Dressing for success should include elements that display a memorable representation of your brand! What are the key elements of your brand? Color...Shape...Texture...These are only a few of the elements that might bring your name, product, and or service to mind in the eyes of your clientele. What about associations with a particular culture...historical era...musical tones and rhythm?
Making yourself memorable in today's crowded market place is one of the essential goals of any executive. Whether you are seeking to inject dynamism into your job search, or are part of a re-energizing commercial or non-profit entity, I'd like to suggest you raise the bar on your physical appearance--at least in settings related to your professional identity.
I don't mean you should go out and buy a blazer that is color-matched to a corporate logo. Of course, if your organization has made such an investment, management can consider appropriate ways for team members to personalize their appearance. Today I am suggesting you examine how your choices in clothing and accessories can help distinguish you from other professionals in a room--who may be "taking center stage" before or after you.
Exploring established corporate colors, or choosing a distinct personal color palette, may be a simple foundation on which to structure your professional "look." For this website, and other promotional venues for Imaginings, I have focused on shades of blue and gold, with accents of deep plum. That doesn't mean these are the only colors I wear for business, but I will usually incorporate a couple of them when dressing for a business meeting. With variations in perceptions of color and the effect of layering fabrics and other materials, I try to use some gradient colors to enhance the blending of shades and tones. o be welcoming into a clear wish to terminate the conversation as soon as possible.
How do you balance the voice and image within organization projects? I believe that achieving corporate unity across the spectrum of branding elements can be assisted by clear statements of your organization's values. This can begin with periodic review and strengthening of your vision, mission and values statements. By exploring the core of your individual and corporate identity, your can establish a firm foundation from which all official images and language can flow harmoniously.
Next, you can explore the specifics of how you apply the elements of your branding within your daily operations. Do your brick and mortar and Internet spaces, as well as your personnel project your corporate colors, shapes, and textures? Are the words used in text for operational materials, signage and your staff reflective of the inner core of your organization?
Once there is harmony in the descriptions of your corporate culture, you will need to evaluate how you and your team are bringing them to life in your daily operations. To do this effectively, I suggest that you invite input from everyone involved in your organization. Why? Because hearing their thoughts, and even complaints, will provide you with perspectives that might be held by your clientele. Even when such input cannot be applied without modification, the knowledge gained will allow the organization to make informed decisions that will carry everyone forward positively.
In many professional fields, gender still plays a role in the styles women and men adopt. Traditionally, women have had a broader array of choices in apparel than men. Even when adhering to these norms, there are several ways in which a man can distinguish himself in appearance. Before investing in upgrading one's wardrobe, it might be useful to buy a men's magazine to see what styles, textures and colors are being promoted currently. Even if you do not embrace every element, you can demonstrate your interpretation of modernity with a moderately fashionable haircut. While wild prints are not appropriate for many corporate positions, a thin diagonal stripe on a tie with a light colored shirt, or a patterned tie on a plain colored shirt can provide an expression of coordinated color--especially if the choices enhance your eyes and/or skin tone.
Regardless of whether you are a man or woman, wearing some form of your organization's logo will gladden the heart of most bosses, and it proclaims your company identity at professional events. To catch the eye of specific categories of people, consider incorporating recognizable insignia in your wardrobe--such as a class ring, a pin or tie tack from a distinguished society, fraternal organization or notable school. A local accent establishes your connection to your community. In the American Southwest, both men and women enjoy wearing Native American jewelry, and often decorate their work areas with other arts of the region.
Think about the season, time, and participants in the occasion for which you are dressing. If your company is having a picnic, it would not be appropriate to show up in a suit--especially if you are currently working in the shipping department.
How can you highlight your personality and style? Consider wearing or carrying something that demonstrates your particular talents and taste. Here are a few jewelry pieces I designed to demonstrate my design aesthetic. While the lapis lazuli and gold pieces highlight Imaginings' colors, I often select accessories to harmonize with an event I may be attending.
Regardless of whether your branding choices in appearance and language are for
your individual identity, or that of an organization, consider the following issues:
~ Begin with the end in your mind's eye
What do you want to project through your appearance?
~ Do your homework
What style elements reflect your industry?
How can you personalize them to reflect your individual style?
~ Evaluate what you already own before purchasing new items
This is especially important if you are making a shift in your career.
Lay out potential combinations of clothing and accessories on a plain background.
If there are gaps in your wardrobe, consider whether two new shirts, some accessories,
or trip to a seamstress will generate enough outfits for upcoming interviews...
and the first days of employment.
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