Congruency: Does Your Outward Self Reflect Your Inner Self?

does your outward self reflect your inner selfA friend was just describing an old exercise she was told to do when she was just starting out. Put on your work clothes, do your work hair and makeup, and stare at the mirror for twenty minutes (20!) and ask yourself: Does your outward self reflect your inner self? Is your appearance congruent with your personality?

I thought it was fascinating — and that it would be fun to discuss here. My own answer sort of adds an additional twist — I strive to be put-together and polished in my work appearance, in part to make up for shortcomings. When I was just getting into law, my “true self” was probably represented by a memorable law school outfit of red flared cords, a pink button shirt, Converse, and my shortish hair in pigtails. So the GOAL for me in getting dressed for work was to obscure this wackadoodle, creative, DGAF part of myself and strive to pass as someone trustworthy, serious, and respected.

Another fun question: Has the goal in getting dressed or putting yourself together changed over the years? For example, like a lot of women, by my late 30s I started to realize with a shock that I looked tired and old unless I paid careful attention to skincare, makeup, anti-frizz products or hairstyles, and so on. This is not to say that hours need to be devoted to these concerns on the daily, but that it’s worth it to find the right lipstick, at least one good “rejuvenating” skin product, a hip pair of eyeglasses, etc.

So, over to you, ladies: 1) What is your goal in getting dressed or putting yourself together? 2) Is your appearance congruent with your personality? 3) Have you ever dressed to compensate for shortcomings? 4) How have your goals in getting dressed or putting yourself together changed?

Psst: In the past, we’ve talked about how you may want to celebrate a “weekend you” and when you should show personality at work.

Picture via Deposit Photos / dynamicfoto

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