How to tell if your outfit works


Your Mirror is Deceiving You.

Why your bedroom mirror won’t tell if your outfit works.

What’s the first thing you do in a store’s fitting room when you’re trying on clothes?  You look in the mirror, of course.  That’s how you determine whether you like the way an item fits, if the fabric bunches up in unattractive ways, or if the color lacks harmony with your own.

With more of us shopping online than ever before, our bedroom mirrors are often taking the place of those in a retail fitting room.  And like those in the stores, they’ll do the same job of telling if  an item of clothing is a solid contender for our wardrobe budget. (Learn to shop online with savvy.)

What they won’t do as well, is tell if you’ve made the best match-up when coordinating separate outfit pieces.  For one thing, it’s natural to look at just one area at a time when standing in front of a mirror.

The problem:
It’s common for a woman to place her focus on the zones she’s most self-conscious about when looking in a mirror; the areas that are the hardest to fit; or the part of the outfit with the most-dominant design feature.

What gets missed is pinpointing whether the proportions of your top and bottom pieces are flattering to your body (more about this in Part II, to come); if the colors of each piece are balanced with the others; and if the full ensemble gives the “vibe” you want to give off.

The solution:
Get a one-dimensional vantage point.

When I assess a client’s proportions for her, I ask to see a full-body photo, even when we work in person.  While I’ve got vast experience in evaluating body types, the physicality of a body can interfere with a truly clear view.  The one-dimensional nature of a photo, whether printed or digital, overcomes the distractions of personal characteristics.  It allows a clear, “birds-eye” view of the whole person.

If you apply the broad-view perspective when sizing up your outfits, you’re able to see how they relate to your body in the way other people would see you. (Imagine them noticing you at a distance, as you enter a room.  They get a view of the whole picture, rather than its parts, one at a time.)

So grab your phone or camera and take your best shot.  You may actually use your mirror to get a selfie reflection, but you won’t be relying on that mirror’s limited frame of reference for your outfit evaluation.

The Mirror’s Redeeming Qualities
While a full-length mirror won’t deliver  the best big-picture perspective in reviewing an outfit, I do recommend every woman keep one in her dressing area.  To go without is like picking out your pedi color in the dark (heaven forbid!).

Here’s what that full-length mirror still does for you:

  • Assures you haven’t neglected to remove a tag from your new purchase before wearing it in public.
  • Reminds you to secure that zipper and button in the back. (It’s happened before, right?  You do up the button, so it feels like everything’s in place, then a kind female coworker lets you know something else is amiss.)
  • Confirms that no hems have fallen since you last wore the item.
  • Helps select the right shoes for your outfit.

How do you assess your outfits? Have a comment? Question? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. I read them all. (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)


Want to learn more? Work with me.

Patty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices (normally), and… well, now on Zoom! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s eBook “The Wardrobe Simplifier” visit Refined Images or contact Patty.

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