WEARING YOUR BRAND
Making Yourself Memorable
Making yourself memorable in today's crowded market place is one of the essential goals of any executive. Whether you are seeking to inject dynamism into your job search, or are part of a re-energizing commercial or non-profit entity, I'd like to suggest you raise the bar on your physical appearance--at least in settings related to your professional identity.
I don't mean you should go out and buy a blazer that is color-matched to a corporate logo. Of course, if your organization has made such an investment, management can consider appropriate ways for team members to personalize their appearance. Today I am suggesting you examine how your choices in clothing and accessories can help distinguish you from other professionals in a room--who may be "taking center stage" before or after you.
Exploring established corporate colors, or choosing a distinct personal color palette, may be a simple foundation on which to structure your professional "look." For this website, and other promotional venues for Imaginings, I have focused on shades of blue and gold, with accents of deep plum. That doesn't mean these are the only colors I wear for business, but I will usually incorporate a couple of them when dressing for a business meeting. With variations in perceptions of color [see the page Plays on Color] and the effect of layering fabrics and other materials, I try to use some gradient colors to enhance the blending of shades and tones.
Today most designers veer away from "matchy-match" elements. However, using harmonizing separate components produces a synchronicity that promotes overall impact. For instance, in the ebony and amber necklace shown below, there is a balance within the shades and tones of brown. Further, despite the hard-ness of sterling silver, the detailed wood carving and warmth of the amber offer a sense of harmony with nature. This is not to say such a piece can only be worn with a peasant skirt and sandals. Combined with straight, modern lines in your suit, shoes, handbag and briefcase, this jewelry would soften and person-alize an otherwise typical twenty-first century business look.
Although women have a broader array of choices in apparel than men in most professional fields, there are several ways in which a man can distinguish himself in appearance. Before investing in upgrading your wardrobe, it might be useful to buy a men's magazine to see what styles, textures and colors are being promoted. Even if you do not embrace every element, you can demonstrate your interpretation of modernity--beginning with a moderately fashionable haircut. While wild prints are not appropriate for most professional positions, a thin diagonal stripe on a tie with a light colored shirt, or a patterned tie on a plain colored shirt can provide an expression of coordinated color--especially if the choices enhance your eyes
and/or skin tone.
Regardless of whether you are a man or woman, wearing some form of your organizations logo will gladden the heart of most bosses, and it proclaims your company affiliation at professional events. To catch the eye of specific categories of people, consider incorporating recognizable insignia into your wardrobe--such as a class ring, pin or tie tac from a distinguished society, fraternal organization
or notable school. Sometimes a local accent is useful in establishing your connection to the community. Here in the American Southwest, both men and women enjoy wearing Native American jewelry, and often decorate their work areas with other arts of the region.
Finally, there is the issue of suitability. If your company is having a picnic, it would not be appropriate to show up in a suit--especially if you are currently working in the shipping department. Like most of the issues we have explored, launch your self-renewal by:
~ Beginning with the end in your mind's eye--What do you want to project through your appearance?
~ Doing your homework--What style elements reflect your industry? How can you personalize them to reflect your personal style?
~ Evaluating what you already own before purchasing new items, especially if you are making a shift in your career. Lay out potential combinations of clothing and accessories on a plain background. If there are gaps in your wardrobe, consider whether two new shirts, some accessories, or trip to a seamstress will generate enough outfits for upcoming interviews and the first days of employment.
How can you highlight your personality and style?
Is there anything you can wear or carry that
demonstrates your particular talents?
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