First impressions are (and always will be) important. Especially when it comes to building your personal brand. What you wear is a direct representation of who you are, whether you want to believe it or not. The way you dress at work is one of the key elements of shaping your professional image, and whether you like it or not, you are judged by your appearance.
There is a lot of value in knowing how to dress appropriately for any occasion, especially in the workplace. Whether you work from home, work at an office, or attend regular networking gatherings, your work wardrobe plays a role in the success of your encounters. Your work attire should reflect your environment and position.
Yet, it should also reflect who YOU are. “Being yourself” is my biggest advice for a reason. If you are not yourself, you will feel uncomfortable. If you want to be taken seriously in your work, being your authentic self is your best personal branding tool.
While these two words seem sublime in their simplicity, they might also be the hardest piece of advice to follow up. Your fashion choices and how you decide to do your hair and make-up can also be a minefield. Because, as much as we try not to judge people based on appearances, the way you look plays a crucial role in your business success.
Embrace who you are
So what should you do? Feel comfortable with yourself. Embrace who you are and understand that what you wear is a simple yet very effective way to stand out while building your own brand. Don’t be afraid to show people who you are.
Don’t be afraid to add some personality
Don’t be afraid to go for the bright purple top or a pink blazer. If you’re willing to play up your look with tasteful colors and fashion, it shows your confidence. Brightening up your work wardrobe with a simple red laptop bag, and polished nails to go with a black dress, or a fun colored tie with your checkered suit, and modern shoes, is also a fun way to reflect your personality while retaining a professional look.
Blend in while standing out
The best way to way to go about this is to check your company culture and what space you have, to add your personality to your appearance. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation based on how you dress, either change how you dress to be more comfortable in your own “skin” or change your environment. Because, if you feel unhappy when you cannot express yourself through your wardrobe due to judgmental opinions of what’s right and wrong, and you feel it holds you back as a person, you’re eventually are not in the right place and you need to ask yourself honestly if this is the company culture where you would want to work.
How to match your personality with your business attire
To match your personality with your business attire, keep the following in mind:
- What type of job do I have?
- Who is my audience?
- What keywords/feelings do you want your audience to get from your outfit?
- What kind of meeting do I have?
- What is my most comfortable working state?
- What colors and silhouettes fit me best?
- How long does it take me to get ready in the morning, when I wear this?
Developing your personal brand makes you unique from others and instantly builds trust with clients and colleagues. If you are working your way up the corporate ladder, or you own your own business, developing a personal brand and a wardrobe that clearly translates who you are will increase your workplace success.
While you evolve as a person, your personal brand has to develop with you. But normally, you don’t change radically from day to day, and neither your clothes. Your personal brand is the same – a consistent message of confidence and professionalism in everything you do, and in this case what you wear. If you yourself were a company, you would not change your brand, your logo, or your message each day. The consistency of your personal brand is part of what creates trust and a memorable impression.
When your wardrobe truly represents you and your personal brand, you will find that consistency and being yourself come naturally. Having established your personal brand, you will find it far simpler to choose clothes that reflect you, while being appropriate to the situation. You can focus fully on what you do because you already know you are making the right impression.
Would you like more personal advice related to your specific situation, don’t hesitate to book a one-on-one personal branding session. Feel free to contact me directly via email@example.com.
Picture made during Business Breakfasts Rotterdam 2020
Written by: Yustine Alvares
Personal & Business Branding Strategist, Business Mentor, and Multiple Business Owner