Let me tell you a story. Three years ago I was sitting in the audience at a women’s business conference. We were eagerly awaiting the upcoming presenter- a woman of merit in her field of expertise. She was introduced with fanfare and as she took the stage there was an instant disconnect. Her outfit was mismatched and she didn’t present herself visually as a leader. Her look was completely out of alignment with her profession- breaking her personal brand alignment and ultimately her visual credibility. Unfortunately this story is not a unique one.
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author of Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success interviewed roughly 4,000 college-educated professionals. Those interviewed said that education and experience were important, but that a polished brand persona weighed heavily in their overall impression. They considered three key factors- how you act, how you speak and how you look.
Let’s consider your visual personal brand or image. Presenting yourself as YOU at your ultimate potential is a game-changing strategy that will have you showing up as a thought leader, attracting the business and connections you want and leaving a lasting impression. Let’s focus on how you dress.
Keeping in mind the importance of dressing to attract your ideal client and in alignment with your profession, here are some simple guidelines:
- COLOR– While dark colors like black, navy blue and brown and neutrals like beige and gray tend to call for respect, donning jewel tones like emerald green, deep purple, red and cobalt blue will have you standing out from the rest.
- SOLIDS– Wearing solids keeps your look more classic and businesslike. Strive to be remembered for your skills and qualifications rather than your colorful pattern.
- WELL TAILORED CUTS– Simple, classic lines reflect a level of professionalism and attention to detail. Going tailored can look severe so I suggest softening your look with a v-neck or draped neckline like Sheryl Sandberg is wearing above.
- WRINKLE RESISTANT– Choose quality fabrics that are wrinkle resistant. You’ll look more polished and they’re great for travel, too. When shopping try my wrinkle test. Wad a fistful of fabric in your hand and squeeze it for 15 seconds. Let go. THAT’S what it will look like the first time you sit down.
- ELEGANT ACCESSORIES– Accessories are the best way to allow your style personality to shine through. Get creative with colors, textures, and shapes, but be sure that your adornments compliment your overall look and don’t overpower it. Remember, the focus is on you and your message, not your accessories.
Applying these tips will increase your confidence factor and attract respect, attention and prosperity. Go out there, shine, and look like a leader!
Photo courtesy of www.hercampus.com
JuliAnn Stitick is an established expert in personal brand and image development for entrepreneurs, business leaders and executives. For the last 20 years, JuliAnn has helped powerful, successful people align their personal brand with their ultimate potential and accelerate their business success.
Her connoisseur level of expertise is crucial to luxury brands and professionals who bring their A-game to every aspect of business. JuliAnn is a trusted advisor for top level entrepreneurs globally and organizations crossing every industry, from The Oscars to Lexus, The Golden Globes to Disney, Nordstrom to Kaiser Permanente and Caruso Affiliated.
Whether working privately with her clients or leading a keynote for a business conference, JuliAnn’s sincere and strategic approach, coupled with the proven ability to reflect the very best of each client, compels game-changing insights and actions that ultimately transform lives and paychecks.
JuliAnn is a Managing Director for the premier women’s business network in North America, eWomenNetwork. Her position with the Orange County Chapter showcases her exemplary leadership skills and influence. She works closely with the dynamic group of members and plays a key role in building a strong leadership team and facilitating the fundraising efforts for The eWomenNetwork Foundation.
Her involvement with The Salvation Army, Girl Scouts of America, The eWomenNetwork Foundation and youth groups allows her the opportunity to mentor young women into the workforce.
JuliAnn is married to Joe and lives in the quiet suburban foothills north of Los Angeles, California. She is mother of three and grandmother of one. She loves all animals (especially her dogs) and spends her leisure time with her family, camping, traveling, bbq’ing, reading and watching movies.