Develop a Signature Style to Meet Your Goals

Q: Would you share some tips for men who want to express what you call “your brand at a glance?”

 

 

A: I’m so glad you asked. First, think about what you want your appearance to express. Research proves that 65 percent of all communication is visual. What are your clothes saying about your personal brand? Developing your signature style requires knowing who you are and what you want others to note about you before you open your mouth.

Here are some tips for women and men: the fit of your clothes will always be No. 1 in my book—regardless of the cost of the item. It is vital that the clothing be tailored to your body, sleeves perfectly hemmed, and the break in your trousers just so. There should be no pulling and tugging at your waist or buttons. Pay attention to proportion – know your body shape and what length of jacket flatters your unique shape.

The cut of each garment should flatter your body shape. For example, wide hips give you the opportunity to put more emphasis on your upper body. Men can widen the lapels; women can add button detailing on jackets or punch up and visually add width with a scarf.

Know how color interacts with your skin tone, especially near your face. Men should pay attention to the color of their shirts, ties, and pocket squares. Women should do the same with collars, jewelry, and scarves. Know what certain colors communicate to others:

  • Red: Action/Angry/Passionate
  • Purple: Creative/Imaginative
  • Blue: Trust/Loyalty/Integrity
  • Green: Balanced/Self-Reliant

Don’t forget the details:

  • Polished and cared-for shoes, leather purse or briefcase.
  • Updated and flattering eye wear.
  • Watches or jewelry that go with the mood of your outfit.
  • Grooming must be top notch, and watch out for overly aggressive scents.
  • Manners and etiquette often have room for improvement; brush up on yours and avoid pointing out others’ faux pas.

Body Language: If you have ever received mixed messages when meeting someone new, it was likely because of a visual mismatch between their body language and facial expressions. Are you dressed confidently, but your stance, handshake, and eye contact are weak? Are you a friendly, open person, but your body language is turning people off before you can share who you are? Do you stand or sit with your arms crossed over your chest? OK, maybe you are always cold, but break that habit. Others may be reading it as either you don’t believe what they are saying, you are judging them, or you are not open-minded. Check your posture too because your clothes will always hang better if you don’t slouch. Good posture communicates confidence. Be thoughtful about how to make others comfortable with you so that they respond as you want them to. Appropriate body language will set you apart from the crowd — as a leader and not one of the sheep. How do you do that?

Utilize an unexpected mix of the classics; use color and layering to show that you are not a rookie but an experienced problem solver. Be mindful of texture, print, and shine as you build your wardrobe. Most people do not go that extra mile to achieve their signature style. Instead, they play it safe, dressing exactly like everyone else. Of course, most men and women need support and direction to pull it off successfully. That is why an image consultant needs to be on your speed dial. Don’t lose an opportunity by blending in with the crowd. Jot down three to five “style words” that you want others to know about you at a glance. For example — polished, knowledgeable, fun, detail-oriented, outgoing, chic, eclectic, classic, sharp, risk-taker, etc. Give some thought to how your clothing choices can visually communicate those style words. Communicating your signature style is about using the tools of color, fabric, cuts, layering, mixing, and matching to create your unique image. This isn’t easy. Since few people are successful at everything, getting help and support will ensure that you invest wisely in your wardrobe. Your image is your brand; nurture and protect it. You will find that it will pay dividends in personal confidence, increased opportunities, deeper relationships, and goals met or exceeded.

ABOUT TRACI MCBRIDE: TRACI IS THE WARDROBE STYLIST AT TEEMCBEE IMAGE CONSULTING. SUBSCRIBE TO HER NEWSLETTER, SCHEDULE A STYLE STRATEGY CALL, OR REQUEST TEE SPEAKS TO INFUSE YOUR ORGANIZATION WITH PASSION AND STYLE.

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