Designing Brand You, The First Step

August 13, 2018

I wanted to start today by giving a shout out to our own Lana Jones Gould (second from the left below) along with the other 2018 Women of Influence nominees that were honored last Thursday evening in front of 700 peers, community leaders, friends, and families.   


Each honoree had the opportunity to give a short speech and I have to tell you that each of these amazing women taught me something new and inspired me to do and give more. Thank you!

As I mentioned a little bit last week, we have an upcoming School of Styling event called Designing Brand You.   As we continue to evolve as women, our personal style is always a work in process.

And the reality is that our personal brand and style takes work.   Only a handful of people that I know have an innate sense of style that seems to naturally ooze out of them. For the rest of us (including me), we learn how to create wardrobes that reflect who we are and want to become.   



I think I have told you before that I walked into K. Renee about 17 years ago when I decided that my husband was not going to be more stylish than I was...and I have been learning about and honing my personal brand ever since!   

So I actually have some homework for those of you who want to attend our seminar and even for those of you who can’t make it.   

Before we can design brand you, we need to define your style.   You might be saying to yourself “I don’t really have a style”.  Ahh, but you do. It just might not be strongly apparent and that is what we aim to dig into today.


You can right-click on the image above to download the worksheet and print...but in the meantime, I am going to go over all the easy to answer questions and tell you how I might answer so you have an example to work from for yourself.   



First, we assess.   

How do you feel when you are wearing something that you really love?




On the worksheet, we provided some words that might come to mind that you can just circle as well as space to create your own description.   



My answer:   Confident, Calm, Knowledgeable, Energetic, Attractive (and sometimes Sassy.)



And then you need to think about how you feel when you are wearing something that you don’t love or doesn’t fit well.




Ugg.    Well, that is not one of the word choices on the worksheet but it was certainly the first thing that came to my mind.  



My answer:  When I don’t feel good in something I am wearing, I feel schlumpy, old, not myself, and awkward.



Way back when my husband threw me a surprise 40th birthday party.   At the time, I was self-employed and worked out of my house.   I didn’t prioritize myself or my wardrobe.  I still remember what I wore that night when I walked into a room of friends and family...grey pants and some awful grey sweater (blah, boring, awkward, feeling older than I was) and I remember feeling embarrassed.  Like I got caught with my shorts down.    

I hadn’t yet found the magic of K. Renee at that pivotal moment in my life. But shortly after that event, I did.   And I can tell you for a fact that I am more comfortable and confident in my skin today than I was back then and I rarely walk into any room feeling like I haven't put my best foot forward.



The second task we have is defining our style is to understand our personal Do’s & Don’ts.



Write down all the things that you don’t like to wear and don’t think fits your personal style.


My answer: Anything too feminine (ruffles, lace, innocent); things that are dainty, floral patterns, flats (shoes), throw-away clothes (the ones that are so cheap they fall apart after they are worn a few times.)


And then write down all the things you do like to wear and consider to be your style.




How I answered this question 17 years ago as opposed to today have changed greatly.  Years ago, I would NEVER have written down suits and jackets...well, that’s because I wore them in a boring way. Today, it is one of my favorite looks.


You see, as our style continues to develop as we become a bit more open to trying out different silhouettes and finding the things that truly make us feel like the special people we are inside and out. Today, the things I love to wear are…


My answer: Tailored jackets, interesting suits, silk tunics, wide-leg pants, leather leggings, boots, comfortable heels, chunky jewelry, forward but classically cut dresses and coats, black, cream, red and bold patterns.




The next question is all about lifestyle.




Make note of all the important activities that compose your lives.  



My answer: I spend a lot of time at work (business casual) and when I don’t work...homebody, engaging in social activities such as going out to dinner with friends, special events and traveling. All the clothes that I invest in revolve around meeting these needs.




It’s also insightful to think about where we get our inspiration.  Where do I get mine?   




My answer: Honestly, the person who inspires me the most is my business partner, Kelli Schulz.    I love seeing how she pairs clothing in unusual ways and is fearless about reinventing items so that they complement her body type.    I am constantly saying to myself "why didn't I think of that?" The other person that always comes to mind is Jackie Kennedy and more recently our new Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle. Umm. Wow.   




And then I want each of you to put your personal style into words.  There are no right and wrong answers here, just let it flow.  






My answer: Classic with an edge, sophisticated and fun.    I might also use words like well-made, bold, and sassy.




And finally, choose the words that describe what you want your style to say about WHO you are!



Because no matter how you slice it, what we wear sends a loud and clear message about what we want others to know or feel about us.

I’ve thought about this a lot and I think I dress to tell people that I am...



Independent, Interesting and Knowledgeable.  



This has served me well so far but I also know that it might not make me as approachable as I would like to be. And as I continue to design and develop my own personal style, I still have work to do!   Don’t we always?

I asked some of my team to complete this worksheet and I learned a lot about each of them.   They answered this question differently than me. Here are a few of their answers...



1) Approachable, stylish, true to myself

2) A senior not afraid of fashion or “dressing too young”

3) Fun, exciting, extra, determined



This little exercise is meant to be fun, slightly revealing and insightful.   It will also help you the next time you walk into our clothing boutique bringing with you a greater sense of your current closet and your own personal style.

If you are coming to our School of Styling workshop on Thursday, August 23rd please bring your completed worksheet.   It will give us a great place to start as we begin the process of designing the 2018/2019 brand YOU.

Click here to register for Designing Brand You
Click here to download the printable worksheet

Have a great week,