About LaQuinda Brewington

Posts by LaQuinda Brewington:

It takes more than a pretty dress to create a powerful visual identity

It takes more than a pretty dress to create a powerful visual identity

It takes more than a pretty dress to create a powerful visual identity

Odds are if the pilot on your next flight showed up wearing a t-shirt, a pair of cut-off jean shorts and flip flops, you might feel a little less confident about boarding the flight.

That’s because there’s science which suggests that we’re conditioned to respond to visual prompts in certain ways. As human beings, it’s in our DNA to want to make a connection with something or someone in order to know, like and trust it.

Typically, these connections are made through first impressions. And, the impressions we give and receive (whether they be positive or negative) through visual styling can make a huge impact on how other people perceive us.

To be absolutely clear, what you wear doesn’t define your value as a person any more than wearing a tutu makes you a prima ballerina. But, the truth of the matter is, you can’t control the fact that people will judge you. But, you can control their first impressions of you.

The way you look is important. There’s no getting around it. And, it doesn’t really matter if you’re an elementary school teacher, a firefighter or a pilot – most people have a very distinct picture in their mind of what that is “supposed” to look like.

You may be thinking it’s not fair. I agree. It isn’t. But, instead of waging war on human nature by telling yourself that you have other, more altruistic things to focus on besides personal style and image, you should know that research shows the way you look strongly influences other people’s perception of your financial success, trustworthiness, intelligence and advancement in the workplace.

As more people start to trade in their traditional 8 to 5 jobs for a chance to become their own bosses, the ability to stand out in a crowd that now accounts for 35% of the U.S. workforce, according to a 2016 Freelancers Union survey, is more important than ever.  

The reason why is simple: Image matters.

  • If it didn’t, major corporations wouldn’t spend billions of dollars annually developing, honing and protecting their brand identities.
  • If it didn’t, former POTUS Barack Obama’s choice to wear an unbuttoned shirt during a recent summit about global food innovation and climate change wouldn’t have made national headlines.
  • If it didn’t, you would never ever feel the need to ask the question, “How do I look?”

Image matters because it’s how major brands like Disney, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s differentiate themselves and provide their customers with something to connect to.

And the same is true for the more than 30 million self-employed, independent workers throughout the U.S. A well-defined, consistent image that visually represents the way you want to be perceived by potential clients is a proven strategy for helping gain a competitive advantage with the people who matter most.

When a potential client is deciding whether they want to work with you, all they have to go on initially is what they see. So, you better believe their first impression of your web site design, your page copy, photos, colors and even your personal appearance, are all factors they’re using to judge your capacity for being able to give them what they want.

For today’s solopreneur, delivering brand consistency AND creating a cohesive personal image go hand-in-hand because so much of your business brand is you. That’s why creating a strong visual identity is about so much more than wearing a pretty dress. It’s about developing a personalized wardrobe plan that reflects your personal style on your own terms.

I want to help you get started creating a well-defined, cohesive personal image that you can use as a marketing tool in your business. Grab my free email course, Dressing with Intention here.  In it, you’ll learn all about how to develop a personal image that’s a true reflection of YOU (your own uniqueness) and gain the self-confidence you need to attract and capture the success you deserve.  

I’d love to know what your thoughts are about the importance of image and personal style. Do you believe it’s important or not? Let me know what you think in the comments below.  

9777FDD9-C400-4EE8-ACAD-725182C0DD1D61153BA5-7B20-4607-8467-D21E99D60883FF4A60F8-49A7-4137-B3EC-98BA99CB93827AC947E9-E78E-420D-BB6F-927407AF0436

PROFILE: Turn your passion into a career (my friend Renee did, and so can you)

PROFILE: Turn your passion into a career (my friend Renee did, and so can you)

PROFILE: Turn your passion into a career (my friend Renee did, and so can you)

One of my longtime friends Renee Pollard-Bush (nope, we’re not related by blood, only sisterhood) moved back to the area recently, and she invited me to check out the fabulous new day spa she just opened in Orlando. Perfection Skin & Body Studio definitely lives up to its name!  I’ll tell you much more about that in a minute. But first, let me tell you a little bit about how I came to know this amazing human being.

It was more than 20 years ago when Renee and I first met. We were neighbors living in a small community right outside of Tampa. During some of our brief chats, I learned how passionate she is: about her family, about professionalism and about her beloved sorority, Delta Sigma Theta.

In the years since, Renee has literally trotted the globe as a busy corporate executive. But, no matter how far she’s ever gone, her heart was always right here in Florida. Many of her family members – brothers, sisters and a host of nieces and nephews – still live in Jacksonville.  And, she and her husband Michael, whom she married in 2015, now call Orlando home.

As Renee gave me a tour of her place, I couldn’t help but notice how knowledgeable and confident she was as she explained each of the services to me. I was especially impressed when she told me that she is certified to perform each and every one that the day spa offers! The teeth whitening service, for a style blogger like me who logs a lot of time in front of the camera, sounded especially intriguing.

Use code “SLG2020” to book 20 minutes of the super popular teeth whitening service for just $20!

“Professionalism is so important to me. I want to know every aspect of what it takes to run this business successfully,” she said. “That’s why I’m constantly taking classes and at least three times per year, I’m traveling to shows around the country to make sure I’m on top of the latest trends.”

Renee is quite possibly one of the most determined and vibrant women I know. And, I think a big part of her excitement comes from the fact that she loves what she’s doing.

For years, she worked in the healthcare sector, but it wasn’t something she truly loved. Instead, she used her passion for skincare to literally help women as well as men put their best faces forward and to launch an entirely new career.

Her services run the gamut from facials designed to cleanse and renew the skin to facials for teens who may be dealing with adolescent acne. She even has her own skincare line, NutraSkin Rx. I know, right?!? She is the real deal!

There’s no doubt that Renee is a savvy business woman, but she’s also a woman of God.  For me, her story serves as a testament of how He will work wonders in your life if you believe.

In the space of a few short years, Renee lost both her mother and father; parents whom she adored. Then, shortly after getting married, the home that she and Michael built got struck by lightning during a freak storm and burned to the ground.

The extreme level of heartache and adversity would have broken a lesser woman, I think. But, Renee had faith it would all work for her good. And I’m glad she did. She’s as close as ever to her family. And, she and Michael have not only rebuilt their home, but launched an AHHH-mazing business from the ground up. Ummm … winning!  As a side note: Renee and her husband found the space in December 2016 and they had their grand opening in January 2017! Say what!!!  That’s what I call a woman on a mission!

Right now, Renee is running a special promotion on one of her most in-demand services. Call (407) 924-2615 or visit Perfection Skin & Body Studio today and use the code “SLG2020” to book 20 minutes of the super popular teeth whitening service for just $20! Who doesn’t want a brighter smile, right?

Also, be sure to friend and follow the spa on Facebook and Instagram, where upcoming specials and other neat treats are posted on a regular basis.

I know you may be wondering what the secret to Renee’s success is? Well, she was gracious enough to share a few pearls of wisdom about how she turned her passion into a full-time career and I want to pass them on to you:

  • Do your research: Having a passion for what you do is one thing. But, turning that passion into a profitable career is quite another. Renee says before you take the leap and change your career, a little pre-work is required. Know who your competition is. Figure out whether there’s enough market share to support your idea. And, understand what it’s going to take to get your idea off the ground.
  • Find a niche: In a heavily saturated market, differentiation is the key to long term success. Who will benefit most from your services? Where do they hang out? How do you let them know where to find you? These are a few of the key questions Renee says need to be answered before starting a business.
  • Show your value: What service or product do you offer that a potential client might find educational, inspirational, informational or motivational? At the end of the day, Renee says, showing a client how you can help improve a dilemma or situation, is essential to success.
  • Never stop learning: Renee is a bona-fide expert in the skincare field and she has the certifications to prove it. She’s constantly training to ensure she can offer the best solutions for her clients. Her expertise – she can perform every service offered at the spa – is something she says her clients appreciate and really differentiates her from the competition.

To book your service or to take advantage of the 20 minute teeth whitening service for $20, call (407) 924-2615.

I love promoting positive women doing positive things! If you have a product or service you’d like to promote and would like to be featured in one of my SisterLadyGirl profiles, just drop me a note at LaQuinda@sisterladygirl.com.  

You are who you think you are

You are who you think you are

You are who you think you are

A while back, I surveyed a few ladies in my friend circle and asked the question: When it comes to your personal appearance, what’s the biggest challenge you struggle with regularly?

I have to confess I was a little surprised by the responses I got because no two answers were alike! The comments were really wide-ranging. I heard from ladies who have a hard time finding affordable, quality clothing to those whose “go-to” outfits include mostly dresses and skirts because their smaller waist size coupled with ample hips and “derriere” makes finding properly fitted pants really difficult.

This time of year, so many of us are focused on achieving our summer#bodygoals. But, very few of us actually consider how small changes in our wardrobe can positively impact our self-perception, self-awareness and even our self-esteem RIGHT NOW  … and maybe even for a lifetime.

In addition to shedding some extra pounds, maybe some of us should also consider kicking open that closet and getting rid of those items that no longer represent the person we want to be.

Now, that’s a goal I can commit to. Tell me in the comments if you’re ready too!

New Year’s resolutions you can feel good about

New Year’s resolutions you can feel good about

New Year’s resolutions you can feel good about

The season of the New Year’s resolution is here! During the week between Christmas and the first of January, we tend to make a bunch of promises to ourselves that include everything from losing weight to starting a business to finding true love.

If you ask me, this is the most wonderful time of the year. Everyone is so full of hope. There’s so much optimism. We can accomplish any and everything. We are unstoppable. And, it feels really good!

For so many of us – myself included – the feeling is usually fleeting.

Maybe the weight doesn’t fall off as quickly as you’d hoped. Or starting that new business is more complicated than you’d anticipated. And even Prince Charming is taking his sweet time finding you.

When we don’t get the results we want, in the timeframe we want them, we get discouraged. Once we start to feel discouragement, we become resigned to the idea that it really wasn’t for us, or our timing was off. Finally, hopelessness settles in and we simply give up. Sound familiar?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that we all have choices. We can choose to give up or we can choose to go on. Typically, we tend to get off track when we overcomplicate things. At least, that’s been the case for me. So, I’ve made a choice to simplify my wants.

Year after year, I’ve made a resolution to lose weight. And, year after year, I’ve disappointed myself. I’m not sure why weight loss has been so hard for me. Maybe it’s because the idea of losing weight feels so inflexible to me? It’s almost as if I don’t drop 20 pounds by the end of the year, I’m a complete failure. Forget about the fact that I managed to lose 15. It’s the last five that I didn’t lose that makes me feel inferior; like I didn’t meet my goal and therefore don’t deserve to celebrate what I have accomplished.

I know it sounds crazy, right? But that’s what we ladies tend to do to ourselves. We focus on the negative rather than the positive. We beat ourselves up for no good reason at all. But, this year, I’ve decided that I’m going to do things differently.

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

 

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

  • This year, I choose to be unapologetic about my likes and dislikes.
  • This year, I choose not to make excuses.
  • This year, I choose not to put myself in a box.
  • This year, I choose to be good to myself.

There’s nothing complicated about any of the choices I’m making and they’re all completely doable. And, the best part is, I’m the only person who gets to decide what each of them means to me. I’ve found that once you simplify things, life becomes better almost instantly.

So what about you? What choices will you be making to become a happier and healthier version of you in 2017? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

Learning to Embrace YOU™ (Your Own Uniqueness)

Learning to Embrace YOU™ (Your Own Uniqueness)

Learning to Embrace YOU™ (Your Own Uniqueness)

I’ve heard my personal style described as everything from conservative and refined to sometimes relaxed and effortless. The irony is; when asked, I really can’t tell you what my personal style is.  I just know what I like. And, I think that’s true for lots of people.

If there’s one thing all humans share, it’s that we like to look at pretty things. Even those people who claim they don’t know anything about what it takes to put together a great looking outfit can look at another person and tell almost instantly if the clothes they’re wearing look good on them.

Here’s the best thing about personal style. It can be whatever we want it to be. It doesn’t matter if it’s masculine or feminine; or natural or enhanced. It can even be refined or effortless. The point is: you are your style. It’s about self-expression, exploration and transformation. Most importantly, style is about understanding who you are and embracing it.

Believe it or not, picking clothes that make you feel more confident, more relaxed … more like you, isn’t difficult to do. The process always begins with one key question: What was the last thing you wore that made you feel really, REALLY great? The answer will get you that much closer to learning to Embrace YOU ™ (Your Own Uniqueness) and loving the way you look regardless of the situation.

To help you get started, I’ve put together this list of seven easy to follow guidelines to help you choose the right clothes for you every time. Download it here:

BONUS: Download my easy-to-follow guidelines for dressing better and feeling more confident in your clothes!

5 things you should do before your next photo shoot

5 things you should do before your next photo shoot

5 things you should do before your next photo shoot

Every time I see this photo, it drives me a little crazy. A few months ago, I was offered an amazing opportunity to work with Stacy Pierce Photography. She wanted a few lifestyle photos to add to her portfolio and I wanted more professional looking shots for some upcoming blog posts I had planned.

It was supposed to be a win-win!

I remember the photo shoot like it was yesterday. It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in springtime. The sun was shining, but it wasn’t too hot. The location – a tranquil, tree-filled park that seemed like it had been dropped smack-dab in the middle of a bustling town square – was nothing short of perfect. I was so excited.

I arrived with three outfits:

  • The one I’d chosen to wear to church services earlier in the day, and was still wearing.
  • The one that most represented the way I dress on a daily basis.
  • And, the one I’d bought at the last minute and neglected to try on beforehand. (I know, I deserve major side-eye for that one! The fit of the shirt was so bad that I won’t even post that photo).

Before I go any further, let me make one thing crystal clear: I love, love, love my photos! Stacy is an incredibly gifted photographer and she was so much fun to work with.

So what was the problem? In a word: me.

I had not planned properly for my photo shoot. So, only one of the three outfits that we shot that day – the one most representative of my everyday look – was actually appropriate for use on my blog. I had blown an awesome opportunity to get some professional photos and I felt awful about it.

image

Of the three looks I brought to my photo shoot, I felt like this one best represented what my blog is all about: super-stylish looks that are very easy to replicate.

When I look back on that day, I realize that I made some huge mistakes. Improper planning was just one of them. If you’re working to build a brand, regardless of whether its a style blog, consulting or business services, or basket weaving, then you should know that image is everything. And, it starts with the way that people view you.

I didn’t take the time to think through the impression that I wanted to leave with people. Believe it or not, your clothing choices can speak volumes about the type of person you are. I think fashion designer Miuccia Prada said it best, “Fashion is instant language.” Because the looks I chose were inconsistent, my message was unclear.

My greatest takeaway, and one to keep in mind for every photo shoot going forward, is to dress with intention. Your style of dress can be a powerful extension of your personal brand. It can either diminish or bolster your authority, your trustworthiness and even your authenticity in the eyes of the people you want to impress the most.

image

The church fit. I loved everything about this look, but it was way too specific for the purposes of my photo shoot. A pencil skirt in blue, pink, yellow or green would have given me the pop of color I was after, while helping me stay true to my mission of providing easy DIY style solutions.

My goal that day was to come away with photos that embodied the SisterLadyGirl promise of providing DIY personal image strategies for busy boss ladies. That’s why I chose the look featuring the jeans and the blazer. It’s stylish and very easy for anybody to replicate.

The truth is I let my excitement about the photo shoot get the best of me. It caused me to lose site of my end goal. To help you avoid the same mistakes I made and get picture perfect results, here are five things you should do before your next photo shoot.

  • Create a vision board: Having a visual representation of your style can be really powerful. You can include anything you want on it such as art, fashion photos, pictures of yourself, colors or just about anything that truly moves you. It might also be helpful to choose images that convey a mood or word, rather than an outfit you just want to copy (even though that’s fine too).
  • Have your makeup done by a professional: You’ve heard the saying about putting your best face forward? That’s never been more true than during a professional photo shoot. Lucky for me, the photographer had me covered on this one. But it wasn’t something I’d given any thought to. But I will from now on.
  • Have your hair done: Ditto on everything above, with the exception of having professional help. Not everyone needs it. The biggest thing here is to look like yourself. You certainly don’t want someone to tell you that they don’t recognize you in your pictures. Your trust factor will plummet. Where hair is concerned, I’ve always found that a little polish goes a long way.
  • Pay attention to the details: When people see your photos, they’re creating their own internal narrative about you. You can help them gain some additional insight into who you are, and in some cases, find common ground. Don’t overlook the potential that small things like jewelry or even nail color have to help you make a powerful connection.
  • Think through how you will use your photos: Are your photos for personal use or will they be used to build your brand? Your choices should be functional and well-suited to the situation. If you need to move things around, now’s the time to do that. Let the ideas percolate and stay open to the possibilities.

I’ve changed my mind about leggings

I’ve changed my mind about leggings

I’ve changed my mind about leggings

When I’m wrong, I’m not afraid to admit that I’m wrong. Leggings have never been a staple in my style arsenal. I’ve always thought that wearing them as pants was a little taboo. In my mind, they’re okay to wear around the house or to the gym. But to the mall? Or out on a date night? No way!

Recently, I’ve had to reconsider my position.

My friend Tia reached out to me to ask if I would feature her LuLaRoe leggings on the blog. I’m being honest when I say that I was more than a little hesitant. But, she’s an awesome person and an entrepreneur chasing her dreams. I couldn’t say no.

Full disclosure here. Tia offered to gift me a couple pair of leggings to try. I countered with an offer to pay for both. After some friendly haggling, we came to a compromise: I paid for one pair and she gifted the other pair to me.

After trying on my first pair, I have to say that I’m sooo glad I put my biases aside. I was pleasantly surprised by how soft and smooth the material felt against my legs. They didn’t feel at all binding or give me the sensation that I was wearing a slightly less uncomfortable body shaper. In a word, these leggings felt incredible! Now, I completely understand why LuLaRoe’s tagline is “Simply Comfortable.” It’s the perfect description.

If you haven’t tried the awesomeness that is a pair of LuLaRoe leggings, you should. The comfort and affordability was a total win-win for me. And, they’re also one of this fall’s hottest style trends, so your timing would be perfect!

To find a pair (or two) of leggings for you, check out Tia’s LuLaRoe Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LuLaRoeTiaGooding/members/

Right now, there’s over 1,800 members in the group, but I’m sure there’s always room for more. If leggings aren’t your thing, not to worry! Tia has plenty of other selections like dresses and shirts that you can choose from, too.

So, how do you feel about leggings? Love them or lose them? Let me know in the comments below!

img_0196img_0193img_0195

Camo chic

Camo chic

Camo chic

When I think about bold prints, most of the time, my thoughts run to leopard and occasionally floral patterns. But, lately, I’m really in love with camouflage.

It’s probably one of the most flexible prints in fashion right now. Like leopard, camouflage can act like a neutral. It’s strong enough to stand on its own, yet versatile enough to serve as an accent.

I don’t think many people think of camouflage as a feminine print.  But it is. If you want to add a bit more flair, you could spice things up by pairing it with a vibrant hue like yellow, red or blue.

I chose nude accessories for this simple camouflage t-shirt dress. I think it adds to the femininity factor.  Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.

image

imageimage

5 summer style tips to help beat back the heat

5 summer style tips to help beat back the heat

5 summer style tips to help beat back the heat

Baby, it’s hot outside!

No. Allow me to amend that because “hot” doesn’t even begin to describe it. I think the words “sweltering,” “oppressive” and maybe even “scorching” all come close.

But they still fall short of being truly descriptive of the heat we’ve had to endure this summer. We are in the middle of a bona-fide heat wave, folks! And, nobody – regardless of where they live – appears to be immune from it.

So, how do you stay stylish while beating back the heat? Here are five summer style tips for you to consider:

  1. Simplify your accessories: Statement pieces are not your friend during this time of year. So, bypass the chunky necklaces and wrist cuffs. Depending on the type of material they’re made of, heat can get trapped and make it even more uncomfortable if you’re outside for longer periods.
  2. Go sleeveless: Sleeveless shirts are perfectly acceptable in just about any situation, even in an office environment. However, if you’re not a fan of this look, you have options that could include tops with cap sleeves or one with a touch of detail or tasteful embellishment to increase the polish factor.
  3. Lighten things up: Perspiration is inevitable, but you can minimize the chances of having stains show through clothing by choosing lighter hues like white, tan and grey and fabrics such as cotton and linen that breathe.
  4. Choose a cardigan over a jacket: A simple cardigan is a great alternative to a jacket. Although they tend to be more casual and lightweight, they still offer a structured look that is similar to the standard jacket.
  5. Wear a dress: When in doubt, reach for your favorite wrap or shirtdress, both of which tend to be flattering on most body types. A nice fuss-free material like jersey will make getting dressed in the morning a no-brainer.

Do you have any other summer style tips you’d like to share? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

Summer style tipssummer style tipssummer style tipssummer style tips

3 shoe tricks you can use to take your outfit from boring to banging

3 shoe tricks you can use to take your outfit from boring to banging

3 shoe tricks you can use to take your outfit from boring to banging

What’s the one concern I hear most often from women when it comes to experimenting with style and fashion?

It’s the belief that they don’t have personal style.

Believe me when I tell you that this is soooo not true! Sure, it’s incredibly discouraging to stare into that closet full of clothes and still have absolutely nothing to wear. I feel you.

Fortunately, creating a killer ensemble isn’t all that difficult. In fact, to find inspiration, just look down.

That’s right, my burgeoning fashionista. The only thing you need to give even the most basic outfit a major facelift is a fabulous shoe.

Maybe you’re more comfortable in a sneaker or a flat? Or, you could be the kind of girl who likes her heels so high that they scrape the sky? It doesn’t really matter.

Personal style is about intuition.  And, nobody on the planet knows you better than you, right?

So, how do you go about picking the perfect shoe to elevate your outfit? Here are three tricks you can use to help:

1) Get Focused

Shoes to elevate your outfit

Ask yourself if your shoes are visually interesting enough to serve as the focal point of your outfit. If you’re working with an ensemble that’s a little short on optical elements such as patterns, colors and textures, consider footwear that will fit that interesting, bold or complex bill for you. Think leopard prints, textured leathers or metallics.

2) Play with Color 

Shoes to elevate your outfit

Will the shoes you select actually complement another element of your overall outfit? If you’re wearing a fairly monochromatic ensemble, for example, and you have a necklace with a pop of color, you may consider wearing a pair of shoes in a similar shade to add to the overall cohesiveness of your look.

3) Create Contrast

Shoes to elevate your outfit

Photo: Stacy Pierce Photography

One of the most popular, and frankly, most appealing examples of how to achieve contrast is to pair some killer stilettos with ripped boyfriend jeans. It’s simply fashion magic and one of my favorite looks. Bonus tip:  It’s super easy to replicate.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to trusting your gut and knowing what shoe will feel most comfortable to you. So, take a look at the shoes that you have in your closet. Think through which pairs will help you elevate your outfit, then strut your stuff, honey!

I’d love to know if you found these tricks helpful. Let me know in the comments below.