WEARING YOUR BRAND
Making Yourself Memorable
Making yourself memorable in today's crowded marketplace 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 that 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 hardness 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 personalize 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 tietac 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
~ 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.
You may be surprised by what you will find as you look through your closets and drawers. The following jewelry designs are samples of my personalized statements
of style. Although I'm not selling jewelry, wearing one of my own designs is often
a conversational opening and it affords me the opportunity to demonstrate the
design aesthetic I bring to a client's project. I'll let you guess which one is the
logical choice for me to wear when broadcasting my corporate brand, as opposed to representing the Southwest or promoting a story about Hawai`i.
What can you wear to highlight your personality and style?
Is there anything you can wear or carry that
demonstrates your particular talents?
To strengthen your wordsmithing skills, visit Jeanne's blog:
Copyright 2015 @ Imaginings. All rights reserved.
Copyright 2015 @ Imaginings. All rights reserved.