How do you find the time to develop a style that is distinctly you? And, why invest time in finding your personal style at all?
In the face of such tough questions, the first impulse for many is to resort to clothes that are easy and familiar, but in doing that, you can short-change your success. The professional climate we operate in today is highly focused on the individual. These days, with the prevalence of social media and emphasis on personal branding, it is imperative you adapt your style to authentically represent your personal brand. So as you evolve; so too should your style.
How Personal Style Effects the Way Others See You
A first impression is a lasting one and your image goes a long way to communicate not only how effectively you can do your job, but also, the nature of your personality. In a study conducted by Psychology Professors from University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK, in 2013, researchers showed 300 people pictures of two men for three seconds each. One man wore a tailored bespoke suit and the other a somewhat ill-fitting suit off the rack. The man in the bespoke suit was rated by participants as “more confident, successful, flexible and a higher earner” on a first impression basis. The study concluded that: “Minor clothing manipulations can give rise to significantly different inferences.” You only have a few seconds to influence your clients’ perceptions of your intelligence, capability, and trustworthiness and your personal style should communicate your positive traits before you even introduce yourself.
Why Invest Time and Money in Personal Style?
First and foremost, establishing a personal style and building a wardrobe of pieces that you love and can put together in minutes reduces stress and boosts confidence. Imagine never saying the words, “I have nothing to wear” again. A well edited closet that communicates your personal brand and your style point of view will accomplish this.
Style can even affect the way you think. Putting on formal clothes makes us feel powerful, and that changes the basic way we see the world. As Lissa always says “life’s too short to do casual”! When people dress in a more formal manner, their self esteem rises instantly and they are able to take on problems in a more self assured manner. That surge of confidence you feel when you put on an outfit that you absolutely love —that is style changing your self perception and your approach to the world around you. A positive change such as that is very clearly worth an investment.
Even with all these facts at your fingertips, the world of fashion itself is often intimidating. Endless choice and an air of exclusivity in the industry have created emotional barriers to personal style for some. Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, if you’re a fashion-lover it can be tough to zero in on what truly works for you—it’s all so tempting.
Below are a few easy tips to help you jumpstart the process of defining your personal style:
1. Do a serious closet clean. Take a hard look at what you own. If it doesn’t fit, hasn’t been worn in years, or doesn’t make you feel great when you think about wearing it—donate, sell, or throw it away.
2. Hire a professional stylist. A personal stylist isn’t a luxury reserved for celebrities anymore. Fashionista Sistas is making it affordable for professional women to work with someone who can help them clearly define their style and make it work for their real lives. A stylist who knows your body, lifestyle, budget, and taste is a secret weapon every working woman should have in her corner.
3. Find your signature pieces. If you know pencil skirts work for you and your body, make them your calling card. If leather jackets make you feel like the most powerful woman in the room, invest in a few. Real style isn’t about following trends, it’s about knowing what flatters you and fits your lifestyle.
4. Invest in key pieces that can be worn in multiple ways. You should have a repertoire of flattering staples that you can reach for at a moment’s notice. For example, well-made black trousers in both slim fit and wide leg silhouettes are key to a professional wardrobe.
5. Step up your accessories. In a conservative workplace accessories are an easy way to communicate your taste and personal style. Killer shoes and a sleek bag go a long way in making an outfit work.
6. Don’t play it too safe. Even in buttoned-up office environments you can push the envelope and experiment on some level with your style. Try adding a pop of colour with a silk scarf or let just a bit of a printed blouse peeking out from underneath a tailored jacket. Match daring garments with toned down investment pieces. Conservative doesn’t equal boring.
7. Remix your work wear. A tailored dress is great modern alternative to your suit. A personal stylist can alleviate stress when you’re in a style rut because she can help you see the clothes you already own in new ways.
8. Know your true sizes. Take the time to try different silhouettes and sizes until you find the fit that is best for your unique shape. Fit is key; it can make an inexpensive piece look rich and it will make you want to wear a piece over and over.
9. Don’t get discouraged. For many women, shopping is a daunting task. The key to shopping smart is knowing that clothes will rarely fit perfectly off the rack. Every brand uses different fit models and sizing scales; it’s normal to find that you don’t always wear the same size. Ignore the number and focus on fit.
10. Don’t be intimidated. Fashion can appear to be a very exclusive realm reserved for the uber-trendy or those with piles of disposable income. However, real personal style trumps fashion any day and style is achievable for every woman.
Still not sure about your style? Get Fashionista Sistas to help you nail your style and start 2016 feeling confident and believing in yourself.