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13 Ways to look like a million for under $10

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13 ways to look like a million

 

You don’t have to have a million dollars to look like you do! Here are 10 quick tips to have you looking your best…for just $10 or less.

 

1, Wear clothes that fit. You wouldn’t believe how much of a difference this makes- and how many people wear ill fitting clothing. Wearing clothing that fits your body shape is incredibly important and sometimes that means getting clothing altered. (Not sure what your body shape is? Take the quiz here) Many men’s stores will hem pants for free and do other alterations for minimal cost. Nice department store might also offer this service. Going to a tailor to bring in a button down shirt will cost around $15 while changing hemlines averages around $10. If you know someone who sews, they might be willing to do it for free or for an exchange (did anyone say wine?) Cost= $0+ depending on the alteration. 

 

2. Be picky when you’re buying second hand. You can save a lot of dough by buying clothing and accessories second hand, but beware of purchasing items that look too rough. Make sure that you actually love the items you are about to purchase and that you aren’t just buying them because ‘they are so cheap!’ Garments still need to fit and be a flattering shape and color. (Hint: here are the top 20 basic garments every woman needs in her wardrobe- plus the perfect fit for your body shape) They should also be in good condition. Pretend like you’re in a high end store where everything is $500 plus. Would you buy the same thing in that situation? This will prevent you from having a closet full (cha-ching!) of mediocre clothes that look okay on you. Cost= $10 or less for second hand clothes. 

 

3. Fill in your eyebrows. As we women get older, we often lose our hair (sorry guys, who didn’t know this), which is why thick locks are a sign of youth. Filling in your eyebrows is one of those changes that can make you look younger without being blatantly obvious. Make sure you choose the right pencil for your hair color and, if you are in a beauty store like Ulta, ask one of the salespeople to teach you how to use it. Cost= Eyebrow pencils on Ulta.com ranged from $1.99-$24. Want more tips on how to dress your age? Here’s how to dress in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s (coming soon!)

 

4. Improve your sleeping habits. Sleep looks good on everyone, and it’s free (Win-win? I think so) The biggest enemy of good sleep is your cell phone. Avoid looking at your phone (or any other screen) one hour prior to sleeping. I also use the ‘do not disturb (silence except for emergency numbers that I dictate) until my next alarm’ feature. Even if you don’t realize that your phone is glowing and beeping all night long, your REM cycle might. Getting a couple of extra Z’s will improve your complexion and save you money on cucumbers (or all those costly cremes and cover-ups). Cost= FREE!

 

5. Tuck in your shirt. My husband works in a factory setting and this tip works just as perfectly for factory workers as it does for top level executives. Why? Well, tucking in a shirt creates a waist (or any body definition) where there was none which looks better on any body shape. It also looks more pulled together and generally less sloppy. You didn’t just throw on a pair of pants and a shirt, you carefully manipulated your clothing to look more professional. Watch how much of a difference it makes here. Cost= 10 seconds. 

 

6. Take care of your shoes and/or handbags. I have a friend who cleans her shoes off after every wear. It doesn’t matter if they were $300 or $3, she simply takes a clean cloth and wipes them down before putting them in back into her closet. The result is that she always looks polished and sharp, not to mention her shoes last forever. We may be able to fake a million dollar look, but shoes and handbags usually rat us out by looking slightly tattered. If you’re like me and don’t have time to daily clean your shoes, try doing it once a week while you watch tv or talk to a friend. Cost= FREE!

 

how to dress like you have money

 

 

7. Exercise. Another freebie that makes a big difference. When you look at people in upper class society, you’ll see that they look more healthy than their lower socio-economic counterparts. Additionally, clothes look and fit their best when the wearer is at a healthy weight for their body type. You can blame cheap fast food, expensive gym membership access, or a multitude of other things on why this rich/poor healthy/unhealthy paradox exists…or you could do something about your own body. Planning out your meals will save you money, calories, and time. Parking further from your destination, getting off the bus a stop early, or going on an evening after dinner stroll in your neighborhood are all simple ways to start living a healthier life. Cost= FREE + a little time.

 

8. Learn how to barter. You may not have the financial resources it takes to buy the best clothes and purchase the best haircuts, but you might have something else. Think about what talents or services you provide and then use those to barter for what you want. Maybe you are great at social media. Ask a local salon who’s struggling with their online presence whether you can help them with their social media in exchange for haircuts/colors. This usually works best with friends and acquaintances. Just make sure that you are good at the service you’re offering and that you follow through on your end of the deal. Cost= FREE (or the cost of your services). Here are some quick tips on bartering from RealSimple.com

 

9. Straighten up. Standing up straight can visually make you look 5 lbs lighter and years younger! There’s nothing more aging than a hunching posture. Look at any wealthy business person and you will see someone who carries himself or herself (upright!) with confidence. Practice sitting up straight while at your desk, typing, or even browsing your phone. Cost= FREE

 

10. Break out the blush. Our cheeks naturally flush when we are excited or aroused. This almost always reads positively by the person viewing you, because they subconsciously connect your excitability to being with them. Luckily, all it takes to fake this effect is to throw on some blush. A little bit of blush will immediately make you look fresh, vibrant, and youthful. Cost= $2.99+ from your local drugstore. 

 

11. Choose colors that flatter your skin tone. Everyone has a certain color or set of colors that really bring out their best features. Work on identifying your colors (I dedicated a whole lesson to this in my e-course: The Ultimate #STYLE Guide!) and then start wearing them! Cost= nothing if you have clothing in your ‘good’ colors. If you don’t? Try buying a scarf. It’s a lot cheaper than buying a whole new shirt and you can pair it with items you already have.

 

12. Smile. I know it sounds cheesy, but have you ever hung out with someone who has a resting bitch face? Even if they’re saying nice, friendly things it’s hard to not think that they are constantly judging you, or are unhappy about hanging out with you, or are just plain uninterested. Cost = some face exercises.

 

13. Discover the many uses of coconut oil. Coconut oil is incredible. It will make your hair shiny and strong, your skin smooth as a baby’s butt, and your teeth several shades whiter…to name a few. Beauty gurus have been touting the positive beauty affects of coconut oil for years! Check out a whole list of things you can do with the magical stuff here. Cost = $7.99 usually for a jar.

 

Above all, remember to take control of the things you can, and don’t worry about the things you can’t! Money can’t buy attitude, manners, kindness, or presence.

Cheers,

Leslie

 

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How to dress in your 50’s

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How to dress in your 50's

Careers have stabilized, nests are emptied, and the body is doing whatever it feels like (goodbye, eyesight). Welcome to your 50’s.

 

If you didn’t take time to yourself in your 40’s, then you might find yourself in a style rut, looking frumpy and out of date. Not to worry- it’s never too late to show yourself some love. Start with choosing wardrobe basics that look great on your body type. Set time aside to improve your health and your appearance (this could include anything from walking with friends to doing hair masks). You’ve spent most of your adult life taking care of someone or something else- now it’s time for you.

 

If you were nice to yourself in your 40’s (good for you!) then you are well set up to confront the many changes your lifestyle and body has in store for you during this decade.

 

Here are my top 3 tips for dressing in your 50’s:

 

  1. Decide how you’re going to age

There’s no denying it, a lot of changes in your appearance will start happening in your 50’s. Whether it’s graying hair, a widening middle (thanks, Menopause!), or extra lines on your face, you are really starting to look different than previous years. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though! It really all comes down to attitude. Do you want to fall down the proverbial hill or enjoy the view?

 

You’ve heard the phrase ‘aging gracefully’, right? Well, it’s totally up to you as to HOW you age. Are you going to age gracefully (whatever that means for you)? Are you going to fight the aging process? Are you going to let time do its thing why you sit back and watch things unfold? The good news is: there is no wrong answer. Whether you let your hair go gray or load up on botox, the choice is yours.

 

Crossing the threshold of 50 is a great reason to take a step back and review your life. Are you happy with the person you’ve been for the last 50 years? What kind of person do you want to be for the next 50? This last question will dictate, not only how you decide to age, but also what you wear going forth. Maybe it means taking some risks, maybe it means prioritizing comfort, or maybe it means staying true to what you’ve done all along.

 

Your appearance isn’t just fun and games (although it should be fun! see tip #2), it’s a form of communication. The 50’s are a great time to think about what you’re communicating through your appearance and what you plan on communicating as you get older.

 

what to wear after 50

 

  1. Have some fun

No matter what kind of person you want to be for the next 50 years, there is one thing that I encourage everyone to embrace on some level: FUN.

 

At this point, you’re comfortable in your skin, you know what you like, and you know where you want to go. If there’s any time to try something new, it’s now. Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, but didn’t have the confidence (like wearing white booties)? Or maybe, you’re just bored of the clothes you already have and want to spice it up a little, while still staying true to you. Even if you’re totally happy with your current wardrobe, try doing something or wearing something you normally wouldn’t. Switching up your fashion or your appearance has the same effect as going to a different restaurant for your weekly date night dinner with your spouse. It makes things feel fresh, new, and exciting all of a sudden.

 

With that said, remember that is doesn’t have to be anything huge. Try a different shade of eyeshadow or lipstick. Pick up a pair of shoes from Target that you normally wouldn’t wear. Style your hair differently. Put a scarf around your handbag instead of your neck. Go to Charming Charlie and get some funky jewelry just for the heck of it (even if you only wear it out on girls’ night).

 

Your life is really just starting to get fun, don’t let your wardrobe fall behind.

 

  1. Keep learning

One of the many things I love about fashion is how it translates differently from person to person and even the same person throughout different periods of their life. Have you ever looked back at pictures of younger you and thought, “what was I wearing? I thought I was so cool.” I know I have. But that’s part of the beauty of fashion. When I was in college wearing a homemade dress from upholstery material (true story) I was engaging with fashion in an entirely different way than I do now when I buy a polka dot suit from Banana Republic and wear it to meetings (also true).

 

Experience teaches us how to engage with fashion, but so do conventional learning methods. For example, you may have learned throughout the years what kind of jeans look best on you, but you may also read a blog post on dressing your body shape and realize what tops look best you. As your body and lifestyle change and you age, new unlimited learning opportunities open up. You don’t get dressed as a young adult and then decide that’s how you’re going to look forever, do you? No! Your appearance changes throughout your life and it reflects where you are and what you find important. As you go through tip #1 and decide who you want to be post-50, take time to expand your horizons and learn something new.

 

Here’s a nifty list of resources I recommend based on what you might want to learn!:

 

Fashion resources for women over 50

 

I want to…

  1. Overhaul my whole wardrobe and re-organize my closet
  2. Update my hairstyle
  3. Know how my appearance affects how others view me
  4. Get inspiration for age-appropriate outfits
  5. Find a new way to tie a scarf
  6. Know what trends are in for this Fall
  7. Know more about reading glasses (and where to find fun ones!)
  8. Learn how to look sexy without looking sleazy
  9. Know what looks good on my body shape
  10. Find workout clothes that work for my age

 

Ps. You can stay on the top as the hill as long as you want. Enjoy it! Smile

 

Cheers!

Leslie

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beauty from the inside out part 2: pretty girl problems

Pretty Girl Problems

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Part 2 to the 6-Part Series: Beauty from the Inside Out
Featuring Becky Lauren and Leslie Friedman

Beauty from the Inside Out is a 6-part series exploring the struggle women have every day, from looking nice and staying healthy to taking jobs and choosing friends, because we want to or because society expects it from us. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic, culminating in how we can break the mold as strong, confident, beautiful women.

Part 2: Pretty Girl Problems

Prepare yourself for this one, ladies, it’s going to be a long one.  It’s something that really affects me in every way every single day and it’s very important to me…

In today’s age we’re still living in a world where most career women struggle working in ‘a man’s world’.

I still laugh every time I watch Kristen Bell’s video ‘Pinksourcing’ . In the video she makes fun of everything that is unfair about being a women in the workforce.

I’ve known what I wanted to be since I was 8 years old. I was going to be “in the special forces”.  I of course didn’t really know what that meant other than wearing a uniform and carrying a gun and beating up bad guys.  At 8 years old I had no idea this dream wasn’t actually a possibility for me.

It wasn’t until I started growing up that there limitations on what I could dream and achieve.  Some of these limitations were real and some were conditioned. “Oh a pretty little girl like you can’t be a Soldier, that’s for boys!”

Do you have pretty girl problems?

Can women be in the special forces? At the time – no. In today’s age – kinda.  But were there really cool jobs similar to that women could do? Absolutely!

As I started to grow into my professional career in the corporate world sitting at the large mahogany conference room tables of ‘old white men’ the reality of working in a man’s world began to sink in.

If you were an attractive woman, you obviously got the job because of your looks.  If you were unattractive you obviously got the job because nobody wanted you so you had nothing to do but to work. (This is actually something that’s been told to me by numerous people over the years)

As a woman working in a field dominated by men, I am confronted by the double standard every single day. The struggle for me has always been where the line is, when to give into it, and when to fight it.

 

Where does ‘Pretty Girl Problems” come from? It’s from years of being told that my problems weren’t important.  When I would give a presentation to someone much higher up in the company than I and they couldn’t stop staring at my legs (I’m 5’10) I was told it’s a ‘pretty girl problem’.  When I had people from the company texting me slightly questionable things when they were drinking it was a ‘pretty girl problem’. When people assume I got my job because I’m a woman and they needed to make a ‘quota’, that’s a ‘pretty girl problem’.

 

“Oh it must be SO HARD getting all that attention from men all the time.” My male co-workers would joke. Yes. It is, and no, I don’t like it.

I once had a mentor, she was mid 50s, sit me down when I was an intern and give me some of the best advice I still look at today. She took me for coffee and as we sat down said “You, my dear, are going to have some trouble in this world.” The piece of advice she gave me which I still use is this: “There is a double standard that you aren’t going to get rid of in your lifetime, so you might as well take advantage.  Your looks will open doors to you that it won’t for men. Don’t be afraid to use that, but you better make sure that when you open your mouth you are smarter than anyone else in the room.  You better floor them!”

Leslie and I talked a lot about how to dress as a woman in the workplace. I’ve always joked that I have a pendulum that swings from ‘I don’t give a fuck to lesbian pant suit’.  I’ve been told that if I don’t want men to stare at me I shouldn’t wear dresses and skirts, form fitting clothing, or low tops.  I don’t disagree that if I avoided wearing those things I might not get as many looks.  My issue lies in who’s side society is taking.  

By saying “she’s asking for it. She’s wearing a pencil skirt with a shirt tucked in, you can see her shape” what we’re really saying is that we’re choosing men. We are choosing that their opinions and actions mean more than a woman’s. THEY can’t handle themselves so we need to change how we exist in the world. No. I just won’t.

Except I do. I think we all do.  I’ll have an inappropriate comment made to me or someone stare just too much and the next day I’m practically wearing a mumu with my hair in a bun and no makeup. And I’ll do that for a few days so I don’t get the attention. And in that moment, in that decision, I’ve let them win.beauty quote

 

The crazy thing is, that these same problems happen to women regardless of what industry they’re in. As an image consultant, Leslie works with women across all different fields look their best especially when they are going to work. She’s noticed that a ‘pretty girl’ double standard is present in almost all workplaces, but does vary from industry to industry. For example, a woman who wears heels in a more casual teaching environment is judged as being sexy and trying too hard while a woman who wears flats in a high power ad agency might be seen as lazy and unprofessional. Likewise, it is deemed equally inappropriate (by the men who have always set the standards, of course!) for a woman engineer to wear a skirt at a manufacturing conference as it is for a woman lawyer to wear a pant suit in the courtroom.

So, what’s Leslie advice to these women? Dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable, reflects the way you want to be perceived to your client (ex. Professional, capable, etc.), and is appropriate for your workplace (I don’t want to see tight pants, short shorts, or unbuttoned tops on men either). If you feel comfortable in a skirt, wear an office appropriate skirt. If you feel incredible in a power suit, wear your power suit. Your appearance certainly has an affect on others, but it also affects YOU! The way you look should empower you, while setting the stage for your actions- which is the real secret to breaking barriers.

Pretty Girl Problems affect all of us.  I have a million stories of this and I’m sure each and every one of you do as well. We know women who exacerbate the issue and we know women who hide from it. I’ve always tried to live my professional life and professional friendships with integrity – in a way where I had fun, I dressed fashionably but appropriately, and acted in a way that nobody would question my intentions.  “Live your life in a way that if someone spoke bad about you, nobody would believe it”

Xoxo
Becky and Leslie

P.S. Don’t miss out on past or future videos and posts in this series! Sign up HERE to get access to everything!

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how to create a personal brand

The 5 Secrets to Developing a Stand Out Personal Brand

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We can theorize about personal branding and mission statements all day, but unless we put any of it to practice in an applicable way, it doesn’t do any good. Unless you understand what your personal brand is, the rest of this book will just be entertaining fluff. Here’s the thing. I didn’t sit down and write a book about how to make you look pretty. Yes, I am all about you looking fabulous, but my intent is to help you create a look and then use it to be successful. There are plenty of books out there on how to get dressed. There are even more on how to do it with style. I want to tell you how to alter your appearance to get what you want. Whether it’s a better job, happier home life, or improved self-esteem, I want you to be living to your fullest potential. And that’s something that needs to start from the inside, from your personal branding, and then move its way outward.

 

So, let’s talk about your brand. I promise it will be easier than you think. Remember, we are trying to figure out what makes you, uniquely you. This includes personality traits, general characteristics, and accomplishments. It’s everything that sets you apart from others in your home, office, town, state, and even country. Everyone has a personal brand, but most people’s brands aren’t realized or well developed. Using the following secrets, you can create a strong personal brand that will serve as a solid foundation for your future success!

Side note: the following is an excerpt from my book: Dressing Your Personal Brand. To download the entire book, click here.

personal branding short version

Secret #1: Strong personal brands are a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic traits.

This is something a lot of people either forget, or disregard. Your personal brand isn’t just about who you are, but what you’ve done, and how you’ve accomplished it. It’s not just what you’ve done (e.g. Where you’ve gone to school, awards you’ve won, accounts you’ve landed…). It’s not just about your personality (e.g. Extrovert, leader, intuitive…) or about how you your personality manifests itself (E.g. Outgoing, team player, problem solver…). Rather, a strong personal brand includes traits from all of these areas. There are several reasons why this is.

 

For one, it shows that there are multiple facets to you other than how you were born or what you’ve accomplished. Think about it. Any of the above characteristic sets can be entirely independent of another when creating a personal brand. One whole set of traits without any of the other sets leads the recipient to believe that you have certain qualities, but don’t know how to use them. For example, if I say I am a Harvard graduate with a PhD in Biology and a successful career in research- that only describes my accomplishments. Alternatively, if that same person said, “I am an extrovert with a positive attitude and upbeat personality”, they’re really only talking about their intrinsic traits. The best personal brands show a blend of intrinsic and extrinsic traits. They declare, ‘this is who I am and what I’ve achieved with what I’ve been given!’ For example, it would be best if the above person said, ‘I am an extroverted, ivy league graduate who is passionate about finding cures to common diseases in order to help everyday people.” See how much more powerful it is when you combine the qualities you are born with and what you’ve accomplished?

 

Secret #2: Your personal brand is like a lock.

Remember those good old combination locks you were assigned in gym class during middle and high school? Every lock contained the same numbers, but each lock had their own special combination of those numbers that caused it to open up. Personal brands are very similar. The human population as a whole contains all the same characteristics, traits, and accomplishments. However, it’s the way in which these are combined that make your personal brand special to you and unlock your full potential! Many people believe that they have to reinvent the wheel or discover a whole new personality trait in order to have a successful brand. This isn’t true at all. The key isn’t to make up characteristics that nobody else has, but rather to find the right combination of traits that you possess to create a new (or at least new to your desired audience) sequence. If you want to add some novelty into your combination, you do that by altering what you do or accomplish. For example, there are lots of philanthropic, anthropology graduates. However, there are much fewer philanthropic, anthropology graduates that have devoted significant amounts of time to studying a specific species of animal just as Jane Goodall studied apes.

 

There is no one size fits all method to identifying your personal brand. However, I usually recommend that people narrow down their five strongest descriptors and use that as their personal brand. Just as a combination lock may be 12 + 4 + 7 + 22 + 35 = open, your personal brand can do the same with this simple formula: intrinsic personality trait + accomplishment + general characteristic + goal + passion = winning personal brand! In a sentence it would look like, ‘My name is Kathy and I am an extroverted, award winning research scientist who uses my compassionate nature to pursue the cure for cancer and help everyone I come in contact with.’ Each of the individual parts of this sentence are true for hundreds of people, but when you pull together the parts that are uniquely yours, then you can accurately describe your own personal brand.

 

Just think of your personal brand statement as a ‘cut to the chase’ elevator speech. In a few seconds or less, what do you want the other person to know about you? With a successful elevator speech or personal brand statement you lay down your most important cards, and in doing so, will attract others who share the same passions and goals as you. Here’s a personal example of how a strong personal brand statement can help you. A few months ago, I was attending a small entrepreneurial networking session and we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves. Some of the attendees seemed caught off guard and stuttered a short line of thoughts like, “well, I’m Jake and my wife and I are thinking about possibly starting a fishing business, maybe”. Other people, like myself, confidently threw out their personal brand statements along with an invitation to talk afterwards. I think I used some version of, “Hi, My name is Leslie Friedman. I’m an author, speaker and image consultant who is passionate about helping people leverage their personal brands and their appearances to be more successful. I really enjoy collaborating with other entrepreneurs, so don’t be shy to come say hi after the program; I’d love to talk to you.” It is simple and to the point. Not every person in the room found me after the program to say hi, but the ones that did were also aligned with my goals and came with opportunities. A solid personal brand statement not only helps you keep focused, but it is a key component to opening doors.

how to develop a strong personal brand

Secret #3: Don’t forget about your end goal.

I’m sure you have a lot of characteristics, goals, passions, accomplishments, and traits that define you. The key to picking the right ones for a strong personal brand depend on what you want to accomplish with your brand. Remember when we talked about your end goal and having a mission statement? If you don’t know what your end goal is, then it will be very difficult to pull together a personal brand that will lead you there. Just as you need to pick the right paint when painting different parts of a house, you need to find the right combination of attributes that will help you accomplish your end goal best. If the aforementioned, bio-scientist Kathy wants to help elementary aged children by having a long career as a second grade teacher, then her personal branding statement is way off. If her goal is to be a notable, bio-researcher with a significant influence in the realm of disease prevention, then she is right on track. Nabisco probably had a clear end goal in mind when they created Oreo, and they made sure that the branding around the Oreo cookie ensured the success of reaching that goal. In this same way, we need to make sure our brand is properly setting us up for our end goals.

 

Secret #4: The easiest way to discover your brand is by not trying.

Your personal brand is 100% you and there’s no one who has a clearer view of you than those around you. So, if you’re stumped about what your brand is, sit back and let the people around you throw in their input. Simply ask any objective, third party person who spends time around you (a coworker is a great option) to describe who you are. Better yet, have them describe you to another coworker. The more people you sample, the better picture you will be able to make about yourself. It is also worthwhile to ask the people that know you the best (spouses, family members, friends) how they would describe you. Most likely, your personal brand is going to be a combination of the two opinions. While this is one of the most effective ways to find out what your personal brand is, it can also be the most painful- especially if you’re not branding yourself to your fullest potential.

 

If other’s responses are way off base compared to how you would describe yourself, your brand is having an identity crisis. Look into inconsistencies and ask yourself 1) which way you would like to be seen and 2) what you’re doing to elicit an undesired response. Maybe you think working through your lunch hour every day brands you as hardworking and dedicated, but really it comes off as aloof and as a bad team player.

 

Even if you have your personal brand down pat (these are the traits I want to be known for!) it’s important to consistently ask for feedback to make sure your branding is accurate. Large companies are constantly soliciting feedback on their products and their brand image to ensure that the image they are presenting to the consumer is exactly the branding they desire. Find the combination of attributes that is most accurate for you and most effective to reaching your end goal and then double check it over year after year to make sure you are always on track for success.

personal branding quote

Secret #5: Your personal brand might change. And that’s okay.

The personal brand you develop during the length of this book may not be the same brand you have in twenty years. It may not even be the brand you have in five or ten years, and to be completely honest, it shouldn’t be. Hopefully, you are constantly in the process of developing and growing into a bigger and better person. Throughout your life you will have different accomplishments, experiences, and encounters that affect your goals, missions, and values. You will also have different priorities today than ten years from now. If you’re a young, professional making their mark in the workplace, you may place more value on being seen as knowledgeable and experienced. Ten or fifteen years down the road, however, you may place more value on being known as a leader and a great communicator. The key is to constantly reassess your mission statement and your personal brand statement to ensure that it aligns up with who you want to be today and the short term future. When you are younger, your brand statement may change as much as every year to every five years, while at the peak of your career, it will probably change every ten to fifteen years.

personal branding secrets and checklist

Coming up with a personal brand that is reflective of your true self shouldn’t be difficult. If you’re forcing a certain goal or character trait on yourself that doesn’t come naturally or that you aren’t passionate about, you’ll have a hard time living out your brand. It’s much easier and less energy consuming to actively develop and pursue a brand that feels like second nature.

To your branding success!

Leslie

PS> Like what you read? This is only a small portion of my book: Dressing your Personal Brand. Read the rest of the book here.

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personal branding strategies for work

Personal Branding Strategies for the Workplace

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When we think about work, personal branding isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. After all, personal branding is personal and most of us make a decent effort to keep our personal and professional lives somewhat separated. The truth is, however, that our personal brands (and, therefore, our personal branding strategies) are vital components of the workplace. Each person in a company is important to the success of the company as a whole. That means, of course, that each personal brand plays an important role in helping the company reach its goals.

Think of the company Procter & Gamble. P&G is a huge company, and a brand within itself, but it’s made up of smaller companies- each with their own brand. Crest, Tampax, and Downy are all brands that create relatively unrelated products. However, they are all home and hygiene brands, which fall under the larger brand of P&G. Without the smaller brands that reflect the objectives of the P&G brand as a whole, P&G wouldn’t even be a brand. Personal brands work the same way in the workplace. Your company has its own objectives, goals, and brand. As part of the company, you are one of the smaller brands that helps the parent company reach its goals.

If your company or organization is the big parent company (like P&G, Nestle, Mars, etc) then there are four different types of smaller brands that make up that company. These ‘smaller brands’ are the personal brands of four different groups of people:

  1. Employers
  2. Employees
  3. Customers
  4. Job Seekers

Each one of these groups, is filled with their own brands. A successful company should understand what brand each group represents and how it relates to the company as a whole.

 

strategies for employers

Employers:

Your main objective as an employer, is to find employees whose personal brands fill your company’s needs, and then effectively lead them to build a successful company. Think about the people directly under your supervision. Can you name their strengths? If you had to describe each person in one sentence, what would that sentence say? Would it be hard to do? If you don’t know what your employees bring to the table, then you are probably missing out on utilizing their greatest strengths. This is bad, obviously for the company, but also for the employee, who probably feels unsatisfied in their position. When employees are living out their brands and doing what they do best, then they are more likely to report job satisfaction. As the employer, you know that happy workers create a better workplace, more productivity, and less turnover (hint: all of these things leads to more profit!)

 

Employer personal branding strategies:

Take some time to sit down and think about every employee you have. (If you are in charge of a large number of people, maybe just choose your direct reports.) Pretend that someone has asked you to describe who they are in a few phrases. What would you say? Write down each employee’s name and their greatest strengths. Now, think about your company. What are the biggest needs or challenges facing your company right now? Compare the two lists. Do you currently have people’s strengths matched up properly to help fulfill your company’s goals? What could you do differently? Keep your employee strength/brand list handy for when a new project pops up. Use the list to help you find the right person for the job. Here’s a nifty worksheet to help you get started.

 

Customers:

Without customers or clients, you can’t have a business. Because of this very obvious fact, it’s important to think about who your customer is and how they would describe their own personal brand. What is important to them? What traits do they value? This is why market research is an essential aspect of any company. Here’s something really cool: if our company brand (or the brand of someone associated with the company) is able to resonate with a customer’s personal brand, then an immediate emotional connection is made- whether the customer needs our products or not. This emotional connection is KEY to creating loyal customers.

Customer personal branding strategies:

Why do your customers like your brand? Why do they buy your products? If you don’t know, ASK THEM! If you hear repetitive answers, you’re onto something. Be sure to continually assess your marketing strategy. Are you marketing to the right group? Are you forming an emotional bond? Does the personal brand of your customer make sense with your company’s brand?

 

strategies for employees

Employees:

As an employee, you want to set yourself apart from everyone else (and, therefore, set yourself up for success) by cultivating a strong personal brand. Imagine that your boss is sitting in a conference room right now and is asked by his supervisor to pick one person from his department to fire and one to promote. You certainly don’t want to lose your job, but you also don’t want him to hem and haw about who he should promote. You want him to not waste a second before announcing, “[your name] is the first and only person that is perfect for the promotion job!” A strong personal brand has the power to produce those kinds of results. If you haven’t started thinking about your brand, then consider the following strategy…

Employee personal branding strategies:

Write down your job title and ask yourself, “what makes me different from everyone else with this job title?” Make a list of accomplishments, character traits, and experiences that help set you apart from everyone else. Now ask yourself, “Do my actions, words, and appearance consistently reflect the attributes on the list I just made?” (Ex. if you wrote: professional, outgoing, excellent writing skills… then evaluate if you are displaying those traits the best you can in the workplace). Think about what you want to be known for within the workplace. It might just be one word: Dedication. Integrity. Leadership. Choose a word or short phrase and write it down somewhere. Do your best to live out that word or phrase through your actions, words, and appearance every day. When a new project comes up and your boss needs someone with outstanding leadership, (s)he won’t have to think twice about giving the project to you. Download a FREE worksheet to get started.

job seekers strategies

Job seekers:

If you’re not in a company, then you’re probably looking for somewhere to work (unless you’re retired, of course). Knowing your own personal brand and finding a company that holds similar values, makes the job search process more difficult, but also more rewarding in the end. Think of the first job you had out of college. If you’re like the majority of people, you did not enjoy the job, but you had to make money and pay off student loans. Very few people I know actually loved their first job. You know why? Because when you’re inexperienced, you have less options and, therefore, you are less picky about what job you choose. If they want you and they will pay you, then you sign up. The downside of this mentality to job seeking, however, is that you end up working for companies that don’t reflect your personal values. Your personal brand doesn’t align with their company brand…but you need a job, so you overlook that. Sometimes we just need to pay the bills, but if you’re looking for a fulfilling career, try the job seekers strategy below.

 

Job seeker personal branding strategies:

Before you even apply to a company: research, research, research! What is the company’s mission statement? What is their brand? What about the work culture? Do these things support your personal brand or are they totally different? Remember when we talked about P&G? P&G is a company comprised mostly of home and hygiene brands for personal use. It makes sense that P&G owns Head & Shoulders. It wouldn’t make sense if they owned Avis car rental. It doesn’t matter if you’re Head & Shoulders or Avis, just make sure the company you’re applying to makes sense with your brand! After you find a company or list of companies, identify their greatest needs. Compare those needs with your brand and your strengths and come up with concrete examples showing how you can bridge the gap. Tailor your resume to mostly show your ‘bridge’ skills and experiences (the ones that show you are capable of bridging the gap and solving their problems!) Make sure your interview answers also bridge the gap and show how you, in your truest form, can help fulfill the company’s needs. Use this FREE worksheet to help you get started.

 

Whether we know it or not, all of us have a personal brand. It might not be intentionally developed, but it’s there. Both personal and corporate success is possible by understanding personal brands and putting them to work to achieve your goals (no matter what workplace group you’re in!)

 

To your success!

Leslie

 

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What happens when you need to change your personal brand?

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Your personal brand is your unique combination of characteristics, accomplishments, and experiences that set you apart from everyone else. It’s how you want to be known to the world.

But what if you decide that your current brand isn’t working for you anymore? What if a career/priority/goal shift happens and you realize that you want to head a new direction? Is it possible to change a brand once it’s established, and if so, how do you actually go about doing it?

what-happens

The good news is that changing up your brand isn’t only possible, it’s necessary! Notice how the title of this article is ‘what happens WHEN you need to change your personal brand’ not ‘what happens IF you need to change your personal brand’. As we continue to grow and develop both in a personal sense and with our careers, it is vital that our brands grow with us.

A great example of a product brand that has grown and evolved is Starbucks. Below, you’ll see the original Starbucks logo from 1971 and the current logo.

Image result for original starbucks logo

Not only has Starbucks changed their logo over the past 45 years, but their business concept has changed as well. Instead of simply selling whole coffee beans like they did in the beginning, Starbucks has grown to sell everything from coffee, to mugs, to music.

Over the course of time, Starbucks realized that they had to change their brand to stay relevant to their market, achieve new business goals, and stay competitive. Your personal brand is also like a business. You are constantly in the business of selling yourself and your talents. Over time, your goals will change, as will your priorities and values. You may find that the talents you’re currently marketing (I’m a kind, career oriented, go-getter) are not the same talents you want to be marketing 10 years from now (I’m a kind, family oriented, volunteer). The first step to changing your personal brand is understanding that it is OKAY to make that change.

Second, you need to do some thinking about what you want to change. Maybe you were a career man who, over the course of a decade, has gotten married and had children. You still love your career, but you want your personal brand to reflect that you are also a loving father. Small changes, like this, are easier to navigate. The aforementioned man may decide to set a goal to leave work at a reasonable time each day and might occasionally turn down after work drinks to spend time with his family. By understanding what change you wish to make in your brand (in this case, a shift from workaholic to family man), you can start taking active steps to start being perceived differently.

Some changes are easier to manage than others. Often times, big branding changes happen as a result of a significant career move or a radical belief transformation. Stepping down from a corporate career in New York City in order to become a yoga instructor in Hawaii is a drastic example of a career change that would affect your personal brand. Likewise, subscribing to a new belief system, whether it’s converting to a religion or choosing a eco-friendly lifestyle, will also result in a personal branding change.

There are two main ways to pull off a major change in your personal brand:

1 ) Ease into it. The person who leaves their corporate job in New York, may use their vacation time to get yoga certification while teaching classes in the city. Slowly, becoming a yogi becomes part of their brand and when they decide to leave the corporate world for Hawaii, it’s a bold move, but not shocking.

2) Do it quick. If easing into something isn’t your style, a more dramatic switch may be fitting. In this case, the person from the above example simply packs up their stuff one day, quits work, and heads to Hawaii. Everyone is shocked for about a month, but soon the old brand fades away and the new one is quickly adapted.

No matter how small or big the change, it’s important to think through the shift you want to make and how you will execute it, before you make any moves. While altering your brand is normal and expected, doing it too many times within a short time period will make you look confused, indecisive, and rash. Instead, be thoughtful about your change and then start taking action to improve your brand!

Leslie

 

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10 days, 1 backpack: the SECRET to packing like a pro

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I’m that super nerdy person that really loves packing for trips. The further the destination and more moody the weather the better. Packing strategically probably appeals to me because it combines two of my favorite things: travel (including the wonderful anticipation beforehand) and problem solving.

In the videos below, I let you in on my three step packing process while I get ready for a 10 day excursion half way around the world. Check out below the videos for a full step by step checklist to packing.

Step 1: Pull

Essentially, pull everything that you would pack, but don’t actually pack the items (because, let’s be real, there’s probably waaay too many).

___  Choose any clothing/accessories you feel you’ll need for your trip

___ Group all items in categories (ie: underwear, tops, bottoms, jackets/cardigans, jewelry)

Step 2: Edit

Time to get rid of everything you don’t really need!

___ Choose a color family to adhere to (blacks or browns)

___ Eliminate anything that doesn’t fit into that color family

___ Eliminate anything that doesn’t go with almost every other piece (ex. take out that shirt that only goes with one bottom)

___ Eliminate any ‘solitary use’ items. If they are only used for one purpose, (with the exception of undergarments and swimwear) they don’t belong in your bag.

___ Choose 1 or 2 (at max!!) jewelry accessories for your trip. Chosen accessory should work with every outfit. I am bringing two long necklaces (not shown in videos).

___ Choose 2 pairs of shoes (max!) to wear while on your trip. One pair you will pack, the other (the bulkiest) you will wear for travel.

___ Think creatively. I packed a skirt that could also be worn as a dress. I also packed a rash guard that can be layered under tees or just worn like a normal long sleeve shirt. The more versatile each piece is, the more outfits you end up with.

Step 3: Pack

Most people assume that packing light has to do entirely with HOW you pack rather than what you pack. This isn’t true. If you haven’t done the Edit step well, there’s no amount of packing knowledge that can fit too many clothes into a suitcase.

___ Take out your bulkiest outfit. This is what you’ll wear to travel in.

___ Shoes always go on the bottom. If you have closed toe shoes, fill the cavities with rolled socks/underwear/etc.

___ Roll tops and bottoms by category (as shown in video 3)

___ Roll socks, panties, other undergarments individually and stuff into the free space around the larger (tops, bottoms, etc) rolled clothing.

___ Put items you’ll need on the plane or immediately upon arriving (phone chargers, eye mask, earplugs, etc) in a separate bag at the very top of the backpack for easy accessibility.

___ Always leave room so that you could take things in and out easily!! Your bag shouldn’t be bursting full. Packing your bag should be more like solving an easy Sudoku puzzle than a rubix cube. Traveling is stressful, and the last thing you need while having to roll through airport security is to have to figure out how exactly you stuffed everything into your bag in the first place.

___ Enjoy your vacation!!

Ciao! Leslie

Ps. For more videos, check out my YouTube channel!

 


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5 Things Every Woman Needs to Know about Instagram Envy

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Instagram envy. It starts off harmless enough. You might be scrolling through your favorite social media app (be it Instagram, Facebook, Twitter…) casually looking at friends’ pictures and posts when you find yourself sighing and thinking any number of negative thoughts.

Why don’t I eat beautiful food like that? Why isn’t my closet that clean? I wish my kids looked that pulled together. I wish I could be in Paris right now. Why do I have to be so fat/short/tall/pale/dark/[insert insecurity here]?

I feel that women are especially prone to insta-envy. Maybe it’s our unparalleled ability to compare ourselves to any and everything. Maybe it’s the fact that we tend to downplay our own lives, achievements, and self worth. Whatever the reason, it happens. The following are 5 helpful tips to getting through the envy and embracing it to make you a better person.

what you need to know about instagram envy

Number 1: Not only does it exist, but it affects you.

This is for people who aren’t sure if they have social media fueled envy. This is for the women that are painfully aware that they do have it. This if for everyone who thinks that Insta-envy exists for everyone else except themselves.

Despite where you fall on the spectrum, there are two common truths: Social media envy exists and it affects you.

pierre

Even my Chinchilla, Pierre, can’t hide from social media!

Our surroundings and experiences are constantly shaping our current and future actions. You may be very aware that you feel sad when you look at her (you know, that frienemy whose jet setting, gourmet foodie lifestyle you constantly lust after) grams or read her Facebook posts. Alternatively, you may feel nothing at all save from basic observations (‘that’s a pretty flower!’ ‘That restaurant looks like fun’ ‘That’s a cute child’), but even at this point, your mind is identifying what is ‘good’ (well dressed children) and filling away assumptions as to what is ‘bad’ (kids in mismatched clothes). We are always in the process of reacting to what we’ve been exposed to (ex: you are more cognizant about the pictures you take because you like seeing the beautiful pictures on your feed) and Instagram is no save haven. Which leads us to the following…

Number 2. It can make you a sad, miserable person…

…if you let it. See that second part? It’s really important. While you can’t control what your mind takes in (not completely, that is) you can control what you do with the information. When you see a friend dressed to the nines in high end designer clothing, you have a choice. You could ignore it. You could get jealous and hold a pity party (whyyy can’t I have beautiful things like that?) Or, you could react positively (that blouse really brings out the color in her eyes. I’m lucky to have such beautiful friends!) I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure which option I would choose.

Number 3: It can make you a mindful, appreciative person…

…if you let it. There it is again. Remember what I said above? The choice between positive and negative is totally up to you.

Start by targeting the cause of your envy. When you find yourself feeling jealous from a certain picture or post, ask yourself: what about this picture/post is causing the envy? Would I actually want that [insert cause of envy] even if I had it? What in my life would someone else be envious of? For the sake of example, let’s say the said envy inducing picture was a young lady in (probably skimpy) workout clothes who has a very fit body with the caption, ‘can’t wait to workout today!’ You see the picture, get jealous, and then ask yourself the above questions.

Maybe the thing causing jealousy is her fit body (that you assume you don’t have), her enthusiasm to workout, or even the fact that she looks great going to the gym (presumably…we’ll discuss that in point 5). Now, really ask yourself- would you want that fit body knowing what you have to do (workout…a lot) to get it? Would you feel comfortable showing off your body in those revealing clothes (if not, does that make a difference? Do you care more about what other people would think than about you being healthy?) Do you really wish you were super enthusiastic about working out? Or do you actually want to look like a made up model on the way to the gym? Often times, I feel like we really wouldn’t even like the point of envy if we had it. Having a super fit body may mean spending time at the gym instead of with your family. It may involve forgoing your favorite foods or restricting alcohol intake. You’d be surprised at how often we get envious over things that we really don’t care about at all.

Here’s an alternative. Instead of getting jealous, simply think about the awesome things in your life. What would other people be jealous of? Believe me, there’s always something. That roof over your head (not to mention everything under it!) would be a luxury for far too many people. What you need to do is retrain your brain. You love looking at beautiful Pinterest and Instagram pictures, right? Well, go through each day with mindfulness and really try to see the beauty around you. Often times, great grams are because the person responsible has an eye for seeing beauty in everyday things.

coco

This was just your average Sunday at the local minor league ball park. Beautiful things (like this sky…and Coco) are all around you if you take the time to look.

If you notice a pattern in what you find envious, maybe it’s time for a change. If travel pictures make you insanely jealous, start considering what sorts of trips you can take with your time and budget (even short, weekend trips count!) If you are constantly coveting a fitter figure, get thee-self to a gym (or see a therapist if your body image concerns are extreme) and make an action plan to start eating better. When you are actively working towards a goal, you will start seeing those same posts and pics as inspiration towards said goal rather than silent shaming reminders that you aren’t working towards your dreams!

halfmarathon

Seeing half marathon posts from my friends gave me the (unintended and very indirect) encouragement I needed to run my first half marathon. This picture is now a reminder to me what I’m capable of. (Btw- the term ‘run’ is used very loosely here. Think of it as more of a quick walk. Also- thank goodness for great filters and well placed hat shadows!)

Number 4: It can help elevate your personal brand.

You know I can’t have a post without talking about the all important personal brand! Your personal brand is what sets you apart from every other person in your office, town, state, and world. It’s what makes you, you and social media is simply an extension of your ‘you-ness’. When you feel jealousy over someone’s post, that means they have done something to elicit emotion in you. Now, turn the tables and ask yourself- ‘what kind of emotion do I elicit in other people?’ Is it joy? A hunger for knowledge? Happiness? I personally, would like for people to feel relaxed, inspired, and empowered to positive change when they are around me. For that reason, I choose to share and post positive, relate-able, and helpful (or just happy) items on social media. So, stop being jealous, start figuring out what you want people to think when they see your posts, and act accordingly. Coworkers, future bosses, clients, and your network will all be watching eagerly.

mug

Something as simple as a to go coffee mug can help tell the world what you’re all about.

Number 5: Not everything you see is real.

This seems obvious, but a little reminder here and there is nice. A lot of grammers literally retake their pictures dozens of times to make sure everything is perfect. They Photoshop and filter their pictures far past the point of reality. While these pictures may be beautiful, they have deviated greatly from the original shot, and should probably be viewed more as art than ‘I woke up like this’ (which, you probably didn’t). Do you remember that gram from the half marathon above? While it’s not Photoshopped, I did look straight up rough in non-insta filter light…so believe me when I say not to believe everything you see. Oh, and that girl who is going to gym in full makeup? Yeah…she probably never made it there.

The big takeaway here? Use the power of Insta-envy to formulate goals (and action plans!!), become more mindful, and build your personal brand! Sure, you can delete Instagram or turn your phone off, but why do that when you could turn the tables and use it to your benefit? Now, go gett’m girl!

chaise

All Instagrams pictures are from my personal account: @leslie_friedman. The picture directly above was used on this blog with absolutely no consent from the subject. But she looks fabulous, no? I’m lucky to have such beautiful friends. 😉

 

 

*****Side Note****If you have major jealousy problems that affect your life significantly in a negative manner, you may benefit greatly from seeing a therapist or mental health professional. Likewise, seek out guidance if you have a self image that is drastically inconsistent with your peers (e.g. You think you’re fat and no one else does, you have an unhealthy obsession with traveling and wish to constantly escape your life, etc.) Additionally, if you feel that your self worth is based on the amount of positive feedback (likes, loves, etc) you receive on social media…talk it through with someone. There are trained professionals in every town who can help you retrain your brain and get the most out of life; use their expertise to start living a better, fuller life!*****************

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How Your Weekend Clothes May Be Hurting Your Career

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It’s a Sunday afternoon and you are strolling through the grocery store focused on remembering which cereal your 8 year old wants (this week) when all of sudden you turn a corner and spot your boss. You immediately look for a place to hide. It’s not that you don’t want to talk about work (which you don’t) but rather that you don’t want to run into the person who pays you to be a professional, while wearing a ratty t-shirt and sweatpants. It’s a Sunday, and you aren’t at work, but you still don’t want to leave that image in their mind.

Sound familiar?

weekend clothing and your career

As awkward as this situation is, especially when you are recognized despite your avid attempts to hide behind the first product available (great. now your boss also thinks you are incredibly interested in the children’s game on the back of the Fruit Loops box), at least you recognize something very important- It matters what you wear outside work.

It’s not fair, but it is true: you are constantly being observed, and judged.

You don’t want your boss to see you because they (hopefully) have a professional image of you that you’d rather not have shattered. They know it’s the weekend, but that doesn’t keep them from thinking, ‘wow, Leslie sure looked rough the other day.’ Most of us want to look somewhat respectable in front of our employers, and we realize that not doing so could potentially hurt our careers. This especially true if you work in a professional services based field. (Think about it- would you want a lawyer from your firm walking around Walmart in an offensive t-shirt? Probably not.)

What we don’t often realize, though, is that sartorially slacking off could hurt our careers- even if the boss is no where in sight.

Nobody understands better than someone working in a client driven field that customers are everywhere. Whether you are a realtor, sales representative, or entrepreneur, future clients are everywhere that we are. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve been able to tell about my consulting services while hanging out at the dog park, in line at the grocery store, or even in the gym locker room. It is, after all, the logical thing to talk about after that first oh so typical ‘so, what do you do?’ question. As an image consultant I have to be very particular about how I look most of the time (it’s very difficult to make someone believe you are an image consulting professional while you are wearing gross paint covered workout clothes while taking the dog on a walk. Trust me, I’ve tried.) And, I would argue that if you are in a field that offers professional services, that you should too. All it takes is one pulled together outfit for the conversation to move from “oh, that’s an interesting job” to “oh, how fascinating. I could really use your services with my business”. Your appearance can produce strong psychological effects like that. Embrace it.

Side Note- This also works the other way around: if you’re the boss. Employees who see their supervisor looking rough or inappropriate (think mini dress at a bar) are likely to let those observations affect their opinions of you.

If you aren’t in a professional service job, don’t think I’m going to let you off the hook scotch free. Your appearance matters too. Instead of running into potential clients, everyday you are running into potential employees and employers. No job is safe (sorry) and there’s no guarantee that you will be gainfully employed in six months or searching for something bigger and better. Every time your appearance makes others think something of you that is not in line with your personal brand- you run the risk or hurting your career. The last thing you want is to realize that the person you were chatting it up with at the dog park is actually the perfect person to help you get your dream job a few months down the road (when all they can remember was ‘she didn’t strike me as being very pulled together’).

So, am I encouraging you to wear a suit every time you go to CVS? Of course not. That’s just stupid. What I am saying, however, is to figure out how you want to be perceived (ie: your personal brand) and then follow the 90/10 rule. 90% of the time, look the way you want to be perceived. 10% of the time, life happens. I would lie if I said I’ve never been in the grocery store at 2am in pajamas buying all the Pepto-Bismol I can get my hands on (while googling if it’s safe for the animals too).

Say you want to be perceived as a professional who is organized and good at time management. You can still dress casual while portraying these characteristics. Simply make sure your clothes are ironed before going into (and thus coming out) of your closet and that your garments are clean and fit well.
Here’s a good example of someone (who wants to be seen as a professional) dressing casually:

And here’s a bad example:

Okay, that’s probably a little extreme for a bad example, but you get the point. Avoid sloppy and aim for clothes that actually fit. My secret is to have a go-to outfit ready any time I need to leave the house in a hurry. This is generally a nice pair of jeans (I like J.Crew) and a pressed oxford button down paired with cute flats. If I don’t have an ironed shirt, I have several semi-fitted lightweight sweaters that also work well.

Looking like you care, no matter where you are headed will make a difference. I promise! The more consistent you keep your personal brand (including what you’re wearing!!) the stronger your brand (and as a result, your networks, your career, your sphere of influence) will become.

Happy Dressing,

Leslie

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How Active Are Your Clothes?

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At the risk of sounding really nerdy, I just want to throw this out there: sometimes I read research articles. Okay. Actually I may or may not have (but definitely did) get a library card with the sole intent of accessing databases like Ebscohost. So there’s that.

Usually the articles I read are clothing related (shocking, I know) and many of them present information that isn’t wholly revolutionary. However, in every research article, there is always a jewel. It might be a statistic that is fresh and undiscovered. It might be a quote that makes me think about the same old topic in a new way. Whatever it is, I savor those little moments.

Tonight I was reading, “Consumers’ clothing disposal behaviour – a synthesis of research results” by Kirsi Laitala. It was essentially a compilation of other studies dealing with why and how people dispose of clothing. Like I said before, nothing too radically new…but there was one sentence that struck me:

“Many consumers also reported on having inactive clothing in their wardrobes.”

Inactive clothing? We’ve all heard of active clothing…but never have I ever heard of clothing described as inactive. The author isn’t talking about clothing that is used for non-athletic purposes. Rather, she literally means clothing that isn’t getting any action (at least not on your body). These are the articles of clothing that just hang in our closets season after season waiting for us to lose 10 pounds, grow 5 inches, or suddenly start liking the color pink. We all have these ‘space wasters’ (as I like to call them) but how wonderful to call them inactive!

Secondhand-clothes-e1357537577213

So here’s a question. How active are your clothes? Are you getting the most out of every piece? Or do you have pieces that haven’t seen the daylight for years? If you’re not sure…just start with the ones that still have tags. Those are the epitome of inactive.

A smart wardrobe, no matter how big or how small, should be filled with active clothing. (And, no, I’m still not talking yoga pants. Although, there is a time and place for those too.) As you being to pack away your winter wardrobe, I encourage you to ask yourself how much action each item has received over the past few months. If the numbers are lingering (or non-existent), it may be time to pass that garment on to a better place.

Having trouble letting go of those inactive clothes? Think of them this way. They’re like that good looking guy that isn’t ready for a relationship and isn’t anywhere near your #1 fan. He may be good looking, but why waste time on someone that isn’t going to give you want you need. Get rid of him (don’t worry, he’ll find someone else that fits him much better) and get on with your (well dressed) life.

Leslie

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