05 Apr Become the CEO of your own wardrobe – Featured on Business Woman Media
Here is an article I wrote for the Business Woman Media website last year about becoming the CEO of your own wardrobe. Business Woman Media is the top comprehensive website and WebTV channel for the driven, ambitious woman who’s serious about success.
There is so much talk about personal branding. Even if you don’t think you have a personal brand, chances are that you do. If you have a Facebook or LinkedIn page, then you have the presence of a brand. And your business wardrobe is also a key part of your business and personal brand.
Your personal brand is a reflection of you and how you present to the world. For an entrepreneur it’s about an authentic, believable and consistent presence, for an ‘intrapreneur’, you are representing an organisation.
How you present yourself visually, is something that women in business often overlook. It will take a harsh comment or missing out on an amazing opportunity for them to make contact with me as a stylist. If you don’t invest time and money into how you present yourself then it can reflect badly on your credibility in business. You can be the most knowledgeable and professional business woman with so much to offer but if your clothing doesn’t reflect your professionalism and competent skills, then you are being misinterpreted.
Rightly or wrongly, you are summed up within seconds of meeting someone — you haven’t even opened your mouth. 55% of those assumptions others make about you, are based on how you visually present. If they are thinking about working with you, they will be subconsciously wondering if you are trustworthy, successful and knowledgeable. You maybe all those things on the inside, but you must also reflect that on the outside.
Personal Style is asking yourself the following questions:
1. Who are you? What are your values?
2. How do you want to be perceived? What message are you putting out to potential clients and collaborators?
3. Who do you want to be? What are your goals? Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.
My advice for women in business –who feel that how they present might be holding them back from promotion or new opportunities — is to start looking within their own wardrobe. When we only wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time, then a wardrobe edit to get rid of the items that are taking up prime real estate is the best place to start. Everything within your wardrobe should make you feel like a woman with confidence. All items need to fit and flatter.
When I work with clients on their visual personal branding, the feedback is consistent that new opportunities just present themselves. I know this is due to a new found self-confidence within themselves and also how they are now presenting to the world. That opportunity at work, pay rise or new client is now a reality.
My 5 key areas for renewed confidence within the wardrobe of the modern business woman are:
1. The fit of your clothes
If you want to look professional, then it’s not the amount of money you spend on your clothes but the way the clothes fit. Any items that don’t fit and flatter need to go. Clothes that are too tight do not flatter and set yourself up for a day of feeling uncomfortable. The same rule applies for clothes that are too big. It’s also important to make sure the proportion is right for your body shape. Invest in well-tailored core items.
2. Your Vital V
This is the point from your bust line out to your shoulders. It is what frames your face. If you block of this space it subconsciously cuts you off from connecting with people. Open your neckline to be more engaging and connect with others. Never wear a neckline that shows off cleavage. This automatically reduces your credibility.
So many women are unsure of how to accessorise– yet it is such an effective way to update your work wardrobe. It makes an outfit complete. Statement necklaces are a perfect conversation starter at a networking event. Introducing a bag or shoes in a new season colour can inject life into a monotone outfit. Be mindful to not wear any noisy and distracting jewellery.
There are so many colour choices suitable for workwear. Soft feminine hues of pink, dove grey, slate blues, straw and white. A neutral coloured tailored pant with a pastel print or plain colour block cami top has a lot more wow factor than a plain black pant and white blouse. Invest in several new season tops to wear back with your key, well-fitting core basics. Purchase a few on-trend accessories to add interest to a plain outfit. The key is to be able to mix and match items to create many options. If you are introducing soft colours into your work wardrobe then don’t forget a camel or nude shoe.
Finally, if you’re ever in doubt about what to wear to a professional appointment, then consider your audience. Where possible mirror a version of what he or she wears.
It’s always better to be overdressed and remembered for that…than to be underdressed and perceived as not caring.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make sure the time and investment in your personal appearance reflects the level of care you give your business and your clients. Guaranteed you will attract the opportunities you aspire too.