Just in case you didn't already know it, I'm just going to say it - female entrepreneurs, you are a force to be reckoned with. According to the State of Women-Owned Business Report (commissioned by American Express OPEN) in 2016, there were an estimated 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States.
These businesses employ almost 9 million people and generate over $1.6 trillion in revenue. Women-owned businesses have also increased 45 percent between 2007 and 2016, and there are no signs of this growth is slowing down.
The amazing women at the helm of these companies know that there are many pieces involved in building and growing a business. From starting with the product or service, to marketing it, to selling it, to everything in between. They are also keenly aware of the fact that they are the face of their company and personal branding is critical. Successful leaders understand that through networking, business promotion, social media and many other outward facing outlets, they can bring awareness to themselves and their businesses. One way women entrepreneurs can showcase their personal brand is to dress to their brand and personal style. Personal style is a culmination of one's interests, lifestyle, experiences and clothing preferences. What she wears is her social armor for the day - dressing to her unique style helps her tell her story and more about who she is, all without saying a word.
So, what does that mean for all you fabulous female entrepreneurs who want to develop a strong personal brand and style? My advice is to first understand your company's message. Next develop a personal brand that fits your company's message and finally determines your personal style (hint: it'll be in line with your company message and personal brand) and dresses to it.
Need some entrepreneur style motivation? Here are some Spring 2018 trends that can help women entrepreneurs express their personal style and be the best versions of themselves.
Worn as pieces of an outfit or head to toe- bright colors can bring any outfit to life.
1. Primary Colors
Worn as pieces of an outfit or head to toe- bright colors can bring any outfit to life. Dubbed the “new millennial pink" by fashionistas, Pantone's color of the year for 2018, Ultra Violet (#18-3838) brings purple tones to the forefront. Pantone's description of the color is, “A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, (it) communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future."
The perfect shade for entrepreneurs. In addition to ultraviolet- yellow, red, green, orange and blue are big for spring as well. Looking to stand out at your next networking event? Pair an ultraviolet or yellow blazer with a grey pencil skirt and pumps for an eye-catching look.
2. Sparkle and Shine
No need to wait until the holidays to wear your sequin again because this shiny embellishment is carrying on right through spring. That also doesn't mean you need to wait for an event or evening affair to wear sequin, go right ahead and wear it during the daytime at work. Stylist tip: The key to daytime sequin dressing is to let the sequin item be the focal point of the outfit and not overwhelm it with too many accessories or other glittery items. For example, you can wear a sequin skirt with a lightweight blouse, pumps and little to no jewelry.
The key to daytime sequin dressing is to let the sequin item be the focal point of the outfit.
3. In the “Trenches"
One item that can instantly convert any outfit to a power outfit, and just happens to be a big trend for spring, is the trench coat. There are many versions of the trench coat for spring that can fit into any personal style. There's always the go-to classic trench, but if you want to switch up the trench wear it in an updated material like shiny vinyl, plastic or denim. Or move away from the classic silhouette to a sleeveless trench coat or an oversized coat. Any way you wear it, the trench coat will communicate your confidence and personal power.
4. Dark Denim
Paired with anything from hoodies to blazers, denim has become a staple piece for entrepreneurs. The great thing about dark denim is that it offers a comfortable yet polished look. Denim is perfect for the multi-tasking entrepreneur as it can take her from a day of meetings to working in the office to an evening of networking and then home to the family. A fun way of dressing denim this spring is denim on denim.
An easy #bosslady look is to wear dark denim jeans with a chambray top, a yellow or red belt for a pop of color and slingback pumps.
It's small enough to not get in the way, it has the ease of being hands-free and it can carry all the necessary items.
5. You say Belt Bag, I say Fanny Pack
Yes, ladies belt bags, AKA fanny packs, are a big trend for spring and they are here to stay. I know this is a controversial one so hear me out as to why I believe this is a great item for women entrepreneurs. First, we love pockets, right? They are a great place to store your phone, a lipstick, metro card, keys, etc. But unfortunately, dresses, blouses, and some pants don't always have pockets. So, in comes the belt pack to save the day. It's small enough to not get in the way, it has the ease of being hands-free and it can carry all the necessary items. If you're not into the traditional look of wearing the belt bag around your waist you could wear it like a cross body bag or even fling it over your shoulder.
6. Check Mate
A trend from fall that is still going strong is check prints. These prints can be anything from plaid to gingham to being mixed with other prints, like florals. The wonderful thing about this pattern is that you can dress it up or down. Pair a plaid dress with slingbacks for a dressed up look. Or go for a casual office look with a plaid blazer, jeans, and sneakers.
7. The Slingback
The slingback, once known as the 80's standard boring office shoe, is completely re-invented for 2018. Updates for 2018 are in the fun styling and colors. Whether your personal style is classic, modern or even trendy the slingback can easily be worn with your outfit of choice. From kitten heels to floral prints to pastel colors and even wearing them with socks, these shoes will allow any entrepreneur to let her style and personality come through.
8. Statement Earrings
When it comes to earrings this spring the motto is go big or go home. From tassels to hoops to full out bling these earrings can help you make a splashy entrance and get noticed quickly. And what entrepreneur doesn't want to get noticed?
Stylist tip- When attending networking events wear a bold accessory, like statement earrings, to get noticed quickly. That necklace or earrings or bag serves as a great conversation starter and it may be what you need to get the ball rolling on a possible joint venture.
There you have it, some spring trend suggestions that can help women entrepreneurs dress to their personal style, allowing them to showcase their strong personal brand.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."