Let’s face it: Your clothes matter. Your wardrobe affects how you show up for yourself and for others. Your clothes can set the tone for your day, make you feel good, give you confidence and help you do hard things. Yes, sometimes getting dressed feels tough or overwhelming — anything but confidence-boosting. But it doesn’t have to.
Here are the five steps I use to guide women professionals through a style and wardrobe upgrade.
1. Start by Thinking of Yourself as a Personal Brand
This may sound a little odd — most of us don’t think of ourselves as public figures and believe we should be noticed for our work, not our appearance. But here’s the thing: You are constantly marketing yourself. You market yourself to new clients, referral sources and colleagues in your firm. The easiest way to develop and enhance your own personal brand is through a wardrobe that showcases your values and aligns with your big ideas. Done right, your personal brand style makes you instantly recognizable, memorable and seen as a natural authority.
2. Find Your Colors
This may upset a few people, but getting dressed is so much more than wearing black — especially considering that black doesn’t look the best on 75% of the population. I make wearing color easy by encouraging clients to choose a signature color palette. Choose a few colors as the foundational colors of your wardrobe, and include colors that complement your skin tone. (The example below uses shades of burgundy.) Don’t stop with your clothes, though. The colors that make up your personal brand should be the key colors used on your website, if you are solo or in a small firm; integrated into your social media; and used in your marketing.
3. Embrace the Body You Have Today!
I speak with so many women who are waiting to lose those 15 pounds before they figure out their style, take the time to edit their closet, or invest in a wardrobe that supports them and makes them feel confident. It’s as if they believe they don’t deserve to wear beautiful clothing because the scale doesn’t show this arbitrary number they have in their head. Once you learn how to dress in a way that flatters your body type, you will look great no matter your size. This way of dressing naturally enhances your shape as opposed to using your clothing to hide it — something I have been guilty of myself.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Show Off Your Unique Style
One of the great things about showcasing your personal style is that it helps you create an instant personal connection with those around you. I know that may sound daunting, but there are rules and guidelines for how to do this. There are rules for how to coordinate colors and mix and match prints. There are guidelines on how to accessorize to avoid looking like you’re wearing too much. Showing off your style can be stress-free once you know the rules and have a strategy!
5. Create a Reliable Outfit Plan
Having a style strategy is about creating a consistent and reliable outfit plan that you can rinse and repeat. It’s about going to the closet each morning and being able to get dressed within a couple of minutes. It’s about not wasting time trying on a bunch of different pieces, hoping they will magically look better than the last time you tried them on. Having a reliable outfit plan means knowing exactly what to wear no matter the occasion.
Check out my upcoming video posts where I will do a deep dive into the steps to upgrade your style!
Note: The author has not received compensation for these recommendations. In some instances, when you use a retail link to purchase something, we may earn a tiny affiliate commission.
You might also enjoy:
“How Is Your Image?” by Teddy Snyder
“Gentleman’s Guide to How to Look Good on Zoom” by Raphael Schneider
“Tips for the Well-Dressed (Male) Lawyer” by Ryan Sullivan
“Zoom Backgrounds: Looking Good in a Tiny Square” by Bull Garlington
Images © Melanie Lippman
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