Whether you choose to like it or not, appearance is a big part of one’s personal brand. It is understandable that some women – especially the ones trying on the Feminist Hat for size – strongly believe the we should not be judged by what we wear. However, this type of protest should be reserved for a different space. When you are attempting to brand yourself as a strong and intelligent woman who posses the fluidity to move with ease in a variety of settings and gain mass appeal in a global market, your appearance matters. If you’re trying to get a job, move up in your career or start a revolution of your own, the way you dress is how you present yourself to the world.
“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the WOMAN”
– Coco Chanel –
.Understand Industry Fashion Language.
To dress well, one needs to be aware what “dressing well” is, as well as know how to interpret it in the society they’re in. Every lifestyle and industry has a fashion language you need to understand. When branding yourself for a particular job or career choice, you should research the fashion language of that particular industry and understand what is expected. For example, when interviewing for or having a meeting within the banking/financial industry, you would not walk in there sporting a bright red suit. However, if you’re interviewing for a position in the creative industry such as fashion designer, PR assistant or graphic designer at a start up, it is advisable that you show some personal style in your business attire. Research is your friend. Learn to dress the part.
.Edit Wardrobe Regularly.
Every season you should edit your wardrobe. Be sure you have all of the essentials and be sure they’re in good condition to power through a new season. Put some thought into your shopping process and spend time building your look. The worse thing you can do is shop impulsively or do last minute shopping. I myself have been guilty of the last minute shopping whereby I would need a particular staple item and either do not have it on hand or the one I have is no longer wholesome. So I head out to the store and grab the first one I find. Shopping like this is a surefire way to waste money.
When editing or rebuilding your wardrobe, buy pieces that you can reuse and restyle into a number of outfits for your lifestyle. Near the end of every season do a wardrobe edit and make a list of things you need to buy or need to get rid of. When you create that shopping list you can spend time browsing online or in-stores for what you want without over spending.
.Invest in Timeless Pieces.
A strong wardrobe is an investment! Repeat this: A strong wardrobe is an INVESTMENT! With the hype of fast fashion at popular stores like H&M, it is particularly tempting to buy cheap clothing, shoes and accessories to fill your wardrobe. Cheap clothing are not well made clothing so you risk ill-fitting clothing as well as items that would fall apart on you within a few washes. Instead, invest in clothing that would last longer which in turn would save you money. As with everything else in life, have a plan for your clothing. Set a budget and buy the things that you would need to last you as long as possible. Some items you should NOT go cheap on: blazers, suits, good jeans, strong shoes (black pumps), statement coats, watches and jewelry.
A little side note, investing in good jewelry can come in handy some day as you may be able to use the money you can get from selling investment pieces to fund projects or emergency situations.
.Have a Tailor on hand.
Well tailored clothing is essential regardless of your personal style. It is imperative to understand that tailoring is the secret of a well-dressed woman. Unlike in the 18th century, women are not generally having all of their garments made to measure by a personal tailor or seamstress. With the emergence of ready-to-wear clothing for the general public in the late 19th – early 20th century, quick and easy access clothing became readily available for women to purchase off the rack. However, we all know that read-to-wear is not always ‘ready’ with loose handles here, too long hems there etc. When you purchase clothing that does not fully compliment your body well, work with a tailor in your neighborhood to get the right fit. If tailoring is too expensive, your friendly neighborhood dry cleaner can work on simple things like hemming and sleeve alterations.
.Wear the clothes, Don’t let the clothes wear You.
Not every beautiful piece of clothing you like will suit you. It may not represent you as a person, or it just not be right for your body type. So the first thing you need to understand is “what is your personal style?” and the second is “what type of clothing does not suit my body type?” After taking these two questions into consideration, let the shopping commence! Find clothing that you are able to carry with confidence, that would make you feel great as a woman and would allow you to demand respect as you step into a room. Many people fail to realize clothing is not just items strewn together to cover the body. Clothing is an extension of you as a person, and your style tells a story before you even open your mouth to introduce yourself.