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Elisabeth Motsch: Why clothes make the man

Reading time 5 minutes
Elisabeth Motsch: Why clothes make the man

We are all judged and condemned day after day. Whether this is right or wrong does not matter. You, too, are regularly judged - and condemn others. The process is even quite automatic and completely natural. You can probably guess what it's all about? Exactly, it's about the effect each of us has on those around us. But what creates this effect and how can you improve your effect on others?

Coach Elisabeth Motsch reveals it to you. The expert for personality and effect had her first lecture on the subject of styling in October 1995. She had an outfit sewn by the seamstress especially for the appearance. One last, not entirely satisfactory look in the mirror - and off she went on stage. After an hour, a lady spoke up. She said: "Dear Mrs. Motsch, everything nice and beautiful what you tell us. But the way they look, I don't believe a word of it."

Elisabeth Motsch wore grey that evening, without any accessories. In short: Her lecture was well prepared and instructive. But the outfit was boring and the overall appearance therefore not convincing. Since that evening, the image consultant knows why clothes make the man.

Ask questions in front of the mirror

It's easy to explain why your appearance is so important for your external image: Your inner values are not visible at first glance - your clothes are. That's exactly why it's important to ask yourself a few questions in front of the mirror in the morning. Elisabeth Motsch: "What are my requirements today? Where am I going? How do I want to appear? What colors express this? And do I even want to please today?" The more choices you have in your wardrobe, the better you can prepare for your day.

Your outfit, your effect

Especially in professional life the Impact competence plays an important role. After all, you represent your company and your employer with your outfit and your style. That's why your clothes should match the image of the company. You can already score points in the application process with a suitable outfit: Your application photo and your choice of clothes at the interview should match the tasks and the position you are applying for.

Later in your professional life, you will also reflect the company to the outside world with your clothing. If you are badly dressed, you cast a bad light on your employer. Elisabeth Motsch: "To avoid this, you can give yourself a better image with the help of a makeover. This is time-consuming and involves a few shopping trips. But you can make a lot of yourself." And let's face it, shopping trips don't have to be annoying, they can be pretty fun too, right?

The social game

One thing is certain: almost all companies have dress codes. Even if they are not written down, you should quickly develop a feeling for what kind of clothing is expected of you. In one company, employees wear a suit and costume, in another, sporty clothing is required. Depending on the company, there may even be more than one dress code. Elisabeth Motsch knows: "This is a social game you should play. Because with the appropriate clothing you show respect and appreciation to your counterpart."

Don't feel like playing?

Defying the dress code is unwise to risky in most cases. But there are exceptions. Every now and then, an anti-dress code outfit can even give you an edge. Elisabeth Motsch: "A university graduate went to a job interview. He defied the suit dress code - and got the job. Why? Because the company was looking for a person who would break old structures." In the vast majority of situations, this certainly wouldn't have worked. But there is a chance that your rebellion will get through.

Masculine or feminine clothing?

Another question that is probably burning under your nails is: Should women dress like men in their working lives? Elisabeth Motsch explains: "I am asked this very often. And my answer is always: No! Women are allowed to wear skirts - they just can't be too short." If you're dressed too erotically at work, no matter how competent you are - you probably won't be taken one hundred percent seriously and are more likely to leave a negative impression.

The expert has another tip up her sleeve: "You can add male attributes and create clarity that way." Basically, she finds the topic of equality in business attire exciting: "Men don't think about what to wear in the morning. Women, on the other hand, think about how they can look like men."

Cardigan or blouse?

The image consultant is also regularly surprised that many women cry out because they are not taken seriously in professional life. For Elisabeth Motsch the matter is clear: "One reason for this can be the cardigan. A cardigan is not able to convey your personality and skills. It rather conveys a casual look and this really doesn't suit a business meeting. If you have a meaningful job or represent your company, you should wear a blouse."

Elegant or casual?

First and foremost, your clothes should fit your tasks and the respective daily routine. Even if you work for a large insurance company and represent them at external appointments, a suit and tie can sometimes be inappropriate. Imagine that the client in question lives in the country. Will he be more likely to respond to your conversation if you are dressed up in patent leather shoes? Or if you are dressed in jeans and sneakers?

Elisabeth Motsch: "Give the customer the feeling that you are on the same level." Of course, jeans and sneakers are completely inappropriate for a business meeting at a bank. As you can see, both overdressed and underdressed don't get the right message across. So always be aware of who you are communicating with and for what purpose.

The importance of colour contrasts

The play of color contrasts is essential in business - and, of course, affects the color of your clothes. Some people have an instinctive feel for the right color. Elisabeth Motsch also knows: "Lighter clothes make you seem friendlier, whereas darker clothes increase your effectiveness." So you'll be more convincing in negotiations with dark clothing. Just try it out at the next salary, price or contract negotiation!

In addition, you have a personal color contrast that suits you particularly well and results from your skin and hair color. With blond hair, for example, you should opt for lighter to medium-dark clothing. If you have dark hair, it's the other way around: your clothes should generally not be too light. Medium to dark colours look particularly good on you.

Acquire confident style competence

Of course, you have to invest a little time to develop your own style. Because the principle "practice makes perfect" also applies to outfits. Elisabeth Motsch: "But to speed up the process, you can take advantage of a style consultation. Professional consultants will find the right clothes for you. This way you get a different perspective on your style, acquire more competence and improve your impact. Let's go!

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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