I wish I could take credit for an amazing quote said once by one of my clients:

“There is a big difference between getting a compliment like, “That’s a great dress” and “You look great!”

She told me this shortly after she worked with me and noticed that she got more of the latter compliments having been through the process of my services.  I have never forgotten what she told me and to this day I still reflect on that quote because it is one of the best ways to figure out if you’re wearing your clothing or your clothing is wearing you.

When your clothing wears you, sure, you may be memorable, yet for what reason?  When you’re wearing your clothing, your clothing enhances and supports you, therefore, making YOU more memorable.  You’re remembered for who you are, not for what you wore.

Another great quote I heard came from Ellen DeGeneres who said during one of her stand-up routines, “Being stylish means to fit in yet stand out, at the same time.”  Brilliant…and exactly my point.  If you’re someone who gets a lot of compliments about what you are wearing, not necessarily for how you look, consider that your clothing may be wearing you and not the other way around.

Sure, we all get compliments on a particular item that we wear.   I am not implying that the next time you get a compliment about a particular piece of clothing or accessory that all is lost.    It’s not that black or white.  However, if you find that the compliments are more about the clothing than they are about you…it may not be a bad idea to check in with yourself.

Here are two street images I’ve taken that show situations where the clothing is wearing the woman and not the other way around.  Can you see that what sticks is not so much who she is, or the overall look she is wearing, but how bold what they’re wearing is?  What else can you remember about the woman on the left other than she seems obsessed with Chanel and that the woman on the right seems to dress without the aid of a mirror?  This is what you want to be mindful of.  Regardless of whether or not either one of these women thinks they look great (or if any of you agree that they do), we can all agree that their clothing is wearing them.  As my mother always said, “Never let your outfit enter a room ten minutes before you do.”

To each their own, you may be thinking.  However, before you smugly shrug off that as a reason not to consider what I’m saying seriously, think about your values.   Do you really want to be remembered as the person who over-accessorized, who was invisible behind layers and layers of fashion, or who nobody could get close to because your clothing was like a barricade of protection?

Yes, fashion is fun; there is nothing wrong with playing with it.  I mean, look at Lady Gaga who successfully uses costume to portray an emotion, a message, a feeling, and a mood.  Yet, unlike Lady Gaga, the real world is our stage.  We don’t have to be anything other than ourselves; we’re not selling a song, a video, or a brand.  We’re selling ourselves.  Before you let your clothing talk over you and take center stage, realize that your clothing can, instead, become the tool to express who you are and not the other way around.