I had the recent pleasure of teaching a personal image masterclass to a group of amazing female entrepreneurs. I talked about some simple actions they could take to rock their personal style with clarity and confidence on a consistent basis.
I also took a few moments to get totally transparent by sharing my own story about how my style has evolved over the years, some of the style fails I’ve experienced and what I did to overcome them.
I wasn’t even aware of it back then, but I was learning some important lessons about how to develop signature style.
I started by incorporating things into my wardrobe that really resonated with me and made me feel confident and comfortable.
And, as I was teaching the class, I realized something that I’d been overlooking for years.
Dressing well doesn’t happen overnight.
When I began my career, I literally had no idea how important a role personal appearance would play in my ability to advance professionally and ultimately make more money. I didn’t realize then that for many people — including my supervisor and coworkers — appearance is equivalent to how well you perform.
Dressing well sends the message that you care and you’re willing to make the effort. When you don’t dress in a way that says you’re willing to make the effort, well … I think you see where I’m going here.
In the early days of my career, dressing well wasn’t just a matter of knowing how to do it. The better question for me was: Could I do it? I didn’t have the money. I didn’t have the time. And, I didn’t have the patience.
I had to make due with what I had. And, that meant getting creative and being more mindful about what I was putting on my body. Was the quality of the piece I was investing in built to last? How many times could I wear the same pair of pants in one week without people noticing?
I had to get intentional about the choices I was making.
Think of it this way: When was the last time you walked into the grocery store just to look around? If you’re anything like me, then the answer is probably never.
Shopping with specifics in mind saves time, money and frustration. Which is why I’ve adapted that same logic when I shop for clothing.
Developing personal style doesn’t have to be hard
Figuring out how you want to show up in the world can feel really intimidating. Especially when you don’t really know where to start. Whether you’ve admitted it to yourself or not, choosing what to wear is a very emotional experience.
If you’ve ever had to wonder or even ask someone out loud: “How do I look?” then you know what I’m talking about. Our emotions are like the tide … sometime they’re very high and other times, they’re extremely low. But there’s a way to get off the roller coaster.
You need a game plan
Getting clear on your personal style and creating a unique visual identity that makes you feel confident and comfortable really encompasses three qualities: acceptance, intention and affirmation.
Without them, we start developing a long list of untruths like personal style and image isn’t worth our time or attention, or we don’t have the skills to create a visual identity we love, or we won’t be able to find the right clothing to make us feel empowered and positive.
Your style starts with Y-O-U (Your Own Uniqueness)
As women, we have a tendency to constantly reach outside of ourselves to see how we fit in the world instead of looking inside to figure out how we can dress our bodies based on what we like or dislike. The problem isn’t how your body looks in the clothes, it’s that the clothes may not be right for who you are and what you represent.
Understanding your own uniqueness begins when you get crystal clear about who you are.
So, how do you want to show up in the world?
The clothing we choose to put on our backs is an incredibly accurate indicator of what tide is rolling in. Understanding which wave you’re on is invaluable for getting clear and gaining confidence in your personal style.
Decide then commit to it.
When you look in the mirror every morning, how do you feel about what you see? Does negative self-talk start to consume your thoughts or do you feel like you just want to strut (a la John Travolta in that white suit in Saturday night fever)?
Determine how you want to feel, then build your wardrobe around that. It really is that simple. If you remember nothing else, remember this: intention leads to clarity. And it makes getting dressed in the morning so much more blissful.
Want to get started on your journey? Download my free email course Dressing with Intention.
I created it to help you find your personal image sweet spot. It’s that magical place between dressing in a way that feels true to you AND creates a remarkable first impression. Believe me … it does exist and I’m giving you the roadmap to get there. Fo’ FREE!
For five days, you’ll get a short email lesson from me teaching you how to create your own personalized plan for building a wardrobe that reflects your personal style on your own terms.
Even though you can’t control the fact that people will judge you, you can control their first impressions of you. Download Dressing with the Intention now.