Style & Beauty

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.  

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Bag Lady

Bag Lady

Bag Lady

With the right accessories, even the most basic outfit can appear AH-mazing! One of the easiest ways to update your look in an instant is to add a handbag. The type of bag you carry is a great indicator of personal style. So, if you’ve always wanted to make a statement without saying a word, this may be the solution you’ve been waiting for.

Lately, I’ve been slightly obsessed with #KateSpade. I find these bags to be durable, modern and very well structured. They’re perfect for ladies like me who require a lot from their bag. It’s got to be flexible enough to go wherever I go, large enough to carry all of my essentials and stylish enough to anchor my outfit.

imageIf trendy and classic were to get married and have a bag baby, I’m pretty sure it would look just like a Kate Spade! Who knows how long this obsession will last? I’m a Scorpio, after all, and if there’s one thing we love, it’s change. For the immediate future, though, I think I’ll stick with Kate. I feel like she and I are going to be great friends.

Get to know your bag styles

 

Satchels have flat, rigid bottoms and are typically square or rectangular in shape.

Satchels have flat, rigid bottoms and are typically square or rectangular.

Shoulder bags have a single or double straps that are worn over the shoulder; hence the name.

Shoulder bags have a single or double strap that is worn over the shoulder.

The reinforced leather of Structured bags reinsures it will hold its shape.

The reinforced leather of Structured bags reinsures it will hold its shape.

Be a stylish standout

Be a stylish standout

Be a stylish standout

Some have described my style as “simple savvy sophistication.” I absolutely LOVE that characterization because if there’s one thing I’m not, it’s fussy. Looks that are effortless really resonate with me. And, when I’m searching for inspiration, I want to see outfits I can actually envision myself wearing.

A favorite pastime for me is scouring Pinterest and Instagram for looks that move me. Too often, I come up short because many of the styles I see are so “specific” to a particular person. It makes me feel as though I’m “copying” them, or I have a hard time imagining how to incorporate the pieces they’re wearing into my own wardrobe.

While I’m a big proponent of signature style, it has to look and feel authentic. That’s what the SisterLadyGirl blog is all about; showing grown, classy and sassy ladies that being a stylish standout doesn’t have to be complicated.

Recently, one of my blog’s readers, Andresea Jackson over at More than a Mom, sent in a photo showing me how she replicated some of the looks I’d posted previously. Even though she was inspired by my style, the looks she created were all her own.  I think she nailed it! Tell me in the comments below if you agree. And, while you’re at it, I’d love to hear about the kinds of looks that inspire you! Maybe I’ll even style a few of your favorites. *wink*

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PHOTO CREDIT: STACY PIERCE PHOTOGRAPHY

 

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Never sacrifice style for comfort again

Never sacrifice style for comfort again

Never sacrifice style for comfort again

Contrary to popular belief, dressing comfortably does not equate to dressing shabbily. In fact, the road between shabby and chic is paved with simplicity. It took a while for me to realize it, but looks that are simultaneously effortless yet elegant are always on trend. Unfortunately, when I was younger, my concern for what other people considered stylish drove me to make some pretty questionable fashion choices. Remember hammer pants? Over time I’ve learned that style and comfort can coexist. And, the secret to finding that balance successfully is keeping things simple. Because of my tendency to gravitate toward neutral and monochromatic hues, I was able to create an easy, uniform look with these similarly colored jean separates. So, what do you think? Is simplicity the key to a chic, comfortable look? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.

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Love what you do. Do what you love.

Love what you do. Do what you love.

Love what you do. Do what you love.

When I was a little girl, I loved to play dress-up. Specifically, I loved pretending that I was an Egyptian queen, dressed in fine silks, rings of gold on each finger with diamonds the size of marbles hanging from my neck. I know … what a sight to see, right? Fortunately, as I matured, so did my sense of style.

Today, I still love getting dressed up. As a personal style blogger, it sort of comes with the territory. But, what’s really cool about me now, versus me back then is that I’m not pretending to be something or someone else anymore.

Evolution is a beautiful thing!

And, it’s what I’m focused on in 2016. In fact, I am committed to relentlessly pursuing it! This year is all about taking chances and getting outside of my comfort zone. It’s about stepping up to the plate and taking a mighty swing.

Having said all that, I want to share my most recent project with you; my first-ever video Look Book!

Lately, I’ve received a lot of feedback from ladies looking for personal style solutions that are not only comfortable, but replicable! Honestly, how many fashion/style bloggers have you seen on a social media site whose style you LOVE, but can’t quite figure out how to incorporate the look into your own wardrobe? I’m also hearing from lots of ladies between the ages of 35 to 55 years old who want help creating ahhhmazing, yet age-appropriate styles.

These are just a few of the issues I plan to address in the videos. I hope you’ll take a look and share your thoughts with me. More importantly, I hope you’ll tell me what looks you’re interested in seeing. Maybe you have a gala to attend? Or, perhaps you’re wondering what to wear to your upcoming brunch with the girls? Well, tell me all about it. I’d love to help!

Meanwhile, here’s the video. I hope you like it!

 

Make color a cornerstone of your personal style

Make color a cornerstone of your personal style

Make color a cornerstone of your personal style

When I’m styling an outfit, color isn’t something that’s normally at the top of my list of considerations. Typically, I’m drawn to blacks and whites or nudes and olives. These are all colors that I consider to be “foundational” and form the basis for what I ultimately build my outfit around. While I was organizing my closet recently, I uncovered this red satin trench coat. Perfect timing because I had promised myself that I would make a more conscious effort to incorporate color this year. No matter the season, trench coats are always on trend. They’re a classic addition to any wardrobe, regardless of your personal style sensibilities. Even though this one is red, it’s just as versatile as its tan or black counterparts. In fact, if you were to wear this on top of a black and white horizontally striped shirt, a pair of ripped boyfriend jeans (cuffed at the ankle) and some leopard pumps, you’d have the perfect casual dinner or date night look. What do you think about my attempt to get outside of my style comfort zone? Would you wear this look? Let me know what you think in the comments.

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The best way to wear wide leg pants

The best way to wear wide leg pants

The best way to wear wide leg pants

If there was a category on this blog entitled, “If you never try, you’ll never know,” this post would be the perfect entry. For the longest time, I avoided wearing wide leg pants. I’d tried them in the past and was less than impressed with the results. I thought they looked great on other (taller) people, but I didn’t quite “get” how to create a flattering silhouette for a curvy (slightly shorter) body type like mine. Then, one day, on a random jaunt to Nordstrom Rack, I discovered the secret to pulling off the look: I went up by one size. A quick Google search on the term “wide leg pants” will reveal a bevy of photos featuring leggy, model-thin women wearing the trend flawlessly. Since I’m wider through the hip and thigh area, I had to make certain accommodations to achieve the look I wanted. After pairing these comfy beauties with a turtleneck and boots, I have to admit that this time, I was pretty pleased with the result. What about you? What advice would you give for pulling off a trend with confidence? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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The perfect arm candy

The perfect arm candy

The perfect arm candy

I credit my grandmother-in-law, Minnie, for instilling in me a longtime love of bangles and bracelets. The wrist-full of elegantly minimalist gold bangles she always wore is one of the things I remember most fondly about her. They were her signature; perfectly accessorized for whatever outfit she happened to be wearing. And, they’ve become a style staple for me in the years since. No matter my mood – reserved, sexy, mysterious, whatever – bangles are the perfect accessory for expressing my individuality. Now that the holidays are right around the corner, they’re always a great gift idea, too (not so subtle *hint* to the hubby). One of my all-time favorite bangle style hacks is stacking.

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It’s an art form and frankly, it’s one that I’m still learning to master. But, I’m having fun doing it. Scroll down to see some of my favorite ways to wear my arm candy then tell me what you think in the comments.

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Style Tip: Layer to look slimmer in an instant

Style Tip: Layer to look slimmer in an instant

Style Tip: Layer to look slimmer in an instant

If you’re anything like me, getting to the gym on a regular basis can be a little … well … tricky. Until I actually lose that final 10 … 20 … okay 30 extra pounds, I have to figure out ways to simply look like I have. And, it’s entirely possible with layering, an easy styling trick that anyone can pull off. Here, I’m wearing a long, sleeveless coat on top of a more form-fitted knit dress. Since my body is larger on the bottom than it is on the top, I always think proportionally, especially when it comes to layering. The loose, flowing shape of the coat versus the closer fit of the dress adds some visual balance. At the same time, it gives me coverage around the hip area, which is another easy trick to make me look slimmer in an instant. Lastly, I chose a palette of related colors to create a more monochrome look, which helps elongate my body and again make me appear leaner. What about you? Do you have any tips and tricks for slenderizing? Tell me in the comments below.

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The one accessory that looks great on everyone

The one accessory that looks great on everyone

The one accessory that looks great on everyone

Fashion icon Coco Chanel once said, “A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls.” I suspect its because she knew that they’re the one and only piece of jewelry that looks great on everyone. Even though Ms. Coco may have uttered these famous words more than 80 years ago, don’t let the pre-21st Century date fool you. These are not your grandmother’s jewels. I chose to accessorize this outfit with the more traditional double strand, but that’s the cool thing about fashion. There are no rules. And, in the spirit of the woman … the anarchist … the legend whose name has become synonymous with class and style, the more pearls, the better. What about you? What’s your favorite way to wear your pearls? Tell me in the comments below.imageimageimageimageimage