In Part 4 of the Level Up Series, we’re moving on to creating a personal style that reflects and builds your brand.
The Lane Jones motto on personal style is:
‘It’s not about dressing up, it’s about dressing the part.’
Why does a personal style matter?
Like it or not, your style speaks volumes about you. What’s yours saying about you? Does it match the Voice, Vision, Values of your business? (See the Lane Jones Branding Framework to understand these branding principles).
Don’t think so?
Imagine purchasing a luxury product from a company of workers and executives dressed in disheveled clothing?
Disheveled may be an obvious no-no. But how about surfer/beachwear. Still wouldn’t communicate the appropriate message for a high-end line.
Your style doesn’t just matter to clients, also to your team.
When done right, your personal style can make an instant connection, command a room, boost confidence, and enhance credibility.
Let’s use a few well-known individuals as examples.
*The late Steve Jobs. Style: black turtlenecks, jeans. Clean minimalistic, neat. Those three characteristics are the Apple brand personified. His style was the perfect embodiment of the products the company created.
*Grace Jones. Style: Bold, audacious, rebellious. Grace Jones is signature styling to the max. Her style is the epitome of her brand personality.
Although complete opposites, both are examples of what a style says about the wearer and the brand they represent before we even hear/read a word about them.
So now that we’re clear on the importance of your personal style, let’s kick it up many notches and lay out the principles of building a signature style for personal image.
In part two of this Level Up Series, we went over your signature offer and how it helps level up your business. Now let’s talk about your signature style.
Creating a signature style is the number one way to enhance your personal image. Your personal image matters because, whether you realize it or not, it’s communicating key messages to your audience and your team.
The same way a signature offer can take your business to the next level, a signature style can do the same.
What is a signature style?
A look that is unique to you. It doesn’t need to be something odd (unless that’s your style) but it does need to feel like something you own. Something that fits your taste and brand.
It makes you feel your best.
It is harmonious – there needs to be harmony between what works for you and what your clients expect.
You may have heard of CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs wearing the same style every day. That’s not a requirement for a signature style. You don’t necessarily have to wear the same thing every day. But you can learn from them in terms of consistency of style characteristics. They both kept is simple, consistent, were confident in what they were wearing.
How to create your signature style
Step 1: Assess
Your first step is to assess your business wardrobe as it is. Do you have a consistent style? Are you confident about what you wear most days? What do your clients expect from you in terms of style?
Step 2: Understand client expectations
This is often overlooked when creating a signature style. Don’t make that mistake. You need to have a think about what your customers/clients are expecting of you in terms of style. For example, if your brand is fun, playful, light-hearted, they probably aren’t expecting to see you routinely wearing polished, corporate 3-piece suits.
Step 3: Choose a theme
What describes your brand?
This quick exercise may help: If you had to narrow it down to one word, what would it be?
A few examples to ask yourself as relates to your personal taste and brand: Are you bold? Different? High-end? Custom? Fun? Quirky?
Now that you have a theme, you can move on to the actual pieces and parts, the basic elements of your signature style.
Step 4: Start with colors. Choose tones that make you look your best.
You want to choose colors that make you look your best. For example, people with red hair tend to look best in deep rich browns, golds (warm autumn colors).
Color selection not your thing? Here’s an insider secret. Use https://colorwise.me/. Enter characteristics like your skin tone, hair color and it pops out color suggestions.
Step 5: Think fit and flatter
Choose clothing that fits and flatters your body and face.
Here’s a guide on body and face shapes and how to match for best fit: Joy of Clothes Style Advice
Step 6: Accentuate
Select patterns, textures, and signature accessories that kick each outfit up a notch. But don’t overdo it. When in doubt, if you feel overdressed and uncomfortable, remove one accessory.
Examples of accessories: bowties, glasses, statement jewelry, quality scarves, a statement belt, purse or bag.
Step 7: Customize
Clothes off-the-rack may not be the best fit for you. Just because they look great on the mannequin, doesn’t mean they’ll look great on your body type. That’s what tailors are for. They can customize clothing to fit you best. Your goal is to create a signature wardrobe that fits well. You’re no longer settling for whatever is on the rack. You’re leveling up, remember?
Bonus Step: Put the pieces together into an everyday look and a power-look.
An everyday look is for the typical day interacting with clients and/or your team.
Your power look is for those days when you need to shine even more than usual. Maybe you have a meeting with investors or a speech to give at a conference, for example.
This is where you stay true to the basic elements of your signature style, but ramp it up even more for the special occasion. Think of the difference in attending a friend’s dinner party and a formal gala event. Have a few of these ramped up looks available so when you’re invited to an engagement or high-power business meeting, you’re not scrambling to put pieces together.
Your signature style can boost your confidence and brand. It takes time to build but it’s well worth it if you want to create an outstanding brand and business.