Improve your Personal Brand by Dressing Up for Success
The purpose of life is to seek knowledge and elevate yourself to a better position than you were than yesterday. That’s the meaning of progress and it can be financial, physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. Through intelligence comes the tools of success and the best way to get this is by asking the right questions, of yourself and of those around you.
When we read the life of the greatest men and women that ever lived, the most important factor is their ability to keep questioning everything around them, and wanting to make things better through labour, innovation, collaboration and observation.
In my view, these are the most critical questions to ask oneself when you wake up every morning, or when you look at yourself in the mirror. This is self-perception analysis where you focus on yourself:
- Who are You? / Who am I?
- What do You do? / What am I doing?
- Why does it matter?
- What makes You different? / What makes Me different?
Some people find answers to this relatively easily, whilst others struggle for years through life’s lesson before realising their purpose. In the long run, this is how one finds meaning in what they do, but to reach that goal, it’s just as important to manage external perception, where it is how others see you and perceive you.
What is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is a cumulative exercise of making that effort on a regular basis to improve your brand with your own hands. It is what you do every moment of every day to influence the perception of others of you as a person, as a friend/colleague, within your family with each of your family members and even people you meet through networking in business.
It is what you’re worth in the eyes of others and what people say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s got more to do with credibility and integrity than the net worth of you. It is what you work hard to improve subconsciously but it’s even more effective when it’s done consciously.
Now some people really take it to the extreme, where it starts to feed the ego but we are talking about emotionally stable beings who want to build a better future for others, and not all in just to show off to others.
How does clothing help me improve my Personal Brand?
When was the last time you went out Networking? Did you manage to meet a CEO / CFO of a company? What impression did you make of him when you first saw him based on the way he was dressed?
Now if you were looking at a CEO who wore a wrinkly slightly oversized shirt with jeans and semi-casual shoes that looked more like sneakers, you already made a perceived value of that person. He doesn’t look like he cares, or values our business. He is having a laugh with everyone being so casual. Or even if he was wearing a Navy Blazer with a Tee and Jeans, it would be the same impression on most people minds, irrespective of how intelligent or switched on that individual is.
This goes back to our Primal Traits as part-animals where we see colours and body characteristics as a representation of how friendly, trustworthy and approachable the person is.
Now imagine that same person in a sharply well-made suit with a collared shirt and tie. You’d be more willing to shake their hand as they come across as confident, positive and most importantly, successful.
It is just as important to pay attention to the fit of the clothes and the quality of the clothes as it is to the colour and the look. If you’ve got a button missing on your sleeves, or a loose thread hanging or the suit looks like it’s been dry cleaned a million times and bubbling all over, and the shoulders are hanging off you so you look like it’s one made for your grandad that you inherited a decade ago, then please make an effort to upgrade.
For women, it can be the same with too much makeup or jewellery or wearing crumbling shoes and bags on your outfit that say CHEAP than classy. It’s not about the brand or the price tag but about keeping things subtle and sophisticated.
How to make improvements that work?
Smart people work hard to get feedback from reliable sources so they can advise you on where improvements need to be made and then you can work hard to rectify those errors over time. Improving your personal brand can be just as easy or hard as you make it, and it’s not about spending thousands but making the right choices.
There are two sides to this – the inner self and outer self. I want to focus on the outer self as that’s the easier of the two to improve. If you’re not presentable to others, then it can imply negative traits such as laziness, poor self-worth, lack of confidence, depression, anxiety and anti-social behaviour. These aren’t the kind of badges you want to wear to work or social life and they are on many occasions a project of how you feel inside.
Some tips to start working on to make a positive change.
Grooming and Hygiene
Removing unwanted body hair and odour is a good start. Anything that you find cringeworthy can be on the list – monobrows, hairy armpits, overgrown nose or ear hair and even something as simple as a decent haircut.
For men, a clean-shaven or short stubble look is far more attractive than growing a bees’ nest on your chin, although the recent Hipster trend to grow thick beards seems to be throwing that logic out of the window. I tried it myself for a few weeks, and the feedback was that I look tired, lazy and worried.
Perspiration in summer is a concern, and those that suffer from extreme sweating need to wear the right clothes and take certain precautions so they don’t smell of body odour which is a major turn off.
Keeping teeth clean and having fresh breath is also very important. It’s an instant turnoff to meet someone with poor mouth hygiene as it’s a direct reflection of poor overall hygiene. You need to be that good that you are ready to be kissed.
Wearing nice clean shoes that blend with the outfit show that you see every detail and want to make that effort in showing your best. Unclean, unmatched and old shoes can misrepresent you by showing you as untidy. Pay attention to socks by choosing the right colour palette to match the occasion and blend the outfit with the shoe.
Choosing The Right Outfit
Every occasion demands a specific look, and wearing the right outfit to the right place can be a game changer. This is where you can rely on your partner, flatmate or friend to decide on which style works, and use that to your advantage.
Knowing Which Colours work
Not everyone can wear all the colours, and sadly the biggest misconception out there is Black and White are the safest options.
Soft pastel ivory (over white), light blue, pink and grey work better than yellow, reds and greens. Another trick is to choose the colour palette that blends with your eyes. If you have blue eyes, then go for different shades of blue; if you have brown or dark coloured eyes, then choose darker shades or earthy tones in browns and burgundy.
There is no such thing as Over Dressed
Many times I do hear people say that it’s best to be under- dressed. Yes, you can be over-the-top in your dressing if you don’t know how to match things properly, and some people seem to go heavy by turning themselves into display mannequins for brands than actually achieving a decent look.
Dress Simply but do not be simply dressed.
The Signature Look for Men and Women
In the worst case scenario, stick to a signature look that works for everyone. This is the emergency choice when you’re confused and has to be a blend of smart casual and professional.
For Men: Start with a dark blazer or jacket preferably navy or black, matched with a light coloured shirt (blue or white) with a nice set of jeans (dark denim). The shoes and belts need to match and you can choose to accessorise with the right set of cufflinks and watch.
For Women: Start with the right set of heels and match it with the black dress that both casual and comfortable. If not, then wear a set of ivory or soft pink shirt matched with charcoal grey trousers or skirts. This is the most neutral colour option for women as it’s universally suitable for everyone. Black and white can be too much of a contrast and may not suit all skin types or occasions.
Looking good leads to feeling good, and when you feel good about yourself you achieve more. It is not about impressing others, but knowing your self-worth and managing yourself better so you’re perceived just as you would like to.
How can we help?
As manufacturers and clothiers for leading professionals and businesses; and work with individuals and groups on deciding their best looks based on the budget, purpose and occasion. This can be for work wear including uniforms, to weddings, black tie events and even presentations on media or in front of TV.
We work with leading stylists, hair and body salons, personal trainers and colour – fashion stylists to help our clients manage and maintain their personal brand. A good example of which is a Real Estate Agency that approached us to help them improve their look, as they were upgrading their company brand and offices.
After working out options for them, we were able to completely transform the uniforms and outfits of their sales and admin staff with distinct looks; and in turn instilled confidence in the sales team to help them achieve more. Within 3 months, the sales output increased and the staff are far more comfortable, as they don’t sweat as much and don’t look shabby at all when they run their auctions or sales inspections.
We have solutions to suit all types of budgets and are happy to come to your home or office for a consultation in person to know what your needs are, make suggestions that work. If we are not able to help you, then we will point you in the right direction.