Do you feel you have so many clothes in your wardrobe, and yet when it comes to “looking the part” at work, you have nothing to wear?
Do you constantly feel the need to buy new clothes because the pieces you have don’t represent the professional you are?
Do you hold yourself back from speaking up at meetings? Stop yourself from presenting ideas because you don’t feel 100% confident? Or do you worry no one will take you seriously?
If any of that sounds familiar, then this article is for you.
The key to successfully improving your image and developing a style that elevates your presence, makes you feel confident, and positions you as a leader lies in your ability to find good advice that specifically applies to you.
As someone who’s been in the fashion industry for well over a decade, I know how challenging style can be to teach. Telling someone what to buy isn’t the same as teaching someone how to project the right image that fosters confidence and empowerment. The same way a chef telling you to buy ingredients doesn’t teach you the cooking technique.
There is so much information on the internet: style blogs, DIY, tips, how-to guides, YouTube videos, magazines, Pinterest, Instagram, it goes on and on. It quickly becomes overwhelming for a busy working woman like you. Even if you somehow find a good piece of advice, you still face the challenge of whether it’s going to work for you, especially when it comes to your professional image. It can prove more harmful than useful if you don’t get it right.
Another challenge with internet advice is how quickly overwhelm sets in when bombarded with constant information. Your brain starts to reject all information at that point.
When this happens, you lose the ability to differentiate the right advice for you. Everything looks great in pictures, but it doesn’t always translate the same on you.
“So what classifies good advice,” you ask?
Good advice will address your particular concerns, specific needs, unique circumstances, and personality. It will most certainly make you feel confident in your image. It will help you make the right choices for your body, profession, lifestyle, and how you present yourself to the world. It is personalised for you and only you.
“Makes sense. But then why I do keep falling for bad advice?”, you say.
Here are the four most common reasons:
#1 LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
You might feel you should know how to dress, so you don’t seek help. You try to do it on your own, thinking it can’t be that hard. So, you hop online, read a few (hundred!) style blogs, stalk fashion influencers on Instagram, and start experimenting. But here’s the thing: you don’t know what you don’t know. By simply reading and following advice from the internet, which is typically generic and unsuitable for your needs, you only make the problem worse. You have no foundation for your image, no goal in mind, and no understanding of what you need. You lack the know-how for translating your inner qualities into external style.
Furthermore, while you are “experimenting,” you may make expensive mistakes and then start to underinvest – which in the long term, ironically ends up being more expensive. You end up buying “off the rack” recommendations by style bloggers or sales associates in the stores without expert knowledge. You continue buying all the “must-haves,” “best investment pieces”. You purchase these as THE solution to all your frustrations. And eventually, this leads to a wardrobe full of clothes that do not represent who you are, your true value, and do not meet your needs.
#2 LACK OF TIME
You are a busy woman, and perhaps you lack time. With a demanding career and so many other balls to juggle at work and home, your style or image often gets overlooked. You are so busy that you don’t even realise your style is the last priority. You get stuck in a rut.
Now and then, you’ve looked at the shops during your lunch break or hopped online to browse some shopping websites, but there is no real thought behind it. You continue browsing, and it quickly becomes overwhelming. You realise you hate shopping. When you read a blog or expert recommendations and see their styled photos, you choose pieces believing they will look the same on you. In reality, it doesn’t turn out like that. The outfit isn’t appropriate for your profession, your body, or you don’t feel confident in it because it highlights specific body parts you are insecure about. You end up adding to the ever-growing pile of clothes you don’t wear. Additionally, every time you open your wardrobe and see that piece, you feel guilty about wasting your money.
The advice that meant to help you by saving you time ended up being a complete waste, AND now you feel guilty.
#3 LACK OF CONFIDENCE
You may be a very confident woman in all areas of life, but not in how you dress. If you look in the mirror and feel you look frumpy, older than you are, or are self-conscious about your weight, body shape, or simply don’t like how you look, you lose confidence quickly.
Following generic advice often contributes to more insecurity. You don’t feel confident after following the first bit of advice, feel terrible, and then look for more. Something sounds good in theory, but you don’t end up with the results you wanted in reality. You realise you’ve wasted your time and money. Now you also feel insecure in the way you look so, you go looking again, hoping the results will be different this time around. You repeat the process a few times. It progressively becomes overwhelming, resulting in you losing more confidence in your ability to make the right choices, dress well, and look good. You start to think you cannot look good, cannot dress well, have no sense of style, have a weird body, can’t find clothes for yourself, and that nothing works for you. You may even believe the problem is with you. And this further adds to your lack of confidence. It’s a catch 22 situation.
#4 LACK OF INTEREST
You never had an interest in clothes or style. You have never really paid attention to your clothes or how you present yourself. As a teenager, you weren’t the one for style or fashion. When you got your first “proper job,” you dressed in a trouser suit. You spent the next decade of your career wearing a “uniform,” looking pretty much the same every day, not thinking much about it. You looked ok, and that was good enough.
But, now you are stepping up in your career or are in a leadership role and are considering your image more seriously, that lack of interest in clothes begins to matter. But, because you have never been inclined to style before, you are unaware of your options. You are unaware that there are professionals that could help you with your image. So, you simply google “style for work,” get given 8.5 million results, and somehow you are supposed to find the right style advice. You’re scrolling through the page and see something that seems satisfactory. Since you have no interest and just want to get “done with it,” you go ahead with that recommendation, and that’s the start of it all.
All of the above eventually leads to the never-ending cycle of what I like to call the Aimless Shopping Mode.
Two big practical problems are unfolding here:
- You are accumulating clothes (aka wasting money) that you don’t wear or are not right for you, so you cannot communicate your true value.
- You are shopping for more clothes out of frustration and end up making the wrong choices. This eventually feeds your low confidence.
It’s a vicious circle, and unless you address the root problem, you get sucked in more. And here are some of the results you’re left with:
- An overflowing, unorganised, cluttered wardrobe that is stressful to look at;
- Too many choices leading to decision-fatigue first thing in the morning;
- Getting caught up in an image-obsessed culture which leads to low self-esteem and more body image issues.
If you differentiate between good and bad style advice to start with, the results would be something like this:
- You have a compelling image aligned with who you are today- brilliant, professional, and successful. You are recognised and respected because your presence commands attention, and you position yourself as a leader. Opportunities present themselves to you, and gradually everything starts to move in the right direction.
- You look and feel the part and are confident in yourself. This is reflected in your behaviour, work, communication, and every area of your life. You experience progress in your career, get recognition and reward, and are happy and fulfilled. You become the best version of yourself.
- You build a timeless and versatile wardrobe. You have clothes that are appropriate for your position and provide consistency in your message, which helps you progress at work. Your wardrobe is easy to manage, your mornings are stress-free, and you start your day looking and feeling great. You have an effortless style and look fantastic every day. It’s simple and easy.
If that sounds like something you want to achieve, then here’s what you do. Ask yourself these three critical questions:
“Does this advice offer quick temporary fixes, short term solutions, or long-term solutions?”
This helps you cut the noise, filter advice that is valuable to you, and avoid expensive mistakes.
“Does it offer a holistic approach to my image or address a small part of my wardrobe?’
Example: Does it tell you to wear specific colours or teach you to create an intentional colour palette appropriate to your image & lifestyle requirements?
This helps you adapt your overall image by keeping your career goals in mind and thinking long-term.
“Does it help me get results and support my career ambitions? Will it help me with my work image so I can move up in my company?”
Your image should align with your aspirations. Always. Because then it becomes a tool to help you advance in your career and life.
Making wise decisions helps you decide what advice is beneficial. That’s half the battle won.
Dressing well helps you project a professional image and feel confident. You will be taken more seriously in your job, it can make you a memorable brand, and it will surely make you look and feel more attractive.
The last thing I want you to do is to spend hours reading blogs or scroll through Instagram or Pinterest for outfit ideas. I want you to have a solid image strategy, a simple style system, and a timeless wardrobe so you can look good, excel at your job, and enjoy your life!
Is your image holding you back? Do you need to improve the way you dress so you feel more confident and advance your career? Then know that this is all possible for you. It doesn’t need to be a complicated process. It can be simple and easy. Let’s uncover it together.
If you’re ready to step up in your career and feel now is the time to work on your image so you can elevate your presence and feel confident in going after what you want, then book your complimentary call with me today to discuss how I can help you.
Find more about how we can work together here.