Fashion Maven: Clothes make a statement

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By Alexandra Hehlen

Many of you out there read this column every time it’s published and some of you may even follow the advice in it. Article after article has been written, telling people how they should dress, how to do their hair and what accessories to use. Yet, at the end of the day, what does it matter? What is the purpose of being fashionable, anyway?
It’s easy to imagine that many people would ask themselves this — and you can’t blame them. After all, we grow up learning why manners are useful and why doing our homework is important, but unless you have a fashionable family, is anyone ever taught the reasons that dressing well is crucial?
Fashion is an essential part of life. Style can determine first impressions, credibility and self-esteem.
For example, if you go to school in your pajama pants, you give off the impression that you would rather be sleeping. People often assume that if you appear as if you could care less about the way you look, your attitude may likely match your ensemble.
Dressing for an interview, which some job-seeking teenagers may have to do, falls into the same category. If one candidate for a job appears at an interview smartly dressed and the other shows up in sweatpants and slippers, who do you think is more likely to get the job.
The point is that every outfit counts, even if you might just be going to another ordinary day at work or school.
An outfit can also determine how credible one looks. Consider this: a fancy waiter in a tux; a business executive in a suit; and a nurse in her scrubs all dress their parts. Similarly, if you go to school looking put together, or go to your job showing that you put thought into your ensemble, people may automatically see you as more attentive to the way you dress to suit your job.
It is also astounding how much an outfit can boost your mood. On the occasional bad day, instead of losing motivation to get dressed in anything spiffy, I put together a stylish and colorful outfit that can make me feel great.
Classmates and co-workers will notice a change in your style. Compliments are confirmation of this and also can serve as mood-enhancers.
Keep in mind that putting together a fashionable outfit does not have to mean restructuring your entire closet or forgoing your personal style. Think about the way the colors in your outfit coordinate and contrast, how the individual articles of clothing work together, and if you need to add any type of accessory. Use what you already have to create an outfit that shows you put some thought into it, even if only for a few minutes of your day.

To give your fashion sense a kick-start, send me feedback or an idea for my next column and view an archive of my fashion column, visit my blog at enstylopedia.tumblr.com.