Personal branding is about more than work ethic and output – it’s about your identity and reputation. And fashion, plays a big role in that. Everyone knows Nike, Mercedes-Benz, Apple, Walmart – these established brands communicate instantly what they want to say to the world. The same goes for you – you are your own brand.
Now put your style hat on and think about your favourite fashion brands. Which labels do you gravitate toward? Why? Is it the silhouette? Is it the use of bold colour? What is the message that this brand conveys? Does it create an effortless look? Now, it’s time to stand in front of the mirror. Think about yourself in the same way. How does your personal style communicate your brand, your trademark, your logo, your message? Studies show that well-tailored sartorial choices you make can give the impression that you are more competent, confident, flexible, and deservedly well paid. Is that what you want your personal brand to be? When someone meets you for the first time or connects with you in regular meetings, what are your fashion choices saying about you? Are you classic and elegant? Maybe you’re an early adopter with current and chic style choices? Or is your personal style branding more laissez-faire casual? Are you more introverted versus extroverted based on how brave you are with your outfit edits?
Write down three to five words that describe who you think you are and the message you want to share with the universe. Then ask a few of your closest friends and family members to do the same about you. Pick people that are honest, no ride or die responses that will just tell you what you want to hear. Do their words match what yours?
Now that you’ve established what you want your clothes to say about you, it’s time to enhance your personal branding with your personal style.
- Be consistent with your look. It keeps your branding message strong and builds awareness. That may mean structured silhouettes, but you can still play with fabric choices and prints to keep things interesting.
- Build a uniform closet with a bit of extra and make sure these pieces, when put together, say what you want it to say and shows effort. Too often, we become lackadaisical with uniform dressing, so make sure to add pieces you’ll be excited to wear, whether that’s with accessories or constantly building your wardrobe.
- Let colours talk. Colours say a lot and there is no right or wrong approach in choosing how you wear them. Bold colours and prints communicate messages of confidence and cheerfulness, as well as not being afraid of getting attention. In fact, it commands attention!
- Be smart with black. You know how I just spoke about building a uniform closet? Black is the number one choice for this way of dressing. Black can be un understated, classic and chic. But avoid getting bored by investing in great fabrics, tailoring and design.
- Know when to wear neutrals. Beige, ivory, taupe, and gray are an elegant and more soft approach to your message. So really think about the hand of the fabric and how it drapes your body.
- Beautify your message. It plays a big part, no doubt. Do you prefer natural, earthy look? Or are you all about the bold smoky eye throughout the day like JLo? Or maybe you make a statement with a statement lip colour?
- Love your hair. That might sound hard to do, but really embracing your texture means getting a cut that truly suits you. Fight your texture, and it ends up looking messy and unkempt. Only go for easy beach waves, a chic pixie cut or glamorous volume, if your hair permits it.
- Step in the right direction with footwear. Your shoes can be eye catching, but they should never steal the conversation or be distracting. That includes squeaky noises and scuffs, too!
- Take a common-sense approach to scent. A unique scent can set you apart, but don’t overdo it to the point of giving others a headache.
- Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you want people to think of you in a certain way, then direct them with your fashion choices. Want a C-suite job? Want to lead the buying department? Whatever path you want your career to take, show others where you’re going – and they will believe you.
- Check your competition. Are you fitting right in? Are you standing out? And are you standing out in the right way? This is tough, especially if you work in the fashion industry, with many women knowing the power in the fashion choices they make. The safe-bed is a Goldilocks approach so that you fit in just right but distinguishes you enough from the crowd.
- Be a unicorn. In the words of Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” Take an approach to your personal brand with fashion choices that truly reflect who you are and what makes you unique. You’re beautiful, you can show it off!
Have fun enhancing your personal branding through your fashion choices. When you feel good, you look good. And that’s an attractive quality.