Mila Grigg, President of MODA Image Consulting, writes today about dressing to reflect your personal brand.
Are you a lifeless mannequin or a living, breathing being?
Each of us has a message that we portray to the world on a daily basis. You either control what the message is saying, or you allow the world around you to make assumptions about who you are and what you stand for. Within seconds, people can and will formulate opinions about who they believe you are. Everyone has a personal brand, whether you have consciously thought about it or not.
The heart and soul of personal branding is knowing who you are and what you stand for. Whether you are working in an office or working in your home, whether you are a wife, mother, or businesswoman, or all of the above, it is important to know what your image says about you. When you walk into your closet each morning, you are doing much more than simply getting dressed for the weather, you are creating an image that either represents who you are, or you are allowing your clothing and fashion to determine that for you.
How do we begin to establish our personal brand? Let’s take a look at a woman who is very clear about hers: Ivanka Trump. She is described as an “American wife, mother and entrepreneur.” Whether you see her at her at the park with her little one, at a work event or on vacation with her husband, she dresses in a way that represents all three of her key words. She respects her husband by having an image that says “beautiful and elegant and taken.” She dresses comfortably while toting around her child, yet does it fashionably and thoughtfully to represent one of her companies, which is her namesake fashion line. When you know your key words, dressing in a way that best represents YOU is easier.
What are the key words that you want people to associate with you? Intelligent, trustworthy, mother, wife, engaged, passionate, funny, approachable, vivacious? Remember, your clothes are always talking, even when you are silent.
I work with companies and individuals to help them develop and communicate their professional and personal brands. It’s my job to insure that a client’s style and image accurately reflect who they are or the company they own or work for. Understanding a client’s personality is key here. I’m shopping for and dressing a person, not a mannequin! Taking time to get to know your unique spirit and story helps me help you project an authentic image. You are what gives life to the clothes, not the other way around!
Some of my clients have the hardest job on the planet, motherhood. As a mom, too, I know that we can, at times, put ourselves last, especially in the image department. After the fourth trip to the park or the hundredth shirt we change into after being spit up on, it’s easy to think, “Nobody is going to see me today, so if I wear something that doesn’t fit or represent me, it won’t matter.” It does matter because YOU see yourself and this directly affects how you feel about yourself. Your image should inspire you and say, “I care about myself and I respect you.” If you look good, you feel good; if you feel good, you produce greater results. Your personal brand speaks to you, just like it speaks to others.
We need to know ourselves and what we represent. So many people are walking around like those lifeless mannequins, eager to simply look like everyone else, but lost without a personal or professional brand that they, themselves, have defined. Fashion is so much more than fit, style and color. Your image tells your story, before you’ve ever had a chance to say anything at all. Do you know what your personal brand is saying?
Mila Grigg is President of MODA Image Consulting. She works with men, women, small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, firms of all types and associations across the country, helping each to identify a personal and professional brand through their image. Please contact her for any individual questions, to set up an initial, complimentary image, wardrobe and style consultation or to inquire about a speaking engagement. www.ModaImageConsulting.com
Mila is hosting a Fashion Event on November 11th at Dillard’s. For details, click here.