You know when you go to see a magic show and despite knowing it's not real, you are totally blown away?
Well personal branding can be a little like that. It's made up of many things including the way we operate at work, the way we handle ourselves in meetings, the way we manage up, the way we speak to staff and peers, the way we Step Up, Speak Out and Take Charge, the results we deliver, the language we choose, our vocal tone, our online presence including LinkedIn profile and the way we show up at work including ..................... the way we dress.
In fact, the way you dress for work can be more important than a business card!
We may believe that clothing, styling and good photography doesn't necessarily make someone more effective at work - yet somehow it does. Perhaps more critically, when you get these seemingly innocuous parts wrong, it can undermine even your best attempts to get ahead.
I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about successful female entrepreneurs really embodying their brands via their choice of wardrobe and what a powerful tool this was. So why can't you do the same in your fast track to the C-suite?
So to help you get ahead more easily whether you're on a fast track to the C-suite or with a new business venture, I've asked four stylists and branding experts to share their #1 tip on styling and personal brand.
Christina Robert is a stylist with a client base of both men and women and located in Melbourne
Christina says: Your clothes must fit you well. While men tend to wear clothing that is 1-2 sizes bigger than they actually are, women tend to do the opposite. Wearing clothes that pinch and pull really lets down your image and confidence.
- Research shows that people trust those in ill fitting clothing less than those in clothes that fit well.
- Also great fitting clothing gives you an air of effortlessness which is admirable and highly desirable to most.
- Too tight is uncomfortable. This will show on your face, in the way you move as it will limit your movement and you will even tire more easily from the fabric's resistance. This is from shirt buttons, to zips, to shoes, and undergarments. Your clothing must give you all the mobility you require.
- If you are a woman who may be wearing their clothes too loose, then get this in check too.
- Check your fit from the back. Most people never look at their back view. This gives you a chance to also check your hair from the back also which most of us don't do.
- When purchasing, if you must have it and it doesn't quite fit, buy it a little too big and take it to the tailor. If it's too small don't buy it.
- Ask an expert, not a friend who is trying to shield your feelings, if you are unsure if your clothes are really doing you justice with their fit.
- Watch the crotch.. Peoples eye's naturally go there. I think you get the idea .......!?!
- Find a good tailor and make them your friend.
Julie Hyne is a Melbourne based corporate stylist
Julie says: Having worked with many women who are either climbing the corporate ladder, building their own business or changing careers, the #1 tip I would give them is to be authentic in how they present. That means dressing to suit you first, your body shape, proportion and personal colour preferences. Once you know that and embrace it wholeheartedly, its easy to dress to impress, you first and then everyone you meet.
Why? Because you will be communicating your own inner confidence and be projecting a presence that captures the attention of others in the right way. Don't worry about the fashion trends in this process, its more important to understand good style for who you are and where you want to go.
Zahrina Robertson is a Personal Branding Photographer & Videographer based in Sydney for those heading out on their own with a bold brand new venture
Zahrina says: My number #1 style tip is to understand your brand personality archetype first to understand your online presence. Once you understand your personality archetype the power of your brand is congruent with your photos and story that will attract the right clients that say "Yes!" She has a new book entitled "Magnetic Branding" to help you understand your personal brand better.
- You can find Zahrina on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn or contact her directly for brand strategy, branding shoots and video via her website and receive "Zahrina's FREE Tips to Attract the Best Clients To Your Business!"
Dan Thomas – Founder of Image Doctor - last but not least - who is in fact a stylist for the blokes
Dan says: As a style expert who consults strictly to men in helping them update their image and the first impressions they create, I may lack female specific style knowledge. With that said, there are many gender neutral components of style that stand true for both sexes and today I want to highlight what I believe to be the most crucial factor in image management.
Above all, my key goal with clients is to uncover their core personality, career and social ambitions before I even consider what clothes to help them choose. By far the most important factor to consider is my clients core personality as the worst outcome I can achieve is metaphorically placing square pegs into rounds holes.
I would do this by choosing clothing for clients that is meant to be “cool” and “trendy” but could make that client feel uncomfortable, uneasy and ultimately doubting themselves and how they look. Doubt is the enemy of confidence and clothing and personal grooming strategies should just be the vehicles that create positive change and shifts in confidence.
With this in mind, don’t buy clothing and coordinate outfits based purely on magazines, celebrities and even other women who may be in a different age bracket, career sector or relationship status to yourself, because you feel that is expected or the norm.
While it’s imperative to stay up to date with styles, patterns and cuts, your final style and outfit choices must align with your core personality in order for your doubt to be low or non-existent and confidence high and shining. And in my opinion this is best achieved when your style is built on classic, timeless foundations with just touches of modern, trend based elements.
- Dress like the CEO - because internal promotions rarely happen at the job interview
Let's face it - we've probably all guessed that internal promotions rarely happen as a result of what you were wearing on the day of the job interview. In fact, judgements have been made about you based on the last 6-12 months of you turning up to work, day after day, whether it's your performance or style, fair or not. Ever experienced turning up on the day, looking professional, leaderly and your answers are spot on, but despite all that you miss out and can't work out why?
So don't take the risk. Do something about it pre-emptively. If you have ambitious dreams, goals or projects on the horizon, you want to make sure all the tools in your toolkit are sharpened and pointed in the right direction.
Your style can be an important part of the puzzle that can be adding immensely to your value at it's best, doing nothing at the least or undermining your best efforts at it's worst. So if you do have ambitious plans in the pipeline, get an expert opinion sooner rather than later so your styling doesn't trip you up without you even being aware.
Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution#feminineambition #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes
I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and art of amping smart and savvy.
I mentor busy professionals to ensure they remain smart, strategic, agile and focused on the bigger game.
I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but are struggling to do so.