“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” —Miuccia Prada
Your personal brand reflects who you are, what you stand for, and what you do. Your personal style is a great way to express these things. So, why do women feel uncomfortable using fashion as a business tool?
Even in this day and age, women are still wrestling with the idea that being interested in fashion as a professional business woman is frivolous (or even dangerous).
“I see it going on all the time, women dressing down, blending in, and looking and becoming anonymous,” said Kristina Moore, Founder and Editor of CorporateFashionista.com. “We’re so much better than that!”
Why It’s Important To Stand Out With Style
“It has never been more important [for a woman] to differentiate herself from the pack,” said Moore. “Fashion is an extremely effective business tool in today’s marketplace.”
Having a fashion-forward appearance allows you to express your individuality through your style, allowing you to instantly communicate and reinforce your personal brand as a professional.
“Today’s professional woman has to invent herself,” said Moore. “There is no model or mirror that’s going to reflect back to her, her identity.”
Tips For Expressing Your Style (And Brand)
Even under the strictest of dress codes, even small personal style statements can have a profound positive impact on the job. Don’t let your personality and potential get lost in a sea of pantsuits. Check out these tips for standing out and embracing your inner fashionista:
1. Figure Out Who You Are
Knowing who you are is hugely important when determining how to present yourself as a brand. After all, how can you sell yourself to an employer or potential client without knowing exactly what you stand for?
In his article, “How To Create A Personal Brand Without Being A Jerk,” Joshua Waldman presents a great way to determine your brand:
- Think about three emotional words that best describe you (or, three adjectives you’d like to be described as). Write them down.
- Then, think about what colors and images best represent those words.
Now, look at your clothes, shoes, accessories, and so on – Do they reflect your brand? If not, it might be worth a wardrobe update.
“Develop your personal dress style, appearance, and image that consistently screams what you are about,” writes Deborah Shane in her article, “How To Be Memorable: Develop Your Unique Brand Style.”
2. Have A Signature Look Or Style
Aside from your awesome experience and pleasant demeanor, what will set you apart from the suits? What will people remember about you? What do you want people to remember about your appearance?
Not sure what to wear? Here are a few ideas:
- Wear an eye-catching piece of jewelry to jumpstart a conversation at a networking event.
- Quickly capture your audience by wearing a personally flattering color at your next pitch meeting.
- Wear modern, on-trend business appropriate outfits to visually send the message that you are an innovative and progressive professional.
3. Get Inspired
Need help getting inspired? Pinterest is a great place to get style ideas. It’s like the ultimate window shopping experience – from the comfort of your couch!
There are TONS of great outfits and looks to work off of on Pinterest. Simply scroll down through the Fashion category (they have men’s and women’s) and see what you can find. Or, you can check out CAREEREALISM’s board, Career Style for Women (we have a men’s fashion board, too!).
So, instead of reaching for the same old, bland shoes or blouses, try something different. Define yourself and reinforce your brand!
“When professional women look good, they feel good,” said Moore, “and when they feel good, they’re unstoppable.”
This post was originally published at an earlier date.