In my 20-year career of working in fashion, styling clients, dressing for success is not limited to career success. I have styled clients from all walks of life and for all sorts of life changing events. Whether it’s been for that all important job interview, special date night or a red carpet moment, dressing for success in the eyes of a stylist is dressing to ‘feel good and to make a great first impression’. It’s a fact; the image you choose to portray to others is a reflection of your true self.
Over the years working with my clients empowering them to dress with purpose and poise my top tips to ensure we can all become the best version of ourselves.
Whether you are an employee, an entrepreneur, attending an event as a plus one of your husband’s annual corporate event, understanding that you are a brand is the first step in identifying the true you.
If you are not into fashion, style or even shopping, deciding what to wear can be overwhelming. Making a very simple statement, identifying a signature style can build on your own brand identify.
Don’t be confused that having a signature style means that’s what you always have to wear, it just minimises choices. It allows you choose colours and styles within a particular range.
If you are lost in the myriad of style, identify people whose style you like, look at their style details. Perhaps you can easily spot a consistent theme running through their key looks that you could easily incorporate into your style. Still looking to identify signature style, then just think Anna Wintour! Decisions will come easier.
At some time in our lives we have heard the famous quote “never judge a book by its cover”. True we should not decide upon something purely based just on outward appearance, however there is a ring of truth. Consider your audience and your message, who you meet, who you talk to, who you work with or for, what would make them trust you. First impressions do speak volumes, think carefully about who it is you’re trying to influence and why. How you dress will change the way people will hear you.
It’s reported that we spend an average of a third of our lives at work, why then would we not choose a style for ourselves that makes for a quality first impression. I have lost count of the wardrobes I have edited for clients when the first thing they will say to me is “I don’t wear nice things to work”. Why not I ask, there is never a qualitative answer. Unless you’re in an environment where your clothes will get dirty or destroyed, think carefully about who it is you are trying to influence and why and dress accordingly. Representing a company or your own company, feel good about what you wear.
Making a start can be daunting, many of my clients or those who I meet through my social media channels all want to know where to begin when it comes to dressing for success. It’s no different to any other process. Start at the beginning, apply the same principals as you would if you were to make an amazing dinner or bake a cake.
Firstly, in order to take the next step, you need the right basics. Check the cupboards first to see what you have. De-clutter, it’s a sure fired thing that you will find out of date items, things that not longer fit or need repaired or that need to be relegated to the bin!
Having identified what’s missing, make a list this will then help you to shop strategically.
Every great wardrobe is built up over time that is unless of course you’ve won the lottery. Shopping strategically means buying key pieces, perhaps not overly fashion forward that will stand the test if time and last you a few seasons.
Consider what your working environment is like, old outdated work styles can damage your personal brand just as much.
Unless you have a defined office dress code, style in the work environment has become a lot more casual. It’s not just where you work but where you live. All too often I have seen crucial style mistakes made especially in the Middle East given its warm climate, where people show up to the office in what they would wear to the beach. Linen shirts, for example, worn by men even in a casual workspace, unless working at a beach club are a no-no for me.
Thinking a bit further than the basic requirements of your outfit is where you can really step up your game in the style stakes. Small details go a long way when it comes to personal styling; for men that could be a good quality watch, shoes with interesting detail, pocket square a pop of colour to just rolling up sleeves differently. Women have a little more flexibility with accessories, cuts of clothing and variety. Make the detail part of your signature style.
Details matter, but that’s not just confined to the accessorising. Stay sharp; look sharp, the perfect finishing touch can be achieved easily. Invest in a hand-steamer, it’s compact, quick and so much easier to plug and set up than an iron.
Find a decent tailor, clothes that fit you incredibly well can be expensive to buy. You can however get clothes to fit you pretty well with simple tailoring. There is nothing worse that ill-fitting clothes, simple alterations can make a significant different to how you present your look.
Keep a lint brush or roller handy and polishing cloths for jewellery and for shoes, you wont believe how many polished looks I have seen ruined by a pair of dusty shoes!
Above all remember you never know who you may bump into along the way. How you dress yourself changes who you are. It affects your brand and changes the value of what you have to say.
If you would like to have a personal brand audit and are interested in dressing for success contact us at [email protected]
Style Expert & Business Mentor