Think before you dress! When it comes to being successfully perceived as the complete leader, your brand identity and message cannot afford to be misrepresented or misunderstood. Yet, every day most of us stand in front of a closet packed with clothes, embarking upon the daunting and time-consuming task of finding something to wear. Unfortunately, feeling pressed for time or clueless about what to wear, we pick our clothes without thinking about the impression we want to make or the perceptions of others.
Let’s face it, we all desire to be perceived as successful. According to Woody Allen, “When it comes to success 80% of it is showing up.” Like it or not, people tend to base their view of your success on how you look, what you do, and the value you add. Without a doubt, creating a successful look must be done with care, and choosing your clothing is no exception.
Research shows that when it comes to people’s perceptions and what they believe about you:
- 55% is based on physical appearance
- 38% is based on the tone of your voice. (Can’t you hear your mom saying: “It is not what you say, it’s how you say it”?)
- 7% is based on your words
As you can see, when it comes to first impressions, how you show up physically matters! So package yourself by dressing like you mean business. Since you may never get a second chance to make a great first impression, here are five simple tips to help you visually align your brand, from the inside out:
1. Identify your personal brand.
When your name is mentioned what image do you want to come to mind? Dress the way you want to be addressed! Attractively package yourself by taking control and deciding how you want to be seen, known and remembered. Authentically dress the part for the role you desire to play in life and business. Differentiate yourself from the crowd. In the words of Jerry Garcia, “It’s not enough to be perceived as the best at what you do; you must be perceived as the only one who does what you do.”
2. Connect your story with your closet.
It all begins with a clear vision for your wardrobe and what you desire to attract based on your brand message. Let your clothes speak well of who you are on the inside. When getting dressed, consider what three words you want people to think of when they encounter your brand, whether you’re out networking, consulting, prospecting for business, interviewing, etc. Carefully choose clothes that tell your story and connect your branded style with your passions, preferences, and values.
3. Recognize that your clothing is advertising your brand message at all times.
You must dress in a manner that is credible and believable, and in a way that connects you with your target community. Since you never know when you will meet your ideal client, it’s best to be “on brand” at all times. Avoid sending mixed messages. Create the best image by wearing clothes that are consistent with who you are on the inside and line up with your lifestyle. Think about it: when you shop, aren’t you are more likely to choose products that are well packaged? Remember, people are more likely to hire and do business with us based on their ability to know, like, and trust what they see.
4. Identify clothes that enable you to stand out and showcase your best assets.
Artists create their best work to be showcased on a gallery wall. Likewise, your clothes which are really “wearable art in motion,” should hang on your body and showcase the best version of you. Has your figure gone through some changes? Skirt or pant lengths or jacket shapes that were flattering ten years ago may be less than flattering now. Your body will look better in clothes that compliment your current shape and silhouette. I always remind my clients: “Dress the body that you have today, not the body you used to have or the one you will have when you lose those unwanted pounds.” When looking at your clothes, examine the lines, shapes, colors, patterns, and textures. Choose clothes that you LOVE! Donate the things that aren’t working. Wear your clothing on your body as pieces of art, revealing that you are a remarkable masterpiece.
5. Intentionally wear your power colors.
It’s been proven that when we look at a company’s logo, color is the first thing that we see. Companies use color to connect with customers and gain respect and recognition. This silent language communicates nonverbally and has the power to endear the company to their target audience. Just as superheroes wear their power colors, you should wear yours! Your colors will help you build trust, convey your brand message with clarity, and they should also enhance your overall physical coloring. So, make sure that your power colors harmonize with your skin, hair, and eyes. Go the extra mile by intentionally using color to add meaning to your brand and to speak for you without saying a single word.
The bottom line is that your appearance matters. I encourage you to dress with intention and use it as an opportunity to enhance your brand. Take some time to define your brand and then leverage your physical appearance by wearing clothes that line up with who you really are and the message you wish to convey. And last but not least, enjoy the process. Dressing in a way that represents your brand can be really fun, and you’ll be amazed at how people take notice!
I love to hear success stories! What are you doing to enhance your branded style as it relates to your clothes? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. I look forward to hearing from you!