This is the first contribution by a guest blogger on FF40.  Rebecca is a friend of a friend who recently emailed me about her adventure in self discovery and how she presents herself.  I easily appreciated how easy it is to become comfortable in the comfortable - especially when you work from home.  For Rebecca is was her lululemons, me my flannel pj collection.  So I thought it would be fun to share her story here, along with some before and after pictures.  

Guest Post by Rebecca Coleman

I love being self-employed. I'm solo parenting, so being a freelance arts publicist fits in pretty well with my lifestyle. It allows me to be able to drop my son off at school and pick him up every day. If he has a pro-d day, I don't have to beg my boss to take the day off of work, or scramble to find alternate child care. In the summer, I take time off and hang out with him by the pool.

But then, there's the dark side. The dark side of working from home means rolling out of bed into my Lululemon pants and hoodie, and heading to my desk with a cup of coffee. I might put my hair in a ponytail. I likely won't brush it. Because who cares, right? No one can see me behind the computer...

Oh, sure, I'll dress up to go to client meetings. You know, a nice pair of jeans. Maybe some boots. But generally speaking, Lululemon took over my life. Don't get me wrong--I'm the biggest Lululemon fan out there. But I needed an intervention.

I got one.

One day, I was dropping Michael off at school, when I ran into one of the other dads. Now, this dad is in the same line of work as me, and we will both be teaching courses in Marketing at a local technical college in January. So, we of course got into a conversation about work, teaching, and his new IPhone, and our boys. He looked good: casual professional, nice dark jeans, a tailored jacket, good shoes. Me: Lululemon pants, hoodie, jacket and Pumas. No makeup. And my hair--don't even ask.

I felt slovenly. Unprofessional. Embarrassed.

It was time. I hired a stylist  - Jasjit at Joiworks.

I just need to say up front that I am a pretty hard-core feminist. I believe that what really counts is what's on the inside--my passion, my intelligence, and that I get results for my clients. What I look like really has no bearing on any of those things. Except.....

Fast forward a few months. I waltz into Oakridge because I have an appointment at the Apple store to get my new IPhone (finally!). But I have a few minutes to kill, so I stroll into Coach, Banana Republic. More upscale stores. And I'm getting all this attention from the sales people. Yes, I get it, they want to sell me stuff. But in the past, in my Lululemon uniform, ponytail/no makeup, they wouldn't have paid me nearly so much attention. Today, I'm wearing a pair of grey tweed trousers, a while button-up shirt, a red cardigan, a long silver necklace, and red shoes. I have on some mascara, blush, and lipgloss, and my hair doesn't look like it's been through a blender.

I feel good. I look professional. How I am on the inside is now being advertised via my clothing and my general appearance to the outside world. I don't look like a yoga instructor. I look like a marketing professional. And I feel like a marketing professional.

Yes, people should accept you for who you are on the inside. But like it or not, they do judge you by how you look on the outside.

And yes, it takes a little extra time and effort to not just throw on a pair of sweats and t-shirt every day. But it's worth it--especially if you are not quite the person that you want to be. Dress the part. Fake it 'till you make it.

The "before" shot

The "After" Shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rebecca Coleman is a 40-something freelance arts publicist and social media marketing strategist. She lives with her 7-year-old son, Michael, two cats, and loves, in no particular order, coffee, sushi, her macbook, her volkswagon, and shoes.

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If you are a women over 40 and want to share a fashion related adventure let me know.  I will accept guest posts that tell a personal story or experience in fashion.  I think we are all in this together, and would love to share stories that help us learn, grow and laugh. 

And the promised contest is still coming soon!