Wear your outfit like it’s your mission statement

Whoever came up with the description of teaching as a humble profession should be held accountable for the ‘suffering’ that teachers suffer.

A Moment of silence, followed by a standing ovation for all the teachers in the world… I celebrate my profession every day.

I remain hopeful that very soon there will be a global tide forcing governments to increase teachers’ salaries. Let me take this chance to thank Hillary Clinton for thinking about teachers on World Teachers Day and stating the need to appreciate teachers and give them a raise. I hope it is not an empty campaign cliché.

The meager salaries make it impossible for new teachers to live the life they had dreamed of all those years of schooling: driving that nice car, seeing the world and living in the dream house. When this reality hit I knew I had to find a way out, not in the escapism sense.

Image of myself and friends
International Food and Music Festival Picture Credit: DSTV Delicious Team

Thank God we all have that one thing that provides a coping mechanism under different situations. Some people (myself included) have more than one ‘rebound’ activities. I read. I Travel. I do window shopping and dress up. In this post I am going to talk about just one of these. Dressing up! Back then I called it ‘love for fashion’, but when I look back through a communications lens I realise it was not really about fashion, but rather a statement of personality, style and brand.

Image of myself in spring colours
Welcoming Spring Picture Credit: Caron Phalane

There have been moments when I felt like the “fashionista” in me was overpowering the professional. I got very scared at the thought that this could be viewed to be bordering on insubordination and failure to adhere to the professional dress code. I must say I have found a beautiful balance between my love for fashion and professional responsibility to a point where I feel I deserve a reward for assisting my employer in the recruitment front. Many of my former students [and I mean really brilliant ones] who have joined the teaching career, have shared with me what inspired them to become teachers. You guessed right…my dress sense and demeanor and [intelligence of course]. I am not overrating myself. Did I make a positive statement? Absolutely!

Let’s accept it as a fact that we cannot match our peers in other professions such as law and business in terms of earnings. They can afford tailor-made suits, we cannot. But a fashionable appearance would count for something. We can turn to looking good as a way of activating the feel good attitude. Here is how…

Image is everything

Image of myself wearing a nice black dress
The Little Black Dress Picture Credit: Boyboy Tlhobogang

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My focus [and maybe expertise] is on women’s outfits. Perhaps I should just leave men alone. How much can we say about men’s wear any way (outside the run way of course)? I mean all they need is pants, a shirt, jacket and tie [sometimes]. Of course they wear shoes. There! Now I can safely focus on women without risking being labeled sexist.

Image of accessories for a boat cruise outfit
Street style jeans and accessories before a boat cruise
Picture Credit: Tuna Ditsilepele

Planning an outfit for women means choosing a bag, shoes, scarf, and jewellery to go with the main item! Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking any designer labels that would break the bank. I am talking about an outfit that tells whoever is looking that this is a woman with taste. She made an effort. Because the truth is we make a statement about who we are and how we want to be perceived every time we step out of our private spaces, into the public arena.

Our outfits determine whether people would want to look at us, much less listen to what we have to say. They also dictate how we walk, stand and sit. This is a component of body language that we may take for granted unaware. I have three different walks. Yes three and I am not exaggerating. One for when I am wearing sneakers. Another for when I am wearing flops. And then there is the elegant graceful walk for when I am rocking heels. [Now that I have mentioned it I bet you are straightening those shoulders, lifting your head and holding that chest out.] Take a few strides and pay attention to how you feel when wearing different types of shoes.

FOR FASHION I DO! But I still need to keep my job so I have to be wary and not wander too far from the prescribed attire. Thanks to this wonderful dress code for different professions I can always refer and make sure I err on the side of caution.

Take home…and take a moment to reflect on your own coping strategies

My dress sense and love for colour told the story of my personality with precision. I am vibrant. I pay attention to detail. I am a non-conformist. And I am unstoppable. This has been my mantra in life and at work, and it has lead to remarkable results in everything I do. [Even when I fail I fail remarkably. Catch the pun]

What’s your mission statement?

You are probably asking yourself, where do we get the money to buy the nice clothes? Keep your eyes peeled for the next post on “Enjoying the finer things in life” …without breaking the bank.

 

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