CIAO Program, Part II

buon giorno from milano

Buon giorno America! What? No, it is not exhausting to be so fabulous like us. You are le adorable!

O boy there were some GREAT guesses about what O could be. Were they cOrrect? Let’s do an advice question first…

Dear Michele,
I’m 16 and about to graduate high school. My frustration in life is that no guy seems to take any interest in me aside from being friends. It’s never been a big deal, but sometimes I really feel envious of my friends who have boyfriends or at least guys who are infatuated with them. I’m plain looking and slightly on the chubby side. I feel like I’m this huge wildcard in class because I’m not exactly like other girls. I have common interests with my male friends but they don’t see me as anything other than a friend. My friend says it might because I appear, well, sort of snobby when
guys first see me. If not, they were intimidated by some of the stuff (books) I’m into or the stuff I write down for English class.
–Aspiring Writer

Dear AW,

Everything I suggested in the first part of the CIAO program could apply here, to get them to see you anew, but the single fastest way you can change how those guys—or anyone—thinks of you, the instant just-add-water fix, is to challenge yourself sartorially. Yes,

O is for Outfits.

All social animals use their external markings to give off messages, for protection and attraction, to seem fierce or nice, to lure in prey or to frighten off predators. We are no different, only our external markings are detachable.

I cannot overstate the importance of wardrobe. This isn’t shallow: clothes do NOT make the wo/man, but clothes DO show a state of mind. Every outfit is a cumulative series of decisions that say something about you: even if that decision is, ‘I’ll pull on the closest thing to my bed.’ (What that says to me is, “I don’t know how to dress well so I’m opting out and pretending I don’t care.” Does too!)

Think about it: would you leave your diary lying around so everyone could read your innermost, most insecure thoughts? N. O. But you’re doing the exact same things with your clothes if you don’t pay attention to them. You’re telling the world things about your life and your mental state through the choices you make about what you wear and how you carry yourself. And you can control what those are. Don’t you want to?

The question to ask yourself as you get dressed is: what are my clothes saying about my state of mind? Or, phrased differently: how do I feel about myself when I put this outfit on? The answer to that should be “I feel great about myself.” Not tepid. Not ‘Okay’ or ‘Good.’ Great.

I hear some of you scoffing, “But I don’t want to dress to impress others. I want to be an individual.” Which is totally right. You are dressing to impress yourself, And to make sure that others get the message about you that you want to send, which should be “I like myself, I take care of myself, I am rad.” Everyone, no matter what size or shape, can look fantastic.

Clothes that don’t fit (too small or too big), hair in your face, slouched shoulders, unflattering makeup don’t say to people “I’m an individual and I don’t care what you think.” They say “I am employing the technique that teens have been employing since Ye Olden Times to get people to back off so they don’t show how insecure they are, therefore I am not an individual or very original and also I’ve definitely got lower self esteem than you. Yeah, I don’t know why you’d want to be my friend either.”

Altering what you wear allows you to control that message. Clothes are for having FUN with, and showing others that you are fun, creative, and in charge. If your life is a play, and Shakespeare said it so it must be true, then clothes let you choose every single day what part you want to play. How cool is that? Iper cool.

This doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition: you can do it with things in your closet I bet. Plus, a cute fitted t-shirt and a pair of jeans that flatter you can go a long way toward making a huge improvement. And, as always, the best accessory is good posture built on confidence.
(A cool belt or candy necklace doesn’t hurt either.)

(If you want to try it but are baffled about where to start, send me clothing advice questions. I loooooooooooooooove to talk about clothes. What? You couldn’t tell? Excellent, my How To Be Subtle for Dummies course must really be paying off.)

So now you are ready to say CIAO to your new, more confident, more befriended self. Each part of the program can work on its own, but they also complement each other. All you have to do is:

Make a CONTRACT with yourself to meet new people. Implement it by asking them questions about themselves, perhaps in an INTERVIEW.
Guarantee a positive response by being ATTENTIVE so they feel respected.
While showing, through your OUTFIT that you think you’re someone worth knowing. Or KNOWING.

Phew. All that chatter about clothes made me want to go play with my new gold boots. Tomorrow Advice As Usual resumes with some fascinating questions about…

CIAO for now and,
Dr. J

Need Advice? Mail your questions for publication to The doctor can't promise to answer them all, but she'll do her best. (By sending a question you grant permission to have it appear here. Letters may be edited. Advice is for entertainment purposes only. No blaming us later okay? Okay.)

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