Wilkes Bashford — even his name is dashing. Wilkes Bashford passed away in 2016, and yet San Francisco still carries on his stylish presence. He put SF on the world’s style map in 1966 during the Haight Ashbury hippie days by opening a men’s clothing store that promoted “bold conservative” looks. Bashford brought attention to fabric and style to a city in need of both, and later added womenswear. He brought in Brioni, Giorgio Armani, and Ralph Lauren, and transformed the images of socialites, power brokers, and working people. He was a beloved SF icon.

Here’s what Wilkes Bashford said about style:

“How you look, and how you feel when you go to present yourself, affects your energy, your psyche, your outlook, your happiness, every day of your life.”

I can only imagine all the happiness and joy Wilkes Bashford brought to his clothing store customers over the 40+ years. I don’t care what you’re doing — grocery shopping, going to work, or giving a speech to a group of potential customers, don’t you just feel happier and more energetic when you’re wearing clothes you love and know you look good in? Mr. Bashford knew the secret to building confidence — it’s receiving positive reactions from people because of the way you look. Now, of course, there’s more to you than how you look. But, it’s the way you FEEL about how you look that creates the positive energy people notivr. People are attracted to confident people!

Here’s what else Bashford said about image:

“Once people realize how their image is changed and how people react to them, it brings them a happiness. It’s a positive thing.”

Here are some simple things you do this year to present yourself with positive energy, psyche, and happiness every day:

Tip #1: Focus on your outfits ahead of time.

There’s nothing more happiness-draining than the panicked feeling you get when you’re in a hurry to get dressed for an important day. If you take only one thing from this blog, I strongly recommend taking a few days ahead of an important event to figure out what you’re wearing. Lay it out on your bed, take a photo, and make sure everything fits, is clean and ironed, and you have all the accessories to go with it. The woman above is so effortlessly put-together, don’t you think? What makes her look so confident and happy? I think it’s the monochromatic colors, simple but lush fabrics, and fun booties. A seemingly easy outfit, but I promise you she thought about how all the pieces would fit together ahead of time.

Here’s a real life example one of my style workshop participants shared with me after she attended my virtual 4-week program. This is what she wrote:

“Linda, I had to come up with an outfit for a student music concert I had to do last spring.
We each had to get up and perform a blues harmonica song that we had memorized–scary! 
Here’s the outfit I ended up wearing: Vince Camuto coral top, ankle length NYDJ jeans, Kut denim jacket, some locally made earrings, and my big splurge two years ago–
Mephisto Seddy short boots–which are the most comfortable boots I’ve ever owned.
It was a very casual bistro so felt comfortable and so nice not to worry about what I was wearing.
Planning it out in advance helped me just focus on what I was supposed to be doing. Thanks for your advice!”

Tip #2: Be quirky, individualistic, different.

Be YOU. Search for special pieces. Only wear clothes that tell the world who you are. Are you quiet, introspective, soft, observant? Are you loud, expressive, always smiling? When you wear clothes that match your personality that will make you happy every day. It’s like wearing another layer of skin on your body — your clothes just feel like you!

Tip #3: Focus on your assets instead of your flaws.

Confident, successful people recognize they have flaws, but they focus on their assets and turn their flaws into an advantage! Make a list of your favorite assets. What do you love about your body? Come on, there are many things, you just spend too much time thinking about flaws. Now play up those assets! Short skirts and dresses, skinny jeans, sleeveless tops (if you are lucky enough to have great arms), cold-shoulder tops, scoop necklines, long skirts, belted waistline. Wear something every day that celebrates your assets!

Thank you, Wilkes Bashford, for the reminder that how you look affects your happiness!