I recently finished my diploma in Public Relations from Concordia University and my favourite professor, Leanne Sanders spoke to her classes on several occasions about creating a professional brand for yourself. She explained that this starts with your wardrobe. By being selective in what you wear and by cultivating a 'look' that is unquely you, those around you intuitively know what to expect from you. It sends a message to your boss, your team, your employees, your customers, and your agencies that you are reliable and will consistently deliver.
Professor Sanders' look is a sophisticated black and white ensemble, matching red nails and lips, striking silver hair and oversized dark sunglasses. It's stylish, creative, and successful. It is striking. and memorable. I would absolutely want her managing my PR.
My look is less rigid, but it always begins with a fabulous dress that's just a little bit different. I try to find one-of-a-kind-dresses from boutiques or the less-travelled department stores as I'm looking for dresses to showcase my confidence and originality... but at the same time, there's a 95% chance I'll be showing up to work in a dress & heels so my creative uniqueness is reliable. The last few dresses that I've added to my wardrobe have had more tailored cuts and an element of grown-up sauve to them (like brocade patterns or pin stripes) as I'm looking to elevate my look to one of maturity that says this 'woman's not only got it going on, but has the experience too.' Since the dress is the starting point of my brand image, if you were to run into me on the weekend I'd likely in a sweater dress and tights. As even in my down-time, I can be counted on.
For now, I'm on shopping hiatus so I will have to enjoy one of the 42 (yes, your read that number right) dresses that I currently have in my closet. While my Eye Candy argues that it's impossible for another dress to fit in in there, I'd argue that dresses are part of my invested brand image and there is always room for diversity in this portfolio.
After all, would you tell Mark Zuckerberg that he can't have another hoodie? Check out the "Power of Apparel" from the New York Times to read more about CEOs who are investing in their wardrobes too.