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How Style Influences Help Shine Your Personal Brand

04 September 2015

Iris Apfel is a fashion icon and celebrity who is 93 years young. Her style is what is most memorable about her – the unique way she wears colour and jewellery. A friend of mine is also a very colourful personality. She always wears beaded necklaces, bright clothing and accessories. A diminutive woman, you certainly wouldn’t miss her in a crowd. Her style is unique and makes a statement. Neither of these women reflect my style aspirations, yet I admire the way they express their personality and personal brand through what they wear.

For my friend her choice of career over the years has not been conventional – so corporate style is not something she has ever considered or practiced. For those of us who work in a business environment is it necessary or even prudent to develop a strong signature style?

If you want to consider upping the ante and expressing more of who you are through what you wear, here are a few ideas.

·     Determine who your style or fashion icons are. Glamourous Cate Blanchett, suave Daniel Craig as James Bond or the bohemian fashion look of Rachael Zoe? Maybe a rock star look is what you aspire to express. Collect images of these people and see what the common thread is. Is it the simplicity of style, the colour choices, the cut and fit of the garments? You could make a Pinterest board or simple file of the looks that appeal to you.

·     What objects and things do you love? Are they treasured pieces of fine bone china or bold, brass statues? Does art work of a particular style stimulate you? Write down or again collect images of objects that appeal to you.

·     What colours appeal to you? Your colour choices may say something about your style more than you think. I love gold. Here’s a summary about gold that appeals to me: "Gold represents loyalty and responsibility. When your primary choice is for gold, the colour personality tests consider you an organiser. You love a peaceful environment, you value work and service oriented tasks. You have a greater degree of performance, stability and orderliness."

This description may be one aspect of my personality but when mixed with other colours I like – I get another more holistic understanding of my personality characteristics. Try it and see what your colours say about you.

·     Do you have a favourite or ideal holiday destination? How would you describe that – what does it look like?

·     What does you ideal home look like? Again thinking about that visual representation will give you more insight into your style influences.

Once you have all these visual elements noted you will see some common threads coming through and you can start to determine your signature style. For instance, are your images, cool, white, Scandinavian and simple clothing styles/ Or maybe it is colourful and tropical.

The style images you have collected may be flamboyant or perhaps seem unrealistic to you to attain and wear to work. However think about the images as a reflection of just a part of you – perhaps the creative edge to explore a little further. Given your line of work maybe it is not always possible to express exactly what you would like. I think Iris Apfel would raise a few eyebrows if she was advising clients in a law firm, or seeing patients in a clinic. But wearing her fabulous trademark glasses might be enough to give her personal brand that stylish edge.

Who are your style influencers? What are your style influences and what impact would you like to make through your visual impression?

Want to read more? This blog is an extract from The Power of Personal Public Relations. Simply download your free copy of the eBookhere

Sue Currie is a personal branding specialist and director of Sue Currie Communications



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