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Dressing For Success

I’ve always believed in the power of dress and appearance to influence my thinking.  I can remember getting dressed up for exams in college, because I felt like I’d be more successful showered and dressed nicely instead of showing up haggard in sweat pants, even if I studied all night before the exam.

Did it help?  I don’t know.  I did get great grades – but how much of that was work and how much of “dressing for success” was just a mental exercise I did before the exam?

I have realized on this diet journey that I tend to eat better if I “dress for dieting success.”  What does that mean?  If I’m wearing baggy “fat” pants and my big shapeless sleep shirts to lounge around at night, then I’m more likely to snack and graze on chips or popcorn.  Maybe it’s all in my head, but if I keep my tight jeans on, I’m far less likely to overeat.

This works for dining out, too, especially buffets.  I wear my tightest jeans, my “skinny” shirts that are form-fitting and it helps remind me to stay in control and listen to my hunger instead of just grazing because food is there.

I’m even putting on make up more often.  I mean, I work from HOME.  No one’s going to see me, even if I talk with co-workers all day in back-to-back meetings.  They couldn’t care less if I’m wearing sweats or jeans, with my hair in a pony tail or make up on.  But I FEEL BETTER if I’m “fixed up.”  I don’t put make up on for work each day, but I am making a conscious effort to do so more often, especially if we’re going out.

I just feel better about my appearance.  And if I feel better about how I look, then I take more care in how I treat myself, especially food.  Maybe it’s all in my head, but so much of the journey is a mental test.  Am I going to stay on plan today?  Am I going to exercise today?  Or will I find a dozen excuses….?

This leads me to a question that I’m still thinking about.  Is there a way I can dress for WRITING success?

I honestly don’t think clothing will help, but there are certain things that can make me more productive, more “professional” and ready to write.  Like shutting down all my web browsers, especially Twitter.  Always having a caffeine drink handy.  Playing the right song for each story in the background.  One of the things I’m going to try to do better this week is hand write a few notes to myself each day about what I want the next section to do.  I hope this will be especially helpful in 3Aliens since I don’t have a formal plot.  I know the ending, but I don’t know how I’m going to get them there yet!

What do you think – is dressing for success all in my head?

11 thoughts on “Dressing For Success

  1. I believe your approach is the right one. I think you look great when you are dressed up and you even walk with more confidence so yes dressing up does help and I also believe in all categories.

    1. Aw, thanks, Papa!

  2. For me it definitely makes a difference what I’m wearing but I’m kind of the opposite – I like to get really comfortable to write. I think I’m trying to be in the flow. When teaching a class at the day job (like today) I have a favorite killer denim skirt & my BIG earrings. For big meeting days, I go with the formal business attire “armor.” No matter what though, writing or work, I always wear perfume! And you are so right about twitter needing to be OFF to write! LOL.

    1. I like to be comfy for writing too – but since I write dark & early before work, I’m usually “dressed” for work too. Ugh, can’t stand the perfume though – I’m allergic to just about everything and it makes me sneeze!

  3. In public I make sure I’m dressed appropriately. But when I’m writing comfort counts. PJs, sweats, old worn jeans. I just write better that way. BTW, I really liked this post & will RT the link on Twitter.

    1. Thank you, Teri! I’m really starting to love my jeans for just about everything, including writing!

  4. Fascinating post Joely and I think you definitely hit the nail on the head. When I started following FlyLady, she talks about getting dressed to the shoes every morning, I thought it was nuts. But I do it, though rarely to the shoes LOL, and my attitude is much more positive overall. I’ll have to see if wearing different things have an effect on the writing. And I’m extremely interested to see if different clothes effect my eating!

  5. I definitely dress for comfort while writing. But I’ve toyed with dressing more professionally (i.e., brushed hair, etc. – ha) for revising and marketing work. I’m not sure how much difference it makes, but thanks to this post, I’m going to play closer attention. If I come up with any findings, I’ll report back. 😉

  6. You may have something there. At the very least, being dressed and not in the stereotyped “work-from-home” wear of bathrobe and slippers seems to inspire more activity on my part. Of course, there is also “dressing our work spaces”, by (as you noted) the right music and caffeine content, not too many browser windows open)… But even the kind of desk and pictures may affect our writing. And then, there the power trip (I mean it in the best possible way) some people get from working on separate projects together at a write-in or other similar activity.

    So, yes, I think we all need to dress for success. But it’ll be a while before I can get back into those “skinny jeans”. 🙁

  7. […] my fantastic mentor, Joely Sue Burkhart, brought up an interesting point in her Dressing for Success post. What do you […]

  8. […] Sue Burkhart talked about dressing for dieting and writing success last year. Loved that post. And, as I mentioned in my comment, getting dressed each day is part of […]

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