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Putting together the pieces of your own personal image
Look at the big picture when you’re going for a revamp

by Brian Throckmorton

Famous for being famous: Love her or hate her there’s no denying Paris Hilton is extremely image conscious.
Just what exactly is a “personal image?” Of the many definitions for “personal,” this particular one seemed most appropriate: of, pertaining to, or coming as from a particular person; individual.

The word “image,” of course, has even more definitions — but again — these seemed particularly fitting: a physical likeness or representation, an optical counterpart or appearance, a mental representation.

When you put the two together the answer is fairly simple. A personal image is what you make of yourself to personally enjoy and for the rest of the world to see.
So, chances are, you probably already have a personal image of some sort. Look at the world around you — the things in your home, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, your hairstyle, your physique, your personality — the entire package. Take a peek in the mirror. Do you like what you see? Are you comfortable with who you are?
If the answer is yes, then good for you.

Most of us like some of what we see, but usually can see some room for change or improvement. For those that fall into that category, here are a few tips for zipping up your own personal image.

Audrey Hepburn: glamour.
What’s your goal?
This is the first step to redefining or developing your own personal image. Are you looking for a new career? Want to zip up your current relationship or find new romance? Looking for some new life adventures? If you answered yes to any of these, then shaping up your personal image is a surefire way to get the ball rolling

Getting in shape
One can never be to healthy or look to good. Get off the couch and get some exercise. If you need to drop a few pounds from all the holiday eats then scale back on your carbs and hop on the exercise bicycle to burn off that extra weight. If you need to lose 25 pounds or more, consider a plan like Jenny Craig or joining a local gym that has a fitness and nutrition counselor.

Going under the knife
Plastic surgery is constantly increasing in popularity as a way to quickly modify your image. Think your nose is too big? Bags under your eyes? Gravity and time taking away the firmness and elasticity you once had? There are surgical procedures for all of those problems that can give you the look you want.

James Dean’s personal image was a mix of intellect and scruffy sexuality.

Give plastic surgery serious consideration before taking the plunge, however. We’re talking about serious medical procedures here that have definite risks. In most cases complete anesthesia is required along with cutting of tissue and possibly bone. That requires sutures, healing time, enduring pain and the possibility of infection. Are you sure you’re ready for all that? If so, my best advice is that you contact a reputable plastic surgery consultant who can give you tips on who to go to and how much you can expect to pay.

Staying in style
Style is subjective. For different people it’s different things. If you want to keep up to date and up to the minute with what’s currently in style you need look no further than the pages of magazines like Out, Vogue, Vanity Fair or Gentleman’s Quarterly. If you’re

Somali supermodel Iman is one of a kind.
seeking something a bit more unique and timeless examine the personal images of some of our culture’s past style icons like James Dean and Audrey Hepburn. Sometimes borrowing looks from the past can create something fresh and new for today.
Hair: long, short or none at all?

Throughout the 20th century, very signature haircuts could frequently identify the decade. In the ’20s and ’30s women wore pincurls and short permanent waves, while men stuck mostly to slicked back hair topped off with a hat. By the ’40s women were going for longer hair with heavy bangs, while men were still stuck in hat mode. The hats came off for men in the 1950s as guys went for military cuts and pompadours, often sporting bangs, with women going for a variety of looks from ponytails to highly coiffed. Things continued to change throughout the ’60s and ’70s as men went from short hair to long hair and women went to ultra short and back to long. Both genders sported feathered cuts, afros, shags, long and straight, sometimes parted in the middle or on the side. The 1980s saw hair get really big for both men and women. The 1990s was almost a hair

Ready for the business world.
backlash for both genders, as bald men suddenly became hot and women went to great lengths to make sure that their hair was as far away from big as it could possibly be. Now we’re in the 21st century. The end result of all those years of various hairstyles? Pretty much anything goes. If you can’t figure out on your own — have a stylist help you pick the look thats right for you.

Mainstream or counter culture?
If you work for a large corporation — chances are your job will require you to go for a mainstream look. For men and women, simple but elegantly tailored suits always fit the bill in any corporate situation. They also double nicely for dinner and drinks after work.
If you’re an artist — say a musician or a painter — more than likely you’ve already developed your personal image, and like your work, it is always evolving. You’re the kind of individual that is free to pursue a counter culture look. Be it a mixture of retro thrift store finds or industrial clone wear, have fun and let it reflect the free spirit you are.

RuPaul’s dual personal image is distinct and original.
The world around you: home style and accessories
Last but not least, the place you hang your hat always says something about you. Let me start by saying that a person’s appreciation for architectural design is just as subjective as one’s taste in style. Mike may prefer a brand new home, with all new furniture and appliances purchased in one fail swoop, while Betty may prefer an older home with features found only in homes of the past, decorated with vintage furniture she picks up at antique stores over a period of years. While Betty has easily added elements of her own personal image to the house she lives in, Mike might have to work a little harder. He can do that by breaking up the monotony of all new furniture by throwing in some original works of art that are reflective of his personal taste. When friends come to visit or you have guests over for entertaining, they’ll feel more at home when you do, too.

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