Sometimes I get in a little world of my own where I feel that the image I project doesn’t make much of a difference.  I just go on and do whatever I want to and present myself to the world with a sort of whimsical approach.  In these times I convince myself that wearing sweats and a ponytail has just the same impact as dressing up and wearing makeup.  After all, I always look pretty much the same.

Of course this assumption is wrong.  Watch any make-over show and see how much more you like a person in the “after” than the “before” shot.  Notice the different attention you get when you walk into a clothing store dressed in a nice ensemble, and compare it to how you are recieved in the same store wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

From her hair to her makeup to her clothes, this woman exudes excellece.

Aside from the effects on others, think about how much better it feels to have yourself put together.  Once a guy I knew actually explained to me the science behind girls’ ponytails. He had noticed a correlation between height of ponytail and mood (the higher the ponytail, the better the mood).  While I don’t know of any official studies that confirm his findings, there is plenty of research on the effects of make-up and clothing.

In The Definitive Book of Body Language Allan and Barbara Pease go into detail about how physical appearance is internalized by the general public.  In general, people respond less favorably to women not wearing make-up.  Those women come across as rude, unfriendly, less competant, and less appealing than women who wear make up. Color of make-up and clothes is also important.  Dark or bright red lipstick gives off the impression that a woman doesn’t take her job seriously, but it is attractive to men. Red clothes are powerful and appealing.

Also, as far as romantic relationships go, think about what makes a guy more or less attractive to you.  Guys with style who keep themselves groomed are much more appealing than those who don’t seem to care about any of that.  I think we would all choose flat abs over beer gut, too.  It’s even more important for women because traditionally, we are supposed to have a natural sense of style and to care about appearances.  Men are influenced by the media with beautiful women who wear nice clothes and makeup all the time (June), and while there are plenty of gorgeous looking mainstream men, there are many average or below average looking men who can get by on their personality alone.

So since we know how we can make ourselves look more credible and attractive, why not put a little more effort into our image?  Leaving adequate time for hair, makeup, and workouts should be just as important as brushing our teeth and taking a shower.  The face we show to the world says so much about how we feel, who we are, and how we are received.  Our appearance tells others about us and about how to approach us before we have a chance to make an impression based on our merit.

My focus this week is going to be putting my best foot forward, and that foot will have perfectly pedicured toenails.   I will be proactive and thoughtful about my appearance by making myself look respectable each time before I step out of the apartment. Little by little, by keeping this mindset in place before I go anywhere, I aim to make a habit out of presenting the best side of myself in every situation.

Looks aren’t the only thing, but they are important. Be sure you get a good look at what everyone you meet is seeing.