if you are constantly trying to achieve something that is impossible for you, if you are existing in inauthenticity, then maybe it may be a good idea just to spend some time thinking about how you really wish to be perceived within the structure of being authentic. Remember to be positive. "I don't want to appear nervous" becomes "I want to be seen as confident."

I've spent the last twenty years in my clothes rather than in the clothes that the classically elegant self I aspired to be would choose. I wouldn't have "elegant" now if it came free with Rice Krispies, because I've got something much more real and natural and "me".

Your real "me" is worth a hundred fake pretends; even if you think the pretend is what people want.

They don't: they want the real you.

And if they don't want the real you, then you don't (really) want them.

A Moodscope member

* I'm an Image Consultant by profession. “I help people have more fun putting their clothes on than taking them off!”

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Di Murphey Wed, Dec 17th 2014 @ 12:49am

Dearest Mary ~
Hooray! Hooray! Hoorah!!! I love it. You nailed me, for certain.

What fun to recognize that friends truly do want us to honor our true selves, along with family who respect our decisions. I am sending your post on to family & friends who will love to see & model your courage & strength. Thank you, dear one.
Di Murphey

The Entertrainer Wed, Dec 17th 2014 @ 5:34am

"Your real "me" is worth a hundred fake pretends; even if you think the pretend is what people want." Such wisdom, such freedom - beautiful work and wonderful words today, Mary. x

The Entertrainer Wed, Dec 17th 2014 @ 5:42am

Hmmmm, just thinking about this Career-wise as well...

Anonymous Wed, Dec 17th 2014 @ 8:03am

Ah Mary, another wonderful post from you, thank you! You are so bang on with this, I have always battled with trying to be what I think others want me to be, to the detriment of my health and happiness. Your post was a wonderful and timely reminder of the importance of being myself, and that people do infact see and love the real me. Thank you. Love Amy x

Anonymous Wed, Dec 17th 2014 @ 8:04am

Ps I want fo come to your class!!!

Anonymous Wed, Dec 17th 2014 @ 8:04am

This hit the nail on the head for me, years trying to be 'groomed' when infact I'ma bit wild and wooly. Thank you

Anonymous Wed, Dec 17th 2014 @ 8:16am

This is so true for so many of us, thank you Mary. For years, I tried to be more elegant, trying to wear classic clothes because I wanted to look and 'feel' like my sister in law...forgetting that she is ten years older than me! My body doesn't do real body doesn't do round-neck dresses, t-shirts or jumpers. My body does v-necks! My body does polo shirts or blouses with collars and buttons. I've learnt that as I put on weight, it goes on all over and another sister in law said how lucky I was that it didn't just go on in one place so I am still shapely!
There, I know what I should wear....I just have to remember that when I see a dreamy dress or coat that is stunning...but just isn't me, I leave it where it is and don't go through the heartache of buying it then having to take it back!
Thanks again, Mary....btw - I sm very good at choosing for other peeps...maybe I should take it up as a profession!!!! Lol!

Anonymous Wed, Dec 17th 2014 @ 8:18am

Thanks so much for sharing this , Mary. Authenticity might just be the key to a happy and fulfilling life. I loved 'I wouldn't have elegant now if it came with rice krispies!

Anonymous Wed, Dec 17th 2014 @ 8:21am

Hi Mary-so insightful. I think it also helps if one can swap one's usually harsh and negative internal critic for a more friendly and loving one.

Elizabeth Wed, Dec 17th 2014 @ 10:28am

Love you, Mary.

Elektrikhd Wed, Dec 17th 2014 @ 11:27am

I've been feeling lately like I'm not sure who I am. A large part of it is due to chronic illness. When I can dress however I wish, I think I'm satisfied. I'm not quite sure what image I want to present, and, in fact, I realized in reading your blog today I have no idea how I want people to perceive me. It's a confusing question for me because of how I feel, physically and emotionally. I don't want to look strong, because I don't feel it, and I don't want people assuming everything is fine and I can take on the world, and they can give me more responsibility. I'm having enough trouble as it is.
Of course image is a question at work. I dress up for work because I have to, and although I've had some choice there, I still feel like it's not me. But I also know it's time for a career change. Maybe to something that allows me to wear blue jeans a little more often.
Meanwhile, I need to figure out again who I am, because I don't feel like me.

Anonymous Wed, Dec 17th 2014 @ 12:12pm

Love this blog Mary, and I love shopping! As I have got older I have definately learnt to shop for things that suit not just what is in fashion! I haven't ever really thought about what my look says so will pondering that now! I know how I dress can reflect the mood I'm in, or bring my mood down. I wouldn't class myself as vain but I know that if i feel good in what I'm wearing it helps me feel better! Got to love a good pair of shoes!! Rosie x

Anonymous Wed, Dec 17th 2014 @ 2:16pm

I love your post today! It is interesting how our hoped to be projection of our selves changes over the years. When I was working, prior to illness, I say I was a "suiter", i.e. most always wore one, though on causual days, of course, dressed more comfortably. Now, being retired (on disability) I am able to dress comfortably all the time, and accept me , for being me. Thanks !

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