Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Picking Your Professional Style

When I first began my career, and I had spent little time around women who had money to spend on their wardrobes, I thought you really couldn't tell the difference between designer labels and regular clothes from the run-of-the-mill department stores. I bought the belief that cost didn't influence anything in terms of fabrics, etc. Then I worked with this woman who wore high-end designer suites. I quickly noticed a huge difference between my cute, little Limited skirts and blouses and her clothes. People eschew designers and say it makes no difference, but I always joke and say throw that little Wal-mart blouse in the washer and see what happens. Can we say dish rag now?

Your personal style and your choice of designers makes a difference and influences your image. It's funny to me that the men in my life make comments more than the women. I never tied the idea of "sexy, classy" with where I shopped. But if you're trying to project an image, you need to first decide what image to project and then find a designer that suits you.

When I first left corporate in 2006, I promptly decided that my neat line of beautifully tailored suits needed to find a new home at Goodwill. I didn't want to project a staid, conservative corporate image anymore. So toss I did the suits. I had always loved the fun, sexy and flirty label of INC at Macy's, but over time I found that INC often stretched the "risk" to past what a woman my age with my figure would feel comfortable wearing, which doesn't suggest I quit buying INC; I just moved past it. I found White House Black Market suited my style and fit my age and figure. I wanted something that said I was fun, sexy and colorful without taking it to a point that it would be construed as just "too much." As a publisher, I considered myself an artist, but also I am a businesswoman. I want to project these concepts to my "audience" or prospective clients.

Your image matters. And back to the idea that there is a difference in quality. Once you have developed an "eye" for style and quality, you do notice the difference. To project an image of success you cannot invest in Wal-mart clothes and expect to be thought of as successful. Those of us who know the difference can tell where you shop. Now I'm not superficial to suggest that you "have" to have designer labels. I'm only saying watch your image. What does it say about you? Does it say what you want it to say?

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