The moment you step into a room, you are judged by how you present yourself. What you wear often conveys what your personal brand represents to others. For example, for many professionals, a pantsuit is a go-to style in business. It’s clean, it’s classic, and it represents professionalism. But you don’t have to blend in with the crowd. Instead, developing an executive presence reflects your signature style and creates a lasting impression on those around you.
Break Through Outdated Outfits
Finding a professional look that is still uniquely your own is essential to developing an executive presence. In today’s business world, adding personal touches more representative of who you are is far more acceptable. You can still achieve a sophisticated and stylized outfit without using cookie-cutter pantsuits. While pants are a practical option, especially when you know you’ll sit down for long periods, skirts and dresses are also acceptable.
Many professional women shop for separate pieces of clothing, such as skirts, jackets or blazers, pants, and blouses, that can be mixed and matched in various ways. This is known as a capsule wardrobe. Developing a professional style through this approach allows you to be creative with your outfit while still adhering to a classic, executive appearance. It also translates into time and financial savings.
Make Room In Your Closet
When Did You Purchase Your Wardrobe Pieces?
Even though classic wardrobe pieces are theoretically never going out of style, in reality, there are tiny details that can convey a very dated look. Look for cues like the style and layout of buttons, the presence of shoulder pads, and the length and width of pants and you will notice obvious differences between the 80s, 90s, and today.
Additionally, well-worn pieces will show their age through stains, fading, shoe creases, weakened seams, etc. Those telltale signs are a good indicator of retiring those pieces.
Trends Come and Go
While you hear it all the time, trends always come back in style; there is a caveat to that. Even though your favorite mules from the 1990s have returned, they aren’t quite the same. Instead, the new mules will combine the classic feel of the 70s and 90s and today’s trends. So don’t stress over fast fashion trends; instead, invest in classic pieces you can style in various ways.
And release your fear of donating fast fashion pieces. They take up space in your closet and typically stay there for long periods.
How Is the Fit?
Our bodies will inevitably change as we age. The weight distribution may have shifted even if you wear the exact sizes you have always worn. A poor fit or silhouette will affect your executive presence. Instead, opt for pieces that feel made for your current body. Investing in a good tailor who can adjust your professional attire to fit you best is always worth it.
Define Your Style
Now that you have cleared out your closet and made room for professional pieces that you can live in, how do you define your signature look? A signature look is a particular style that you are known to use as a guide for putting together your outfits. Fashion trends come and go, but style stays with you. Opt for clean looks that fit your personality, body, and office.
To start, look at magazines, Pinterest, style blogs, social media, television, and movies to find out what styles stand out most. Then, start a vision board on Pinterest or create a collage from magazines.
Next, find themes: Notice what reoccurring colors, patterns, materials, or silhouettes keep popping up. They can be a baseline for what pieces you want to incorporate into your signature style.
The Use of Color in Professional Settings
Even though developing an executive presence through your signature style can feel a bit stuffy, there are plenty of ways to bring your personality into the mix.
Generally, business attire sticks to neutrals, solid colors, and patterns that are tasteful and not too busy. But adding in a piece of delicate jewelry and a pop of color among a sea of black clothes, or finding a tasteful but fun pattern on a shoe can add to your style.
Likewise, the right mix of pieces can help you convey a sense of professionalism while still staying true to your personality. For example, why not combine a clean neutral pair of pants with a matching blouse for a monochromatic look? Add a neutral-toned plaid blazer and a fun accessory like a scarf or a pair of leopard print flats to infuse personality and style.
Your Style Dictates Others’ First Impression of You. Make It Stand Out
No matter your size or shape, there is no need to compromise your style. The key is to get to know yourself and learn what fits your body best and highlights your best features. Sticking to pieces that make you feel good will help your confidence as a professional.
Finding your personal style and developing your executive presence is essential to showing up confidently at work. Your personal brand reflects who you are and how you want others to perceive you. Schedule a style audit today if you are still determining where to begin!