If you do not really know how you want to look, your style becomes confused and led by others. Those ‘others’ often being the media, trends you feel forced to follow and yet feel uncomfortable wearing, but influence over what you wear can also be from well-intentioned loved ones and you can find yourself dressing to please someone else at the risk of hurting their feelings. However, like it or not, what you wear is just too important to be left to someone who may not know what you need to say about your success.

You are in charge of your success so you need to be in charge of dressing your success.

It is great to gain others’ opinions and they can certainly help with all the finishes and tweaks we add but the foundations must start with you.

So how do you know what to wear?

The first question you must ask yourself is, what do you want to project? You have probably developed a clear and focused brand strategy for your business, you know what message you are sending out to your clients about the business. You know how you want them to feel when they experience your product or service. You now need to do the same for yourself. What do you stand for? What is important to you? What are your core values? What are your non-negotiables? Start with a list of attributes that makes you special and makes you stand out. It not just about your skills and talents you use in business it is all that fabulous life experience that makes you unique and the best at what you do. Once you have the long list try and pick the 5 that are most important to you.

If people were to recommend you or mention you in a conversation, what would you want them to say about you? If people were to bring you to mind what would you want to pop into their head? There is no right or wrong, this is individual and unique to you. Some women would want to be described as fun and sassy, whilst others may want to come across as calm and approachable, others as animated and gregarious. It is what is right for you and your business, so really give some thought to how you want to come across. Only you know how you want to be known and you get to control that.

Once you know how you want to be perceived you can start to think what that looks like in terms of what you wear.

Take a look at your current wardrobe and be really honest with yourself. Does it reflect exactly how you want to be seen? Does your ‘go to’ work outfit truly reflect how you want to be known? Often work wardrobes are filled with impulse buys that will ‘simply do’ because of a need for an outfit urgently required for an important meeting or an event. Had you been given more time to select the perfect outfit for the meeting, would you still have chosen that?

Once you know how you want to come across choosing the perfect outfit is simple. You know what says fun and flirty isn’t the same as calm and steady. Of course, there are always occasions when you want to show different sides to your personality and knowing what you want to portray dictates what you wear to send your message instantly. It is about being consistent and being confident about your chosen look.

What you wear for work for dressing for success will of course be different to what you wear for a date, although once you have given thought to your values and your unique personal brand, there will always be a consistency, a unique identity for you and that’s why knowing your own style personality makes choosing what to wear for any occasion so much easier.

Regardless of the event or activity, your own unique style personality will underpin your entire wardrobe. You will always have many roles that you need to dress for and that require different capsule wardrobes. You may have a work capsule, a gym capsule, a social capsule, a relaxing at home capsule, a date night capsule and possibly more, but throughout all those clothes your natural preferences for style and dressing should be showing through. Your preferences for example in respect of colours, patterns, for structure, types of fabric, texture, for embellishments, accessories, simplicity, trimmings etc.

Understanding and knowing how you want to look, how you want to be seen and what you want to communicate ensures that you can dress for success every day.

Deborah Turner
YOU Image Consultancy

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