Personality: Your most important accessory
I am sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Dress for the job you want.” This is great advice if you’re in the market for a new job, or if you’re simply a woman searching for that promotion at work. But why limit this advice to the office? There’s no stopping you from dressing for the personality you want as well. It takes a little research and effort, but once you get the hang of dressing with personality, you’ll make lasting first impressions.
I didn’t have to put much thought into what to wear to work for over nine years. I worked in a pediatrician’s office surrounded by kids, and my co-workers and I all wore the same nurses’ scrubs – it made the process of getting dressed for work a breeze. My wake up call happened when I signed up to be a Consultant. There I was, a mom of four who went from working for a pediatrician to teaching women how to spice their love life up and connect with their sexuality! I was invited into women’s homes and they were looking to me to be the expert! At that point in time incorporating my personality in clothing wasn’t even on my radar, I was just trying to figure out the right pant to put with a jacket. Ladies, I’ll be honest, I looked like I should be selling leather bound books to libraries, not relationship enhancement items! Little did I know, my style would transform and meet up with my fun, yet professional, personality.
Over the last thirty years I’ve been on my own fashion evolution and one of the most important things I’ve learned is that you have to incorporate your personality into your wardrobe. At first, due to the “taboo” of the relationship enhancement industry, I dressed extremely conservatively – I dressed like a schoolteacher. I can remember going to parties and having the hostesses and guests comment that I didn’t look like I sold “those types of products”. My fashion statement – pants. I wore pants all the time. I think I did it because I saw pants as being part of the “breadwinner” role. As my business grew, so did the understanding of who I am and how I would like to be perceived. I’m classy, professional…but also sassy, fun and feminine, and so my fashion started to portray that! When I started working with Emily I realized how much I enjoyed wearing a dress. I can remember the look on my kids’ faces when they saw me in a dress for the first time – it was a look of complete shock! It was obvious my personality wasn’t shining through in what I was wearing every day, and it was time for me to align the two. Needless to say, dresses have taken over my closet…and of course the perfect heels and purse to match! What can I say? A girl needs options!
Emily and I have talked about how good you feel when you show your personality and have fun with fashion. Even today, although I am more confident in my personal style, I find that it constantly evolves as I age and as designers introduce new trends.
Showing off your personality through your wardrobe is a big challenge many women face. However, when your clothes show off the true you while remaining professional, the confidence you feel will carry over in everything you do! I’ve asked Emily to join me and provide you with tips I wish I had when I first joined the business world.
I want you to be able to use the essential pieces in your own way, to express yourself AND look professional at the same time. Anyone can go out and buy a basic suit and march out the door. I want to challenge you to make sure you don’t leave your personality behind at home.
According to the website businessinsider.com, psychological studies have found that first impressions are formed within 7 – 17 seconds of meeting someone and the 55% of a person’s opinion is determined by physical appearance. Think about this for a moment; your best shot at showing the world who you are lasts less than 20 seconds.
Let’s talk about Patty Brisben’s first impression. Grab your smart phone and search for images of Patty Brisben. I am willing to bet the picture of her in the black button up shirt came up. I was doing some research prior to a photo shoot with Patty when I first ran across that photo. The next time I saw Patty I just had to say something. I told her I thought she looked beautiful, but boring. The woman I know, the founder of Pure Romance is not boring—she’s passionate and spirited. I can almost guarantee if I brought a similar shirt into the fitting room with Patty she wouldn’t look twice at it. It’s professional, but just not really her style.
To make it an easier visual for all of you, I went to the web and pulled photos of Patty for the montage above. You can see the images on the right all showcase her personality through her clothing. Now that’s a strong, powerful businesswoman with her own sense of style. Professionista approved!
Weaving your personality into your wardrobe is a must and I’m going to help you do it. First, define your style. Make this a fun project! Look through magazines and tear out photos you like. I am not just talking about Vogue, I often find US Weekly and People to be more helpful because the clothing is more real and accessible. Look for similarities in the photos you’ve chosen. Analyze the photos, you may be selecting the same celebrity, same designer and overall same style. Now, cut out some photos and start your own inspiration arsenal. Put the images in a binder or on a corkboard and update them each season. Start to tailor these looks according to your lifestyle and budget. Any time you feel like you’re in a rut, go to your photos, because they can be an easy formula to get you back on track. Pinterest is also a great resource to simulate this same idea.
Second, get to the cold, hard truth! Every woman needs another woman in her life that will talk honestly with her and let her know that a dress, accessory or shoe is just simply not her style or not the right fit. Find that woman in your life and trust her when you’re in doubt! If you don’t have someone who will be honest with you, find that honesty in a sales associate at a department store.
After you’ve established your style and you know the clothing works for your age and body type, add in the accessories. Accessorizing is the easiest way to express your personality. Invest in some pieces you just really love and enjoy wearing. Scarves, necklaces or a stack of bangle bracelets can take an outfit to the next level. Hunt for these pieces everywhere! In the age of Etsy, don’t forget about things like consignment shops and street fairs. When in a professional setting you want to make sure you accessorize tastefully. You may like to have a flower in your hair, just make sure people will actually look at your face and won’t walk away only remembering the huge flower, not the woman wearing it. Remember to accessorize for your age—your daughter’s closet may not be the best place to look for pieces
Your accessories and wardrobe play an essential role in your first impression! Right out of the jump you have LESS than 20 seconds to show the world who you are. Do your research. Find magazines, stores and websites that you like and use them to help you keep it all together. Ask for help. Find a store that fits your style and befriend a sales person. As they get to know you they will keep you in mind as new stock arrives and guide you to items that match your style on your next visit. Trust your gut and have fun with it. Don’t be afraid. Keep at it and you will find your own personal style and be so confident when you walk out that door you’ll amaze yourself!