Successful personal brands know that attention to external appearance, or style, is crucial.
What you wear, along with your digital presence, is a non-verbal method of communication that goes before you in every situation, telling people what you are like as a person and what your values are. Just like other aspects of personal brand, such as your verbal communication and skills, your daily outfits have the ability to distinguish you from others and attract opportunities!
It is possible for everyone, and particularly for leaders, to benefit greatly from the tool of style. It is the secret weapon that will do wonders for your personal brand, boosting your credibility and fuelling your ambitions.
So, how can you leverage the power of clothing to strengthen your personal brand? Here are 5 steps to using style for your success:
1. Discover your message
Clothing is a key method of sending a non-verbal message to those in your sphere of influence. Firstly, write down what that message is. What message do you want to send to those around you? About you, your values, your campaign?
Perhaps you want to appeal to millennials and Gen Z, appearing modern and up with the times.
Or, you may want to associate yourself with a sense of tradition and stability. Other words that you might write down could be ‘fun’, and ‘easy-going’.
After you have written down the key messaging words for your personal brand image, the next part is to discover what kinds of clothing are associated with your message!
For someone who wants relevancy with millennials and Gen Z, having quite a modern and trend-driven take on your outfits would be beneficial.
If you want to imbue tradition and stability, go for more classic styles and colours such as navy, white, light blue and grey.
If you want to tell others around you that you have a fun streak, try adding pops of colour in earrings, an interesting pocket square for the men, or other interesting detailing in style of clothing.
By figuring out what types, styles and colours of clothing are associated with different cultural messages, you’re a long way towards creating a strong personal brand!
2. Factor in: Where are you?
Another key aspect of a strong personal image is knowing what kinds of outfits are appropriate for different kinds of events and environments.
Wearing a suit to a meeting in a corporate environment would obviously be very acceptable; however wearing that same suit to a relaxed mastermind group may not be striking the right tone.
The ability to dress well for a given context comes under the category of social and/or cultural appropriateness, and is significant factor to be considered when representing your personal brand.
If you’re not sure what kind of outfit is appropriate for your environment, have a look at what other people are wearing. If you don’t have the opportunity to do this, look up photos of previous similar events, or text a friend who is also going!
At the end of the day, simply do the best you can with the available information – 99% of the time it will be fine!
3. Think: Who are you?
Dressing in a way that is authentic to who you are as a person is hugely important. If you don’t feel like yourself in your clothes, you will feel very uncomfortable and so will lack confidence.
You will also be sending the wrong signals to those around you, creating dissonance between your personal brand and what you are portraying. Authentic outfits signal authentic leaders!
The key to dressing authentically is to show some of your personality through your outfits (called your Style Personality):
If you are someone who likes clean, uncluttered spaces and simplicity, you will most likely enjoy clothing of a similar nature. Wearing clothing that is over designed, or too complex, will make you feel uncomfortable and incongruent with yourself. It will also communicate the wrong thing about who you are to those around you!
Maybe you someone who likes the spotlight and has strong ambition – outfits with a high impact value might be more down your lane. This could include leather, more extreme or unusual features such as wide collars or bold colours.
If you’re struggling to relate aspects of your personality to a specific style, another way to discover your Style Personality is to look at your existing wardrobe. What common themes can you see in the clothes you consistently enjoy wearing?
4. Dress intentionally & Be consistent
Once you have,
- Discovered what your message is and various clothing traits that convey that message
- Factored in what is appropriate for the situation/s you are going to be in
- Thought about what kinds of clothing make you feel most like yourself,
it’s time to put it all together and execute!
Whenever you go shopping or put outfits together, make it an intentional process. Including all 3 of the above elements in your outfit will have the greatest impact on your personal brand. Try to find garments or put together outfits that include aspects of all 3 elements.
Once you are dressing intentionally, it is also hugely important to be consistent! Consistency is the crux of a strong personal brand, as a message typically gets engrained when it is repeated. Consistency in your image will produce a solid understanding of who you are and what you stand for in your community. This will create the foundation of trust that all meaningful exploits are built on!
5. Reap the results!
When you consistently dress in a way that aligns with your personal brand, you have extremely good chances of experiencing greater confidence, better performance, and attracting the kind of attention that leads to achieving your goals (hint: promotion, recognition, and influence)!
If you are struggling to go through these steps yourself, don’t worry! Going through these points is included in my Style Strategy session, as well as a host of other keys for creating a strong brand image.
My Style Support services are then tailored to help you execute on your new personal brand strategy! There is even the option for a fully managed service if you prefer to get results without the effort on your part.
Use the form below to book in your complimentary exploratory session to discover how I can help you embody your personal brand!