Sometimes fashion may seem a little frivolous. If it’s not a way you naturally express your creativity, why bother? Even I, writing for this blog, sometimes have to ask myself if travel fashion is worth my investment. I think it is. Here are some reasons why fashion is important.
We all know that putting a little effort into our appearance can help us make a good first impression. What you wear and how you carry yourself is the first thing someone will see. When you’re traveling, you’ll be surrounded by people who don’t know how awesome you are on this inside. Help them see it!
If you feel like your clothes are saying good things about you, you will interact more confidently with others. Think of it as a flattering introduction and you’re the keynote speaker. Your clothes just told everyone you’ll meet that you’re worth listening to. Now you can spend less time trying to prove yourself and more time having fun all over the world.
You’ll act better
When you feel confident, you perform better. Confidence is related to such things as poise, mental toughness, grit, belief, courage, and heart. These inner realities actually affect the way you relate to the world. When you feel like you can conquer the world, you’re more likely to do so with boldness and success.
For a lot of people out there, if you are smartly dressed, it means they will interact with you as if you are smart. I call this the Nordstrom rule. If you go to Nordstrom in your sweats, you won’t get the service you would in a blazer and heels. Same thing when you walk into a restaurant in Paris looking like a disheveled tourist. If you look important, people will treat you that way.
Help people know you
While we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, sometimes appearance is the only information we have about a person. There are people out there who genuinely want to understand you and learn who you are. Fashion can help you express yourself to those people. It’s a service you can provide, to make yourself more knowable.
Represent yourself—and your people
The stakes for presenting yourself are higher when you’re traveling. In your culture, you represent yourself (and maybe your family or peer group); in another culture, you represent the place and people you come from. If you’re traveling internationally, you represent your country. It’s a responsibility you shouldn’t take lightly.
When you dress well, it’s a way of communicating that the situation you are in matters to you. You don’t want to wear jeans to a fancy dinner—or a wedding. Nor do you want your husband to wear a backwards baseball cap to your anniversary dinner (unless you’re into that). Learn what kinds of occasions you’ll be stepping into and dress even better than expected. Not only will you look important, you will show others that they—and their culture matter to you.
That scarf you love or those new—and oh so comfortable—Ahnu Oxfords just might yield a few compliments. While self-esteem is great and all (you already know you’re fabulous anyway), the important thing is that you’re in a conversation with someone you might not otherwise have spoken to.
It’s not a shallow thing to try to present yourself well. It’s as practical as learning a few words in French before visiting France. Make an effort to communicate who you are to people in a way that they will understand. It’s a way you can care for yourself and for them.
Go in style,
AnnTaylor Travel Outfit: Frank Kovalcheck via Flickr
Expressive Fashion: Pascal Maramis via Flicker