Signs of an Appearance Problem

Lousy style does not automatically mean a terrible life, but usually it holds a person back. Many people would benefit significantly from style help, but polite, direct mention of that is rare. Are there objective standards for determining when help is "needed"?

It is about people's reactions. Sometimes it takes careful observation and reflection, or requesting a third-party perspective. Voice, body language, and behavior can be partly responsible for interaction problems, but appearance is the most likely factor. It tends to be the most influential factor and often the easiest thing to change. Besides, if there are to be changes (few people try to look the same forever), they should be based on ideas and not random.

The following list is neither all-inclusive nor proof of anything, but having several of the negative experiences on it suggests there probably is an appearance problem.

Dissatisfaction or boredom with much of one's wardrobe (including soon-unused purchases and unanticipated returns)
Almost never being approached by others or only by the 'wrong' people
Major nervousness in, or avoidance, of social situations, especially when dating-related
In non-work settings, being given condescending treatment by people about the same age or younger
Feeling very uncomfortable being seen by others when not very dressed up or not following a lengthy grooming routine.
Refusing to try online dating
A very high failure rate in online dating
Usage of misleading pictures in online dating (without evil intentions)
Sensing quick, mysterious rejection on first dates
Rarely or never being flirted with
Getting mysteriously passed over for promotions or rejected at interviews
Comments on style from people at work that are not positive
Sensing unexplained nervousness from a set of others, such as employees
Often being treated disrespectfully at many commercial or retail establishments
Quickly averted eye contact by others
Not being asked friendly personal questions in chit-chat situations ("How are you?")
Negative stylishness self-rating or body image (though if others seem to like it, the issue might be more psychological)
Avoidance of things such as photographs and mirrors
Strong dislike of clothing shopping in particular
Relying mostly on other people to make clothing purchases
Being told a perception by multiple people that is unpleasant and exaggerated ("You look angry")
Using less than a handful of retailers for all clothing items worn in a given season
Very little difference between going-out clothes and going-to-work clothes
An off-work wardrobe that has very few button-front shirts
Having a wardrobe that has barely changed in several years
A lack of new clothes after a major change in fitness (no, going back to older clothes that fit again usually is not okay)
Being made fun of for clothing or other visible traits with regularity
Virtually never getting appearance-related compliments, much-older female family members notwithstanding
General lack of self-confidence
Being heterosexual and approached by gay men more often than women
Having a spouse or partner think the style is bad
Having a spouse or partner who is sexually disinterested or very limited or passive in range of physical contact and sexual expression

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