#SWAAYthenarrative

Let's Get Personal: You Are Your Brand

Career

I was recently having a conversation with one of my most respected professional female colleagues — let’s call her “Amanda” — when she said: “Don’t dress for the job you have. Dress for the job you want.”


Amanda is currently the Special Products and Innovations Director for a fast growing, billion-dollar, international franchise company. Before that, she was an Account Director at one of the biggest global agencies in the world. And before that, she was an Associate Brand Manager for one of the world’s largest lifestyle brands.

She’s also 28 years old.

And let me be clear: she didn’t get to where she is based on her affinity for J.Crew and cute shoes.

Make no mistake: Amanda ascended the corporate ladder based on her tenacity, work ethic and her hard-earned experience and education. But Amanda was also savvy enough to realize at a young enough age that how she showed up to work, be it aesthetically, socially or energetically, could (and would) have a huge impact on her career. She realized it was her responsibility to create the life and career she wanted, and that it didn’t begin and end with what was on her resume. It needed to come from within, and she needed to infuse it into every aspect of her life.

Why?

Because every person is a brand.

When you step out into the world each day to “make your mark,” are you wearing yesterday’s laundry or a thoughtfully curated ensemble that makes you feel confident and empowered? On that same note (and more importantly), while the handbag you bring into your next meeting might indeed look good and feel even better to hold, are you a bringing a positive spirit and a collaborative attitude in as well?

Your brand isn’t solely developed at the office. Let’s talk about your social and cultural brand. Do you give back to your community or spend time working with a charity, and if so, what does that organization say about you? Speaking of which, what do the five closest people in your life say about you? You are a reflection of the company you keep.

The music you listen to, the home you live in, the places you travel, the blogs you read, the color of your nails, the cocktail you religiously order, your favorite workouts, your favorite magazines, the people you call your advisors, mentors and friends… they are all a reflection and extension of your personal brand.

I don’t point this out to make you self-conscious about every extreme detail in your day-to-day existence. I point this out to simply make you aware, and to encourage you to own it, to embrace it, to amplify it, to Simply Be it.

Being your own brand is a choice, but it’s also a gift. A gift that no one else in the world but you gets to hold, cherish and shape. This gift is the bedrock of your career path, whether you’re an Entrepreneur or a Corporate Rock Star.

So now it’s your turn: What is your personal brand? How are you living it, being it and owning it?

This article was first published on www.roadjesstraveled.com

5 Min Read
Self

The Psychological Power Of Clothes

She walks into a room ready for her presentation. She wants to land this new client and has worked weeks on it. She heads to the 35th floor of the tallest building on the block knowing she has documentation that is sure to impress. The conference room has a 20-foot long table surrounded by executives in blue suits, button-down shirts, pencil skirts, and blazers.

At this point, she realizes she didn't take into consideration the other important component of her presentation... she is not dressed appropriately.

Is it true that there is power in clothing? Can an incredible outfit increase your confidence and add validity to your brand? Will you perform your job better or feel more empowered? Will first impressions of you be more positive?

For me, the answer is a resounding yes. I believe that clothing can greatly impact first impressions and make a lasting impact on anyone you interact with. Like it or not, people will judge you on how you look and they will make both conscious and subconscious decisions about you based on what you're wearing… Is she trustworthy? Is she the expert we need? Will she fit in our corporate culture?

Can an incredible outfit increase your confidence and add validity to your brand? Will you perform your job better or feel more empowered? Will first impressions of you be more positive? For me, the answer is a resounding yes.

After all, if you were hiring a financial advisor, and one walked in with a pair of jeans and the other in a pair of trousers and blazer, who would you trust with your money? Even if you don't realize what you're doing when you interact with people, there may be more going on beneath the surface. It's something to think about for sure.

Here's another example, let's say you want to hire a party planner for an event. You meet with the first candidate, and she is wearing a wrinkled shirt and her fingernails are chipping and half-painted. Whereas candidate number two walks in and has on a pencil skirt, pumps, and silk blouse. Who do you think would pay more attention to the details associated with your party?

In 2019, WWD wrote about the psychological effects clothing has on a person:

It is said that clothing is what makes and defines a person. What you wear tells others what you are and makes a statement about your taste, character and individuality. It gives an insight into your nature, whether you are casual or formal, playful or serious, cool or just composed. Whether you are attending a job interview, out on a date or just strutting by the beach, your apparel tells us so much about you at a simple glance.

We know that it takes 5-7 seconds for a person to subconsciously form an opinion about you. Our eyes take in how you look; after all, what you're wearing will influence how you are perceived. How do you want to be perceived to your audience, your clients, and in your working industry?

How do you want to be perceived to your audience, your clients, and in your working industry?

And it goes way beyond the external. There is scientific data that shows how an individual feels differently when dressed in a variety of styles. In an article from Research Gate, they found that, "Fashion choices can affect both self-image, the impression that you convey to others and in turn, the way in which people behave towards you."

Have you ever heard of the term "enclothed cognition"? It refers to the phenomenon in which people tend to adopt the traits and properties they associate with the clothes they wear. In a study on the psychology of clothing, that same article as above reports that, "Participants judged women to be more forceful in job interviews and were more likely to recommend them for hiring when they were dressed in a more masculine style compared with a more feminine style," and that "Both men and women are attracted to stylish clothing that fits them well, makes them feel well-dressed and looks current."

On some level, we may all agree with that statement.

Naturally, as a personal stylist, I am a true believer in the power of clothes. I have seen my clients' exhilaration as they take in their transformation, brought about by an outfit, a new style, and clothes that look incredible on them. I have also witnessed physical changes like their facial expressions, huge smiles, laughter, sparkling eyes, and even a change in the way they walk. It's almost like there has been a shift in attitude toward their inner beauty, which has increased because they feel and look amazing and confident.

Although most of us are no longer strutting our way to the boardroom, the psycholigcal power of clothing is still necessary and relevant, especially now that we're confined to our home offices. Most of us are on virtual calls or live streaming from our computer, and it's easy to not prep as much for your "waist-up" meetings. But, like it or not, you should look on-brand, and put together clothes that are relevant for your industry. Not only will your peers perceieve you as more professional and more put-together, but I am sure you will also feel better, be more alert, and have more energy.

Most of us are on virtual calls or live streaming from our computer, and it's easy to not prep as much for your "waist-up" meetings. But, like it or not, you should look on-brand, and put together clothes that are relevant for your industry.

I'm not saying you need to look like a superstar every second of every day. However, I want you to think about the positive impact well-fitting, stylish clothes can have on both others' perceptions of you as well as your inner-confidence and intrinsic behavior.