As we discuss style and how your “look” shapes your personal brand, I want you to really consider how you are presently known, and how you want to be known. Be aware of the gap and determine how you want to change it. Your personal brand is how you are seen by your family and friends, your business associates, acquaintances, and even through your online presence!
My husband, Mike, is a BIG personality. He walks into a room and within minutes, everyone knows him, and many people LOVE him. Mike’s big personality makes him very memorable, but not everyone always likes him or remembers him positively.
Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring – Marilyn Monroe
For me, I tend to be a bit (or a lot) more understated. I want to go in looking professional. I would like to be remembered, but I will not be the one holding court with a group of 50 people all standing around me hanging on my every word. I’ll be talking to 4-5 people at a time, trying to build relationships and really get to know people. I am always doing my best to remember people’s faces and their names. I could meet you today and often see you on the street six months later and remember your face, your name, and something about you.
More often than not, people remember that they have met me or know me from somewhere, but don’t really REMEMBER me. I tend to blend in to the crowd. I can’t change the fact that I am an introvert at heart. I’ll never be the life of the party. However, I knew I was ready to up-level my business and needed to identify how I could be more memorable without having to change my personality.
About a year ago, I started working with a branding expert, and we really went over the elements of what makes a fabulous personal brand. What I found is that sometimes I needed to step up a bit and be a bit more adventurous! My favorite stores have always been Banana Republic, Lululemon, and White House Black Market. Although the quality of my clothes have always been excellent, my walk-in closet was composed of black and gray, and really nothing that stands out! I learned that if I wanted to up-level my wardrobe, I needed to start venturing out a bit and investing in signature, unique pieces in bright colors and fabrics.
In doing a recent photo shoot, I picked out a gorgeous off-white, leather motorcycle jacket. It was classic, but edgy, and buttery soft and gorgeous. This jacket was more expensive than I would normally have spent. Yet, it really fit the direction of my new personal brand. I thought about it for a week. I “visited” it four times over the next week. Then, I finally bit the bullet and spent over $500 on a single jacket!
You know what though, that one piece has gotten more compliments and has had people reaching out to me online or after a party talking about it for weeks to come. Sometimes, we get in a rut and just become very comfortable with our clothes or our routines.
As you are preparing for your new life in business, consider your personal brand.
Who can help you shape your personal brand?
I spent fifteen years in finance. During those first ten years in Chicago, it was a very formal business, and you were expected to attend meetings and events in suits or slacks and suit jackets. When I moved to San Diego, our clients came to meetings in Tommy Bahama shorts and silk shirts with their flip-flops. When I moved into fitness, I pretty much LIVED in Lululemon and other high-end fitness apparel.
What I found after a few years of that is I was tired of always looking like I didn’t put any effort into how I looked! I dressed in top of the line fitness apparel, but I normally had my hair up in a ponytail and skipped the make up! I was wearing leggings, bulky sweaters, and ballet flats, and I always looked and felt frumpy! It had gotten so bad that once, I put on a pair of jeans and some make up and my husband walked in and asked where we were going because he was so used to me never putting any effort into my looks!
As I have transitioned back into business, I adopted a style that is a bit more my own. I have now gone back to a more laid-back, casual, but polished look. When I’m not teaching or taking a fitness class, I now go into the studio in nice shorts, cute shoes, and a cute little top. When I’m attending a networking event, I wear a fabulous pair of skinny jeans with awesome heels and a cute button-up top and jewelry! If I’m doing something fun or social, you’ll often find me in leather high-heeled booties, skinny jeans, and a jacket (often leather) – still not cutting edge, but certainly more sharp and unique than before!
If you are serious about putting your best foot forward, I strongly suggest you consider meeting with a Personal Stylist or a Personal Branding Expert. You will be amazed at the outcome!