Reflections: Look good, feel good | Off the Cuff

Jul 26, 2019

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Henry Ford, I couldn’t agree more. It truly is a matter of self-perception.

When you look at your reflection in the mirror, what do you see? Inside and out?

Our self-perceptions are constantly at work, determining how we view ourselves and others. They, in turn, influence both our attitudes and confidence levels. Which, in turn, affect how we present ourselves to the world and give off energy.

Which, in turn, affects how others see us and, in turn, how others react to us. And so the cycle goes, giving me cause to reflect on how this cycle is affected when we look good, something I help women do every day via my “work.”

Inspiration for this article came when I flew Delta on a recent weekend trip to sunny San Diego to visit my brother Kris and sister-in-law Roxanne. She works for Delta, so I hitched a ride home with her from the airport after her shift was complete.

She looked so professional in her short sleeve, knee-length “dark plum” dress, skin tone hose and black pumps, her Delta uniform that particular day. Upon reflection, all the Delta employees I came into contact with that day were very well dressed, impressively so.

I later learned that all of the approximately 80,000 Delta employees get an annual allowance to keep that crisp, professional look. I get a similar clothing allowance, but I am only one.

Clothing impressions continued to accumulate that day once we arrived at my brother’s place a couple hours before he was due home from work. People often talk to me about clothes, and at Roxanne’s request to help her organize her closet, I “KonMaried” hers for her that afternoon.

What a kick! Joyful clothing articles stayed and were folded, KonMari-style. Unjoyful ones were thanked for their service and put in a pile to donate. Roxanne felt so much lighter and lit up with one of those big smiles.

She couldn’t wait to show her drawers to my brother. As we continued to talk clothes, she showed me her Delta Handbook/Lookbook, and then this article really took flight.

I was amazed. First, I learned it was American fashion designer Zac Posen who partnered with Delta to design the fabulous new and stylish uniforms that Delta debuted last spring.

Several years ago, Delta flew him around the world to shadow dozens of their employees and learn the intimate details of their work. He assessed body types, incorporated comfort fabrics, worked with Delta’s branding colors of Passport Purple (not deep plum) and Cruising Crimson, all the while remembering the importance of individuality.

Secondly, the Handbook/Lookbook left no stone unturned when it came to how Delta wanted their employees to look AND feel. Facial hair for men could be no longer than one inch, and women’s hair color had to be “normal.” Tattoos, hair styling, fingernail polish, shoes, hosiery, and much, much more, were addressed.

There was even a video to watch, a style guide showing the 10 ways to wear seven pieces and, get this – a pre-tied scarf. No room for error there. Tips on how to stay healthy all day were even included.

There was simply no excuse to not look polished and professional on the world-class stage in which they were operating. It was crystal clear that Delta wanted its employees to be proud about how they looked and, in turn, how they felt. They wanted their employees to “exude joy and confidence.”

Where am I flying with all of this?

Looking good is obviously an individual thing that we all get to define for ourselves. It’s not about vanity; it’s about self-care. Whatever makes us feel prepared, confident, and ready to take on the world is what is important, what makes each of us take flight. There is overwhelming evidence that when we look good we feel better.

In turn, we have better attitudes and more confidence. In turn, we present ourselves with positivity and good energy. And so the cycle goes.

Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, either way, you’re probably right.

Go fly!

 

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