CQ: When you invest in yourself you can design the future you want to have. Life is not about reality it is about each person's perception of reality. You can change the perceptions of others by the way you dress. You control whether someone believes you are credible, trustworthy, honest and competent. You can shift the direction of someone else's thoughts about you by your visual communication and presentation. Have you heard anyone suggest that if you go shopping, you should dress well, and you will receive better service? People attribute all kinds of agreeable characteristics to people they think are attractive. You can make yourself more attractive by dressing appropriately for the circumstances you face each day.

Think about how you want people to perceive you and dress with this in mind. Do you want to look approachable or formidable? If you want to be approachable wear a sweater instead of the power piece, a blazer or suit jacket. If you want to appear formidable you definitely want to add the blazer or suit jacket, it gives the look of authority. These are two distinctly different types of dress. Are you giving a presentation or are you trying to be part of the team? When giving a presentation you want to stand out, be the center of attention, you need to dress with these goals in mind. When you want to blend in with the crowd and be part of the team, wear something that everyone else is wearing or something similar. That is why uniforms are frequently worn by teams; uniforms provide a sense of belonging and help people to reach common goals.

Consistency in your dress also matters; and goes a long way toward designing someone's perception of you. So before you get dressed, assess your day and determine what you want people to think about you. Dress with the characteristics in mind that you want people to think about you. Here are a few attributes that researchers assign to certain colors:

• Black - Creativity 
• Red - Power 
• Blue - Peace 
• Green - Balance 
• Gold - Prosperity 
• Orange - Energy 
• Purple - Royalty

When you dress, think about how you want to design the opinions of others, how you want to influence them. Add colors that support the message that you want to get out to the public and wear clothes that are designed to send the message you want to send. You are in control, and what you want makes a difference, be sure your visual presentation and communication let other people know what is important to you!



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