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CONFIRMED! You are what you wear says expert



Perception is a powerful tool in navigating personal and professional circumstances.

You are what you wear. When meeting someone for the first time it takes under a minute for the other party to size you up and form a lasting impression that’s difficult to change.

Perceptions are everything, said image consultant Lynn McMaster. She focuses on fashion, wardrobes but also on environmental image observations, the impact of colour and importantly, how what you wear can influence your own behaviour.

“My focus extends beyond traditional fashion or style advising. It’s about understanding how others perceive you based on your appearance, body language, and communication style,” she said.

“Each individual’s perception is their reality. By tailoring advice to align with their unique personality and goals, I help people project an image that is both authentic and strategically crafted,” McMaster explained.

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How you dress and the colours of your clobber can have significant impact on others in the room, and McMaster said it’s key to use this to your own advantage.

A good fit?

She used a job interview or pitch situation as an example and noted the importance of aligning personal style with organizational culture ahead of time.

“Your attire and grooming should resonate with the company’s ethos, the colours you wear should sync with their brand. It’s a powerful non-verbal way of showing that you fit in and understand their values,” she said.

But, she cautioned, dressing with a strategic purpose should still remain authentic to yourself, too.

“It could also be as simple as strategically selecting the colours or variations of brand affinity that you choose to wear. Use colour psychology, light colours denote that you are approachable and friendly, dark colours share that you are confident and assertive.”

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Colours of you

She added that wearing colours that look expensive like camel, brown, white, cream, navy and black or trendy hues of orange and Camel or Cream, Olive and Brown and Lilac.

“Colours convey messages and emotions. The right coluor choice can communicate confidence, trustworthiness, or creativity,” she shared.

Importantly, iron or press your clothes, said McMaster. “Select accessories that compliment your outfit rather than distract from it,” she added, but noted that quirks and eccentricities that denote your own individual style can be welcome, done subtly.

Grab a bag

“Extend your look by ensuring your laptop bag, pen, notebook and so on, look professional.  Choose items that make you feel good. If you look good, you feel good, you perform and so you attract.  Self-confidence is key.

The power of grooming and, she added, body language in making impressions cannot be overstated. “These non-verbal elements convey messages more powerfully than words often do. They should align with the image you want to project,” she said.

When it comes to job interviews, McMaster’s advice is to dress smarter, not necessarily more formally. “The way you dress should communicate confidence and professionalism, which in turn influences the interviewer’s perception of you,” she advised.

Structured clothing, shaped and fitted, is considered more professional and taken more seriously compared to loose and boxy styles. “For men always ensure your collar is crisp, a floppy collar cheapens the look,” she added.

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Perception is a powerful tool in navigating personal and professional circumstances.


Dating, said McMaster, is not dissimilar to a job interview either. You are questioned about so many things, your life, hopes and dreams, and it’s literally a preview to what you’d be like as a partner, she shared.

“Making a good impression counts equally as much as in any other situation. Dating, like any social interaction, is about making a good impression. It’s about presenting a version of yourself that is attractive and genuine,” she said.

Yet, in every interaction there is an element of role play involved too. “It’s fascinating how we adapt our presentation, what we wear and our engagement with another person, based on what we perceive the other person is looking for,” she said.

“That’s why, though it plays a large part, it’s not just about clothes. It’s about how you present yourself, your demeanor, and the confidence you project. These elements work in concert to create a powerful image in any situation.”

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