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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Betts

I wore a slinky dress to school

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

"I don’t know about style. I know about my personal style" –Diane Kruger

I'm hearing ya, Diane. have you worked out your personal style? How and what do you communicate to the world in what you wear? Do you ever use your style as part of speaking for you? Or is it 'just clothes' to you?

This story's about how much we communicate through our clothing and style. It's also about how I believe communication in all its forms is being grossly overlooked by a terrifying number of people. That slinky dress I wore to school? It’s true. I did. It was cobalt blue. And I wore it to an all-boys catholic school. This year.

Why? I was having a conversation with a teacher from St Peter’s College about what we think are the biggest challenges facing teens today. Both being passionate and dedicated mums of teens, her working with thousands of teens in her capacity as a teacher, me working with thousands of them as a model agent, you can imagine we had quite the fabulous, gritty conversation!

“I left school and home at the end of 4th form as a 15 year old….a 15 year old! How did mum expect I could ‘make it’ with only two years high school under my belt? That's only the tip of the iceberg…” I supped at my mulled wine while filling her in on what else went down.

WHOAHWHAT?!” Janie Rose was shocked. “You went through all that?!” She asked me if I’d be interested in doing a presentation to over 90 staff at her school.

The day arrived and I was nervous, like stepping into the lion’s den. Don’t get me wrong…it was nothing to do with them. The school’s ethos is something to be proud of:

I wanted to reiterate (to teachers!!) that I believe “education” and what it means is changing, and we each need to step up and do our bit to help support that change. That and to share what I believed the biggest challenges facing teens are, all while explaining why I’d been invited to speak. And as if that wasn’t enough? I had approximately five minutes to present.

I needed to use every communication resource I had. Big voice? Tick. Powerful story? Tick.

What to wear? Through my clothing, I wanted to to look like I come from the fashion industry, show I'm comfortable in my skin while allowing my personality to shine (without being overwhelming - not easy for me with my big personality), come across as the brave person I am and demonstrate confidence. Phew. Quite the list, right?

I carefully selected my outfit: an ACNE dress from HELEN CHERRY & WORKSHOP, my nude KATHRYN WILSON shoes (because I always feel like a strong, confident woman, but comfortable, in her shoes), my bargain $100 second hand SASS&BIDE jacket and KAREN WALKER bright orange guru and flower necklace. Done.

“Good morning everyone. Thank you for having me at ST PETER’S COLLEGE...Off I went fearlessly sharing my story (you can read a little on my story here: The NZ Herald’s From Pain Comes Triumph. Three women whose suffering taught them survival – and led them to success in CANVAS MAGAZINE.)

It was at least five minutes when I got to one of the biggest challenges facing teens today.

The applause was heart-warming. As if that wasn’t enough, I received a powerful TESTIMONIAL from Janie Rose (read here if you want: TESTIMONIALS).


THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU WEAR. IT TELLS A STORY OF YOU FOR YOU. As much as I love a good tracky outfit, imagine if I rocked up in one. Even if I was wearing a STELLA MCCARTNEY FOR ADIDAS tracksuit, the coolest CONVERSE and D&G top, this would tell a completely different story of me. Think about your story next time you walk out the door.

COMMUNICATION IS EVERYTHING. If you can think, speak, hear, touch, smell, see, walk, wear clothes and more, then you have all the resources available to you for effective communication, just like almost everyone else. Learn, research, explore and play with these resources. Then USE THEM. This is effective communication.

IF YOU HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE YOUR STORY, DO IT. Everyone has a story. But unless you share it, how else can we inspire and be inspired? Sharing reminds us why we need to be grateful for what we do have as much as what we don't have, what has happened as well as what hasn't happened.


This is a powerful short video regarding THE POWER OF WORDS. It's dappled everywhere within my blog because we all have the ability to change a few small things around to make a BIG difference. And although I'm not enamored with her shoes & short pants, if you don’t get a little teary when you watch this 1'47" video, then you’re tougher than me. And I’m tough.

Thanks for joining me! If you pick up any info here that could be useful to someone, share it.

Until next time,

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