August 27, 2018
Last week, Lana Jones-Gould and I led our fifth school of styling workshop: Designing Brand You. We had a great group of some very stylish women who didn't need any help from us at all!
Lana and I are developing a corporate workshop that we can bring into the workplace as a training tool, so it was great to be able to present to a group of familiar faces! Thank you!
My passion for style has been always been about how powerfully and positively it can affect our careers and everyday life. As a matter of fact, in the early days of my first career as a writer, producer, and director I had the opportunity to create two corporate video training programs; Professional Presence and Impressions Count and So Do You.
So where do we start? On the common ground that Impressions Matter. We all know it. Many of us are Moms and have most certainly asked the question of our daughter... “Are you going to wear that?”
Why do we care so much? Because we know that what our daughters (and sons) choose to wear, can create an impression that they don't intend and, even scarier, create an expectation.
And beyond the possible negative impressions that we can make through what we choose to wear, the fact is that when we look good, we feel good. That is worth saying again... when we look good, we feel good!
A few facts to support these simple claims...
The first 7 seconds of any interaction with a new person or client is the most important. They don’t know us…and in those brief moments, they are deciding something about who we are.
Since our personal style is the most dominant part of our visual brand statement, it's an important tool. And my guess is not one of us wants to make the bold statement of 'I’m average.'
To speak in lawyer language, it is preliminary evidence of our credibility, personality, and qualifications.
Another interesting fact... In less than 3 minutes, a new person or client has already decided who and what you are. First by your appearance (87%), second your body language (8%), and then your verbal communication (5%). Yet, it takes another 20 times meeting that same person to change that original perception. So the value of our style is essential.
And while the value of our style is important for our personal brand it is also an important way to fuel happiness and self-confidence.
When we look good, we feel good.
In a lovely book I found, "Mind What You Wear" the author shares a story about 'Meg' and how a hat changed her life.
One day Meg decided to purchase a new hat (daring for her) which in turn started a whole chain of transformational events without her even knowing it. Meg walked with more confidence. Then, feeling more confident, she held her head a little higher.
With this slight new confidence, she began noticing the positive effects she was having on people around her who viewed her as someone who was outgoing, confident, and more positive. The hat didn't give her confidence it was merely a catalyst.
Style is merely a catalyst for your personal brand. It's important to show people what we want them to know about us instantly. We actively communicate by how we choose to dress. (Think about those two girls in the short shorts. Every Mom's nightmare and reality.)
So Lana and I shared a few of our style strategies for putting your best foot forward.
First, make it memorable.
Okay, so not like the woman in pink. LOL. A single item or trendy top shouldn't be what is memorable, rather it's important to wear our clothes in a memorable way. There is no excuse for boring and forgettable but you don't need to go over the top to get noticed. There is always a lot of room for personalization which is what we will get to next.
The most important way to create memorable outfits is to make sure you have built your wardrobe essentials. The items that you will go to over and over and mix them up in dozens of ways.
I would be lost without any one of these items and they help me create an endless array of memorable outfits. My favorites? Ivory tank tops, black jackets, white shirtings, leather leggings and go-to black pumps.
Essentials are the items that you should invest in the highest quality that you can afford because you will wear them over and over again.
This list can help you do your own closet audit. You can download the K. Renee list of wardrobe essentials here. Step into your closet and see where you might be shy. This will give you a greater sense of purpose when you do choose to shop.
Once you have your wardrobe essentials in order. Memorable style is then created in the details.
The details like belts, necklaces, and earrings can add great variety and interest to your basics. Shoes, jewelry, and a great handbag can mean the difference between a bland outfit and standing out from the crowd.
Next, we demonstrated and talked about how layering is a woman's best friend!
Why do I have a home picture up there? Because what would a living room be without its layers (pillows, accessories, rugs, art)? The layers bring it to life. And the layers will bring your wardrobe to life as well.
Like the picture above of Lana (in the middle)... I love how combining basic layers underneath a sweater can transform her outfit into a great and unique look. She is wearing a simple top with a layer underneath to add length, a sweater, belt and a great pair of boots. Comfortable, stylish and layered.
Layering can be the toughest thing to get comfortable with so I would suggest you come in and play around with one of our stylists. At our workshop, I gave participants some homework and challenged each of them to test their skills with the 5-piece rule. Stop in and ask one of our stylists about it! Which brings me to the next point...
Your goal is to create a wardrobe that is a haven of mix and match items that will give you a variety of looks you never had before. Find someone that you trust that you think has great style to help you create new combinations. I promise you’ll have more money in your pocket and more clothes in your wardrobe.
That is really the essence of our stylists' responsibilities...to help you get the most out of your wardrobe and help you feel fabulous, confident in the styles that represent your true self.
When you shop, I want you to think about buying outfits, not items.
We have all bought a single item thinking its the cats meow and then get it home to find out we have no idea what to wear it with. And it just sits in our closets collecting dust.
I am a big believer that everything that you buy should be able to be worn at least three different ways. And you have to start out on the right foot with your purchases by creating a complete outfit that you love with all of the components. Another benefit to working with a stylist is that he or she can help create one (or three) of these outfits for you before you walk out the door.
All of our clothes should fit well and be comfortable. Period. End of Story. But don't mistake being uncomfortable with being outside of your 'comfort' zone. 15 years ago, I would never have thought that blazers and suits would be my style lifeline. Had I not had Kelli to push me out of my comfort zone, I would never have found out how amazing and powerful I feel in a blazer whether I am dressing it up or down. Keep in mind, you don't know what you might love until you at least try.
Again, another reason to work with a trusted advisor is that they can encourage you to try different looks and silhouettes to help you develop and enhance brand you.
All of us are built a little different and should wear slightly different things to compliment our proportion and to create the right balance. A good stylist can help assess your body shape and give you the tips and rules that apply to you so you can choose clothes confidently and efficiently that make you look slimmer, taller, enhances your shape and camouflage the bits you don’t like.
I won't get into all the details...that is a whole another blog!!! But I can tell you that the key is to play up your best feature.
I have this little tire that resides in my middle, so I like to play up my legs. I can't wait for fall and winter so I can get back to shorter skirts, tights, and boots...and showing off a little leg! And for those of you lucky enough to be shaped like Dita Von Teese, you know you are going to be playing it all up!
Dressing with confidence is more than wearing the latest fashion trend, it’s about feeling good about what you’re wearing, looking poised and feeling self-assured in all situations. Trends tend to drive fashion and what is readily available, but you can always find classic versions of a runway trend. What will you be seeing this fall?
A huge 80's revival with leather and bold shoulders in full force. Oversized is in again. A heartland vibe with patchwork and quilting. Florals and garden prints will be showing up as well. One trend that we really like (and always seems to be a classic for us) is clean, lean and chic-white. Yeah! And last but not least, Shearling coats - faux and real.
The key to great personal style and a memorable brand is knowing how to pair a timeless classic with something you have had for decades or something that is on trend and a bit edgy. Once you have your wardrobe essentials in place, it's fun to mix it up a bit. A floral dress with a classic black jacket? Once your wardrobe essentials are in place, you have room to add a trend here and there (if you really love it.)
Developing your style is like a mental muscle: everyone is born with it, but not everyone flexes it. If you want your style muscles to grow stronger, you need to exercise, right?
We covered lots more in our Designing Brand You style workshop, so this is just a taste. Lana and I would be happy to hit the road with our presentation whether that be in a corporation with young professionals, a small business or a social gathering. All you have to do is ask.
And once you do your closet audit and find you are in the market for some great layering pieces and essentials, you will love our upcoming Lafayette 148 trunk show.
This event is always one of our customer's favorite TRUNK SHOWS of the year. You will have the opportunity to curate your own wardrobe as we bring in over a hundred samples from their spectacular Fall 2018 collection. Lafayette 148 is known throughout the world for their timeless and essential, go-to pieces!
Take a peek at their Fall 2018 inspiration video and mark your calendars for September 6, 7, and 8!