Look Your Best to Feel Your Best
Updated: Jul 22, 2021
Fashion as a Branding Strategy
People spend thousands on life coaches, therapists, and spiritual guides yet very few have fashion stylists to help them look and feel their best in what they wear every day. There is an imbalance between the internal and external work that takes place, and a sense of style is an excellent way to convey our desired message before we ever utter a word. In a recent podcast interview with fashion guru Helen Formoso-Murias, we discussed the importance of fashion in building a personal brand and reputation. First, let me clear something up, using style to improve your life experience is absolutely not about wearing a Gucci belt, tape-in hair extensions, or nails so long that you are walking around with your own set of personal petri dishes with growing organisms. It is also a little more than a short sleeve polo shirt, a fleece, or a company logo sweater vest. Building into your personal brand starts with an awareness of yourself, which can be difficult given all of the noise that surrounds us.
The Negative Impact of Social Media....
We live in a fast culture of fast fashion, cheap products, and trends that activate a need for more, more, more. It does not help that television and social media suffocate us with brands, labels, and filtered images. We do not know where to turn so we react and run toward rather than away from something that is not serving us, we chase this idea of who we should be rather than working with who we want to be. It can feel empowering to shut off the attention of media and live in the moment, yet the problem is that the minute we reengage it is there and in our faces all over again: what we need to buy, where we need to vacation next, the newest Stella McCartney sneaker, content, content, content. So, instead of disconnecting, it is perhaps better to accept media for what it is and then let it go. We can simply choose to observe and move past rather than fall into the addictive and toxic rabbit holes that have been created, so how exactly do we do that? It begins with finding reprieve from the fashion ADHD culture we live in and adopting a sense of your youness based on what inspires you and what fits you best. It is caring enough about yourself to want to look great and then figuring out what your very personal sense of style is. A label does not equal style and neither does a fashion trend that popped into your Instagram feed. It takes work, effort, and time to uncover your look, but the process can be energizing if you allow it to inspire and feed you.
Connecting to Your Personal Brand....
Spending time enjoying spaces that heighten your senses is a great way to connect with your internal and external self. For example, enjoying a beautiful meal with friends can inspire all of your senses, a trip to an art museum can elevate your sense of sight, great music enhances your sense of sound, and the more you connect to the appetite of your senses the greater sense you gain of self. If you begin to layer in trips to local boutiques and clothiers you will soon discover that there are certain pieces you are intrinsically drawn to, it really becomes an art, and you are the canvas and artist. True fashion is about telling a story and creating a perception of how you want to show up: it is the external expression of your internal transformation work. Fashion has carried meaning for eras and is truly a reflection of the world. Every decade has its own fashion personality that built the culture for that time and currently many labels are using their platform to build community. Retailers are showcasing their black designers, ateliers are fighting back against plastic and requiring fabrics to be shipped in sustainable packaging, celebrity stylists are dressing their clients with designers from the city in which they are promoting a movie or attending an event out of respect for that particular culture or way of life. Even the mood of couture which has developed a reputation of elitist fashion given its price point is evolving to build a conversation with the modern client. Many fashion shows are now offering a virtual element to expand their reach and designers are incorporating streetwear and more casualty into their couture collections. While these pieces may still be pricier than a Prête-a-porter, or Ready-to-wear collection, some of their elements are now being incorporated into more affordable offerings as streetwear is becoming a part of a couture designer’s vocabulary. In fashion’s power to transform a period of time it most definitely has the power to empower you and transform your personality, look, and even your thought process. Demna Gvasalia, Artistic Director for Balenciaga shared that having control over your look is experiential and that it does something to your mind, he explains that when you wear pieces that suit and fit you, it not only builds your confidence but can have an impact on the relationship you have with yourself. You suddenly have the ability to look in the mirror and feel like someone totally different: the person that you aspire to be. Fashion is about creation and building the world around you.
Finding What Works for You....
This can be easier said than done but I recommend starting with a closet edit: there is a power in letting go of the material things that no longer serve you and it runs parallel to moving away from the people or substances that no longer serve you. This process clears out any stale energy that is taking up space in your space and provides an opening for new and fresh energy. After a good closet edit it may seem like your space has become very bare but embrace this as it is an opportunity to bring change through new pieces and an opportunity to start fresh. Once you have an audit of the clothes that you want to keep it will become much easier to know what needs to be added. There is great value in taking the time to physically shop for your wardrobe: it gives you the ability to interact with the clothes, touch them, feel them, and try them on to truly visualize what looks best on you (and what does not). I also recommend investing in a personal stylist, someone with industry experience and brand awareness that can be a sounding board to your fashion choices. Finding a good personal stylist can be challenging, while there are many out there, often times they prescribe to the popular notion of shopping for labels rather than fit or cut. Many also have the tendency to dress their clients to their personal style rather than the style of the client. My recommendation is to do your research, just like you would to find a good coach and look for someone with a couture background who will be able to add the full gamut of value rather than someone who worked for Nordstrom for a year and likes clothes.
The last piece is to locate a tailor that you trust; whether it is a $5000 suit jacket or a $40 denim coat, having pieces that are tailored to you changes everything and takes your look to a whole new level. For those who cannot afford a stylist or to add pieces to their current wardrobe, a tailor is an excellent first step, they can alter some of your current items to really change the look and fit of your wardrobe. While all of this may sound like a lot of work, you will find it is worth every ounce of effort as it elevates your energy, confidence, and ability to stand out when you walk into a room, it is power. For those who are not interested in fashion at all and still do not believe it will make an impact, that is a fashion statement in and of itself. The late Steve Jobs wanted to focus his attention and energy on things other than fashion, so he committed himself to a black mock turtleneck as his daily uniform. In order to obtain this look he had esteemed fashion designer Issey Miyake create more than 100 of these turtlenecks. Clothes and fashion are not going anywhere so instead of haphazardly checking items into an online shopping bag or trusting that a trend will always look good, at least put some work into identifying which clothes make you feel your best.
The Value of this Work....
The psychology of this work supersedes looking good in a meeting and is truly about curtailing your attachment to material items by making good choices when it comes to your external environment. We live in a culture of always wanting more which can make it very difficult to be happy with what we have; learning to appreciate the moment and be in the now is about decluttering our stuff and simultaneously letting go of past infringements on our present. It is about surrounding yourself with quality pieces and a physical representation of your good choices; the choices that are just right for you.
Our fashion arm, The Bond Atelier, specializes in image and brand consulting through personal styling. If you would like to learn more about building your personal brand and editing your wardrobe, we would love to connect: