Do You Ever Wonder How People See You?

Mirror Your Message: Reflect Your True Self in Your Style

Do you ever wonder how people see you? Is it what you want them to see?

It's human nature to make assumptions about people based on what we see. We believe our perceptions paint an accurate picture of the whole person. First impressions happen in a matter of seconds, and once they’re made, they’re virtually impossible to change. Your appearance instantly conveys who you are and what you stand for.

Personal branding is a way of communicating what differentiates you from everyone else – your values, passions, strengths, and personal style.  It’s your unique promise of value. Your signature style is the outward expression of your personal brand through your clothes and appearance. It visually communicates your brand message as well as your personality. It’s a key way to stand out and not blend in today’s competitive business landscape.

So, how do you translate your personal brand into your signature style? By merging the key principles of branding and style to create a holistic approach to help you achieve your goals and “dress the part”.  My seven key principles for translating your personal brand into your signature style are as follows:

1. Have a Style Point of View
People have expectations about what you should look like in your role or profession. The magic happens when your appearance instantly and accurately reinforces your role and professionalism, as well as communicates your unique brand and personality.

2. Be Authentic
You don’t need outlandish gimmicks or false personas. You want to understand and bring out the real you, expressing it through your style. The key to personal branding and your signature style is in its authenticity. I see some women struggle when they attempt to assume the appearance of someone they are not. 

3. Consistency MattersWhile first impressions are very important, they can also be manipulated. We wear our best suit when we prepare for an important interview or dress for a first date. But what about the rest of the time? You never know when chance encounters will lead to a great opportunity. I’m not saying to wear your best suit every day, but you should be wearing appropriate attire that goes along with your brand on a consistent basis.

4. It Takes Some WorkFor most women, style doesn’t just magically happen. It may appear effortless, and you may assume it’s a natural-born talent. In reality, it takes some work. You can be sure that the secret to stylish women’s success is planning. Investing in your professional image is not a luxury, but a necessity. 
 

5. Learn the Basics of StyleAs an architect designing your personal brand, consider basic style principles (Fit, Color, Quality, Accessorizing, etc.) as your foundation. You need to know what styles and colors look best on you and how to wear them.

6. Mirror Your MessageWhen you look in a full-length mirror, your goal is to see your own best advertising staring back at you. While your image is influenced by external factors (e.g., your work environment and client perception), your identity is influenced by your own personality and values. Your signature style combines both your image and identity.
Clothes have a language all their own. So, how do you know what they are saying? By understanding the design characteristics of clothes, you can decipher the messages they’re sending.

Not all jackets, for example, say the same thing. A blue, traditional cut, suit jacket says “I mean business”. “I’m trustworthy” "I’m to be taken seriously”. While a black leather motorcycle jacket says, “I’m adventuresome.” "I’m hip and edgy” “I’m relaxed and having fun!”
7. Avoid Gimmicks for Gimmick SakeDon’t let uniqueness and quirkiness go too far! If you wear bright colored hair purely for shock value and to draw attention to yourself, you may be memorable for all the wrong reasons! Reaction to your look depends on your brand and profession. A purple-haired accountant may get unpleasant stares, while a purple-haired musician or artist won’t get a second look.
 
On the other hand, if a specific clothing item or accessory is true to your style, and you are known for this, then by all means leverage it as part of your signature style.
If you need help creating your Signature Style, check out my website at www.FirstImpressionStyle.com or contact me at Carolyn@FirstImpressionStyle.com.

-Carolyn Curtis