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Sometimes we get stuck in a rut. But there’s a simple theatre game called ‘Yes, And…’ that opens up possibilities in your life. ‘Yes, And’ is one of the basic principles of improvisational comedy. It’s a recipe that allows for anything to happen and it goes like this:

Whatever idea is presented to you, say “Yes, and”..adding to the idea

Instead of disagreeing with it, your job is to simply accept it and saying “Yes, and…” to expand and continue the scene (or the conversation, IRL).

I know, your cognitive brain wants to over-analyze it. But just accept the idea as it’s presented to you (regardless of where you wanted it to go), and then to add to it. Respond back with an idea your fellow player(s) can continue building on. Think of it as tossing the ball back and forth. The sillier the ideas the more fun it becomes – and it allows the actors to really run with ideas that pop into their head – no realism needed here. It’s sort of like a Brain Dump on steroids where all ideas are good!

In real life many of us say “No” a lot – for many reasons. But, what if we changed our mindset? What if we tried saying “Yes, and…” to possibilities? How would it change your work? How would it change your relationships?

So

I ask you, what possibilities might open up to you by simply saying ‘Yes, And.”? Try it, I challenge you!

Resale!

Yes, it’s true - it’s a sustainable alternative to fast fashion that’s priced at a fraction of the original retail price. ThredUp.com reports millennial shoppers are likely to discard clothes after 1-5 wears. Meaning there’s plenty of hardly-worn clothes available on their site.

I’m sharing this so you can pass this along to anyone challenged by budget and time and the challenges of shopping. If shopping resale feels a little odd, let me give you a few great reasons to try it.

  1. You suddenly need to meet a specific dress code. I worked with a small law office that needed their staff to dress very modestly. None of them were prepared to buy a new wardrobe, so I suggested the thrift store. One of them tried this and found a whole new wardrobe that met the code for very little money.

  2. You’re in a profession like a hair stylist or artist where you’re constantly ruining your clothes with hair dye or bleach or color. Buy cute thrift so you don’t have to obsess over that ‘oops’ moment.

  3. You’re going on a vacation tour through several countries. I met a woman in a thrift store who told me she thrifted her entire vacation wardrobe and slowly left it behind so she had space in her suitcase to bring home new treasures.

  4. You’re going to a festival or event where you might ruin your good clothes because of weather (mud from rain) or other circumstances (like grape-stomping). Don’t ruin your good clothes, you can still show your style in something inexpensive and not worry about unexpected disasters.

I read an article recently stating that “consumers see no value in dressing for work vs. dressing for leisure”. What??? In a time when women are still struggling to be valued and included in business AND when women past the age of 50 are reporting feeling invisible, it’s more important than ever to develop and maintain a personal image that is clear and understandable at first glance.

Your image (or your ‘façade’) is what people use to make instant judgments about you – your character, your trustworthiness, your value.

But, you can guide people’s interpretation (yes, judgement) of you and illustrate how to respect and value you by choosing to dress in a manner that commands it.

The mantra “clothes don’t matter – I should be comfortable” is understandable – who doesn’t want to be comfortable? But clothes DO

matter because they are what we human’s use as a shortcut to instantly categorize you in their minds. We all do it – because that’s how the human mind works. Just think how fast you’ve said ‘eww’ when you’ve seen someone dressed poorly – in your judgement. The instant image is why we’re fascinated by Instagram – it’s a story in a picture!

Just think about any TV show or movie – the characters are defined first by the clothes they’re wearing. It’s the quickest way to illustrate and differentiate who’s who in the show.

For example, the clothes illustrate:

  • what segment of society the character comes from (upper-class affluent wife, middle-class mom, or student or professor in a college)

  • where and when the show is taking place (Middle-of-nowhere town, futuristic city, desert, winter, summer, far-away-land)

  • what their role is in the show (power-hungry wealthy lawyer, down-and-out broke lawyer, opportunistic student, king, good witch or evil witch)

  • And if their role is evolving during the course of the story – their wardrobe will change to illustrate this (cheap, ill-fitting clothes transform into elegant, high-end clothes as the character becomes more affluent)

So if clothes are this critical to telling a believable story on-screen, why would this not be the case IRL? We’re all seeking understanding in our complex world. If you can clearly help people understand who you are and what you bring to the table, why not do it and make your life easier? Please do not allow someone else’s unwillingness to make an effort diminish, derail, or undermine YOUR career aspirations.

If someone is going to remember you, wouldn’t you rather be remembered as the women who was dressed for the job? Who was always ready? Too many of our casual clothes designs don’t clearly define your aspirations – they’re neutral and possibly even shapeless. People simply don’t use their imaginations far enough to place you in that important position you want.

We all fulfill different roles in our lives. On any given day you might be the SME at your office, mom, power athlete when you’re exercising, sexy dinner date, passionate sports fan, and a zillion identities in-between. Each of those roles often calls for different clothes, both for functionality (you need yoga pants to do yoga, etc.) and to express your role and how you feel about it (sports fans go all out on the gear, don’t they?).

So here’s what to do:

Whenever you go out, first determine who your ‘audience’ will be that day, and dress to communicate and relate to them. You will be remembered, respected, and connected because you’ve given them a clearly-defined person whom they can know, like, and trust.

Dress like YOU mean business!

 

832-707-9339

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©2018 BY MARILYNN BARBER.