As an entrepreneur, we hear a lot about “brand awareness”. It is about being consistent in our message about what our business is and represents and also a way for us to establish ourselves as the expert in our industry. This involves a lot of areas of our business and should also include one that may not come to mind as quickly as others: your wardrobe.
“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”
Rachel Zoe, personal stylist
When you sign in for a Zoom meeting, or hop on Facebook Live, or attend a networking event, you need to make sure your clothing is consistent with your brand. Because before you even utter a word, you are already sending a message to your crowd.
“Entrepreneurs: You should curate your wardrobe like you do your business content.”
Dana Malstaff, founder and CEO of the Boss-Mom movement
So where do you begin in curating your wardrobe?
- Get to know your brand like you know your best friend.
You need to know your business brand inside and out before you can even begin building a wardrobe around it. What is your brand’s personality? If you had to describe your brand as a person, what attributes come to mind? If your brand was going on out a Friday night, what would it be doing? Is it a takeout and Netflix marathon kind of gal, or will your brand be hitting up the bars until the early morning?
Ok, maybe I have taken this analogy a bit too far, but you get the idea. Because the more you understand your brand, the more you can start to pick out clothing that your brand would wear.
“Entrepreneurs: If you want a million dollar business, you better look like a million bucks.”
Stacy Tuschl, founder and CEO of She’s Building Her Empire
2. List your brand’s attributes.
So now that you know your best friend Brand, how did you describe her? Is she inspiring yet approachable, open yet authoritative, kind yet sassy? Or maybe she is professional and quirky, open and loving, feminine and strong.
Keep these characteristics in mind when choosing your clothing. Blazers add an authoritative vibe, colorful prints project a fun demeanor, spunky shoes add quirkiness and personality.
When you hold up a piece of clothing ask yourself what characteristics speak to you and make sure they match your brand’s attributes, too.
“A woman makes an outfit her own with accessories.”
Clothing designer Oscar de la Renta
3. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize.
Do you know what takes an ordinary outfit into something unique to you and your personal style?
Hint: it’s in the title above.
Yes, accessories! Accessories are the easiest way to make an outfit speak for you. They are also the easiest (and cheapest!) way to make an outfit look complete.
I share my 5 Item Equation rule with all my private clients which is: each outfit should consist of 5 pieces for the perfect balance.
Without accessories, the effort is lost and the look isn’t complete.
So, bringing it back to your brand, you want to make sure you are choosing accessories that add that extra punch of brand awareness you want to communicate.
A floral statement necklace states femininity, tassel earrings communicate a boho vibe, and layered gold necklaces is delicate and refined.
Make sure you find accessories that hit multiple characteristics. You also want choices for your Facebook Live outfits!
“The less items we have in our wardrobe, the more we have to wear.”
4. Start with a minimal wardrobe.
Also coined as a “capsule wardrobe”, a minimal wardrobe includes a minimal amount of items that allow you to mix-and-match to create a multitude amount of outfits.
The key is to style each piece multiple ways so it doesn’t look like you are repeating items over and over and over…. (which you should be if you are shopping intentionally).
Once you find pieces that are on-brand for you, see how they stand up against each other. Tops, bottoms, jackets, and accessories should all flow into each other so that they can all seamlessly be worn with each other.
If you want help in curating a minimal wardrobe, start with my Minimal Wardrobe Style Guide eBook that does all the hard work for you!
- Lastly, the one not-to-do. Do not dress head to toe in your brand colors.
I find that a lot of entrepreneurs assume dressing on-brand means only dressing in their brand colors.
No way, José.
You definitely want to incorporate your brand colors into your wardrobe, but you want variety. Otherwise, you look like you are wearing the same things over and over, and you also leave out a lot of fun options!
Instead, look for colors that compliment your brand colors. Is teal in your palette? Also include navy, cool grey, and magenta. Is purple your primary color? Compliment it with mustard yellow, dark blue, and light taupe.
Expand your palette and it will expand your message.
Dressing on-brand isn’t as constricting as it may sound. It’s not a uniform, not a only-wear-this-and-not-that situation. It’s a way to communicate your overall brand message, the way you want your clients to think of you and remember you.
It also doesn’t necessarily take a wardrobe overhaul. A few simple pieces can you get you started, and I created a free checklist of the entrepreneur wardrobe essentials for you.
Use this checklist as your starting point to ensure you are covering all the essentials and are creating an intentional + versatile wardrobe, all while looking effortlessly on-brand.
Happy (intentional, on-brand) shopping!
Are you an entrepreneur looking to build an intentional wardrobe?
Inside you will find a FREE checklist of the 10 items every entrepreneur should have in their wardrobe + direct links on where to buy these items.
From networking events to Facebook Lives to working from home, this checklist will have you covered!