When I was growing up, I used to believe that a person’s appearance, that what s/he wore didn’t matter. I had bought into this counter cultural belief that appearance didn’t matter and wasn’t genuine (which is ironic because every counter culture I know of has a specific image and appearance that is important and indicative of whether you belong or don’t belong). My perspective on this has changed quite a bit, especially once I became self-employed. I find that appearance is important and that how you dress can help make an initial impression that is important in its own right. Your appearance has its own magic, in a sense, and I think it can be quite useful to work with that on a magical level.
The clothes you wear, while not inherently possessing magic, nonetheless do possess something else: The perceptions of other people as they look at those clothes on you. What is the image you convey, the impression that you make, the presence you embody? It is, of course, your presence, but it is a presence mediated by others as well. Tap into that mediation and what you tap into is how to turn the perceptions of others into a glamour all its own. And you know, we do it all the time. The goth wears black clothing to present a specific presence, with different ideas associated with it. To other goths, the clothes indicate belonging, and to yet other people, they indicate that the person is a goth. That’s one example, but I’m sure you can think of others that apply.
When I put on a suit, I often think that what I’m really putting on is a magical garb of some sort. The suit becomes ritual garb for business meetings. It’s expected at those meetings, and without it I wouldn’t necessarily fit in or at least not be as accepted. Yes we can argue that its superficial to judge a person based on the clothes s/he wears, but if that’s so why then does clothing matter so much? Why put all the effort into finding the right clothing for the right occasion? No one I know doesn’t prepare on some level for an outing without putting attention into the appearance, what s/he will wear, and how it will appear to other people. When I put on a suit, I think about what it is supposed to convey. A suit conveys reputation, authority, as well as belonging in certain settings (and not belonging in other settings).
When you put any clothing on, take a moment to really settle into the presence of that clothing, into the message you are sending? What is your appearance trying to convey? What impressions do you want people to get? How will those impressions help you? Do the color choices of the clothing help you in your appearance or do they create some cognitive disconnect? When you wear your clothes step into them and make them part of your identity, part of what you are presenting to the world. Your appearance isn’t you, but it is you…it is what you present to others, and it can be a gateway all its own.
Appearance matters. We can tell ourselves it doesn’t and that its superficial to think it does matter, but when we tell ourselves such a message we are being hypocrites. After all, every time you put some thought into what you wear, you care about your appearance…it matters. I say let it matter, and step into it and make it part of your magical part, part of your work with your identity. Be present with yourself in the clothing you wear and let yourself be open to how that in and of itself speaks for you. There’s magic to explore there if you are willing to be open to it.