Written by Leena Alsulaiman, Brand Strategist and Fashion Stylist
A website with your name on it, a custom logo and a trendy yet neutral color palette and voilà — you’ve nailed your personal branding… right?
The truth is that building a personal brand is so much bigger than your color palette and a Canva graphic; personal branding is about expressing who you are and what you stand for — as much as it is who are not, and what you won’t stand for. A big part of how you express your personal brand is through appearance and dress – even now when we are so often relegated to waist-up zoom calls!
Italian fashion designer Miuccia Prada once said, “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world. Fashion is instant language.” Fair or not, first impressions are affected by your appearance and clothing – consider these your first filters.
Think of your appearance in terms of visual data that prospective clients will consider as they form an opinion about your business.
1. Evaluate the personal style part of personal branding
The fun begins when you understand that dress is your ally as you determine the image you wish to project. What words describe your personal brand. Is it serious? Quirky? Savvy? Trendy? Chic? Upscale? Luxury? Eco friendly?
Now, ask yourself if your wardrobe is consistent – does it support and reinforce the personal brand you are building? How about your hair, grooming and other cosmetic considerations?
2. Create your 3-word style map
Based on your personal brand discovery and style match-up, hone in on 3 adjectives that best express how you want your personal brand ethos to translate to your appearance. These words will help you as you evaluate your existing wardrobe and any shopping needs. The next time you are shopping, vet purchases through your style map, which will will help cut through fashion trends (tie-dye sweatpants! eyelash extensions!). When you find something that fits all 3 words, it will feel just right. You will feel authentic and aligned with your brand. You will feel like you.
3. Invest in personal brand photos
With today’s content demands, a nice selection of personality-driven personal photography is basically required. With your new look, you’ll feel even more confident asserting your expertise and promoting your business. You can book a shoot with a professional branding photographer (ideal) or grab a tripod and find yourself some gorgeous natural light.
Remember, your image is what speaks the loudest before you even say a word, so pay attention to the small details – nails – hair – clothes creases, etc, always dress the part!
Leena Alsulaiman is a Saudi Arabian and American fashion stylist and brand strategist based in the Bay Area. Raised and based in the Middle East before relocating to the US in 2016, Alsulaiman aims to empower women of diverse cultural backgrounds through fashion and style. Learn more at www.leenaalsulaiman.com and follow along on Instagram @leena.alsulaiman.