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Finding that something that’s missing — what is it, and how do you get it back? I have an idea.

Headless photos

After a recent conversation with makeup artist and educator Natalie Setareh, I had a revelation. 

When I photograph the clients I’ve styled, why do I never include their heads? The main reason is that I know if I see a photo of myself, I focus on my face, and silently judge what I see. When I photograph clients in the outfits I’ve styled for them, I want them to focus on the outfits, not get distracted by their faces. The first time I meet with a new client, I ask them not to wear makeup so we can start with the basics — at the foundation. 

What I realized after a recent conversation with Natalie is a second, subconscious reason I crop clients’ heads out of their photos: because in that moment, the look is not complete. That something that’s missing = the heads do not match the bodies! If I photograph ‘naked’ head & ‘clothed’ body together, the outfit loses its power. It no longer makes sense. This is a concrete expression of what many of us instinctively know, yet don’t necessarily honor:

Make-up and clothing are inseparable. When your complete “look” matches from head to toe, your story is complete. It’s congruent.

Completing the story

Now I can imagine some of you are thinking, “I’m at home all day — working from home, living from home. Why does it matter how I look? The only part I have to worry about is what others see on screen, during a video call.” Hey, after a year, aren’t you starting to feel a little bit out of sorts? Wondering what that something is that’s missing?

Neglecting ourselves and how we show up physically for work is starting to take its toll. Separating parts of our body, for instance wearing a Zoom shirt and couch potato pants, seems to work on the surface. Our colleagues/boss/clients on the video conference don’t need to know what’s happening off-screen. But what about you?

What happens after the part of ourselves we see reflected back online no longer matches the rest of our bodies? We no longer recognize ourselves.

Rewriting the story

In the past year many of us have reflected on exactly what it is we want to be doing with our lives. Is our work fulfilling? Are we serving others as best as we can? What image goes along with that? Is it what we see online, or what we see when we look down to pull up our old socks? Or is it neither?

Is it time to re-evaluate how you’re showing up physically? Does how you’re presenting yourself on the outside match who you truly are on the inside? Does your appearance represent your values, personality and ambitions?

How can you adjust your personal style to do all of those things and still be physically comfortable? Here are three steps to get you started.

How to find that something that’s missing:

1. Write down where you want to go.

What’s your career goal? Where are you headed? What are the smaller steps you need to take to reach your goal without getting overwhelmed? For instance, if you need to become more visible, you need a recent head shot. Natalie has shared her top 5 tips for hair and makeup in this guest blog.

2. Assess the situation.

How do you feel about yourself right now? What effect could your appearance be having on your self-esteem? What role have you noticed your appearance playing in your work relationships?

3. Ask for help.

I’m a big believer in focusing on what you’re good at and outsourcing the rest. Could you use a career coach to determine your next steps? Do you have trusted colleagues and a mentor at work who will give you honest feedback on how you’re showing up?

Could you use some help updating your image so that it supports your career plans? Natalie and I are teaming up to help you with the total package. We’ve created a 12-week VIP online program, working with you step-by-step to Create Your Signature Look. If you want to know more, click here today and sign up for the waitlist. On Friday 20 March we’ll be offering everyone on the waitlist pre-access to the program, with an exciting bonus for the first three people to join. We’re running this program just two times a year. The spring edition starts 12 April. Sign up on the waitlist today to get full details in your inbox as soon as they’re ready on 20 March.