OK admit it! You care about how you look.(At least I hope you do!) Say it out loud, scream it to the clouds, because you SHOULD care about your appearance. It is not frivolous or vain to want to project a sparkling image and if that means shopping til you drop, getting a makeover or highlighting your hair, YOU ARE WORTH IT!
As women entrepreneurs or professional women, how you present yourself is an important step in your success.
Remember that like it or not, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So make certain that the YOU that the world is seeing is the one that you feel confident portrays your authentic image. Research says that upon meeting someone, it takes 10 seconds for that person to form an opinion of you. Is what they see, what you want them to?
I have been a fashion follower all my life. I like to claim that having been gifted with a mink diaper cover at 6 weeks old, my love of fashion took hold and has ruled my life, sometimes to the point of obsession (not a good thing!). However, my foray into fashion has taken me from GLAMOUR Magazine where I traveled the country and brought the pages of the magazine to life, to a job as a Fashion Director at a high end retailer, to my own company, Fashion is Fun where for 20 years I produced benefit fashion shows, primarily using “real” people as models.
It was while doing these shows that I realized just how important fashion can be to fueling your sense of self. I would often work with women who felt undeserving or incapable of walking the runway. This was either due to lack of a positive self-image, stage fright or just plain not wanting to do it. However, they would willingly put themselves out there, for the sake of walking with their child, which is why they volunteered in the first place.
I would say that all of the people with whom I worked, ended up having a positive experience, one that will remain with them their entire life. And why? I helped them to see their authentic self through the right clothes, a change of attitude and a dose of hearty laughter.
BACK TO YOU..
As amazing women entrepreneurs and professional women, you are shaping and/or re-shaping your lives and with that comes the ever so important task of creating and/or re-creating your authentic image.
There are certainly basic suggestions to follow for different body types and colors and styles which will enhance your looks, but I have THREE key ways that you can look will help you determine, create or investigate the image YOU want to project. The styles, silhouettes and fashion must haves come later.
1. YOU’RE NEVER FULLY DRESSED WITHOUT A SMILE!
You can be wearing a CHANEL suit but if you have a dour expression, the person next to you dressed head to toe in Target (one of my favorite places to pick up fun, trendy items) wearing a huge smile will attract the clients to them. The first thing I recommend putting on when meeting a client, leading a group, heading to the grocery store or doing a downward facing dog in Yoga, is a smile. That is your best accessory. Trite but true. Try it and see!
2. YOUR STYLE ICON IS……
Whose style do you admire? Oprah, Michelle Obama, your yoga instructor, your mentor, Sarah Jessica Parker? Why does their image/style/manner of dress appeal to you? Is it what they wear, or how they wear it? Are they outlandish, conservative, colorful? Most likely their personality mirrors their style of dress.
For years, way back in the 80’s all of the women who worked at Fashion Magazines dressed head to toe in black. Every day. You know, I have to say that often their expressions matched their funereal garb. I’m not saying black is bad, but to wear it every day, well that certainly doesn’t take any creativity, and really who are you?
Here is a great excuse to go out and buy a few fashion magazines, or gossip publications. Or go online and search…..Go through and tear/cut/print out photos of people whose style you admire. Just as you would an image board if you were hoping to manifest certain things into your life, create a notebook of looks that call out to you. Even if you think you could never wear them due to your coloring, size or amount in your bank account, DO IT. You may be surprised at the items, hairstyles, colors which draw your eye.
I recommend doing this once a week for a month. After four weeks (or however long you choose to cut and collect) look at your choices and try to incorporate at least one item into your wardrobe. (You needn’t spend a fortune, but that’s another article). I guarantee you will feel fantastic by doing this and your authentic self is on it’s way.
3. TAKE A DEEP BREATH and….
Visualize. As I’m sure all of you know, centering yourself by meditation or yoga, or simply focusing on your breath, does wonders for the soul, the mind and the spirit.
When looking to create, enhance, discover your authentic self, here is a brief meditation that will assist you with the process. Take a few deep cleansing breaths (I know, I know, I just love saying that). Get yourself into a meditative state however you choose. When you do, picture a trunk or suitcase. (the image I like is that of an old fashioned steamer trunk). Your chosen type of luggage is locked. Oh dear, oh my. But alas and alack, YOU have the key to open it.
Select the image of a key in your mind, whether it is an old fashioned skeleton key or a diamond encrusted Tiffany Key – this is the key to unlocking your authentic self. Take the time to picture yourself unlocking your chosen valise. When you do finally take the key and turn the lock, gently open the suitcase (or whatever you have selected). From the depths of the case, colors will emerge, Now focus on the colors – picture them swirling around you, dancing, leaping, frolicking.
As they finally come to rest on your body what is the dominant color and shape that you have created? Picture yourself speaking to a group of people wearing your new “outfit”. Does it feel right? Are you happy and communicating in the way that suits you?
This is your authentic self, waiting to be released into the world.
ENJOY HER! Do this meditation whenever you feel the urge or need to enhance, embrace or shift your image. YOU KNOW the power of meditation, and this is just one more way to manifest the authentic YOU.
In a few weeks, I’ll be bringing you Fall’s Fun Fashion Finds!
Wishing you a fabulously fashionable day.
P.S. Leave us a comment below. As professional women or women entrepreneurs what challenges have you had in creating your authentic image? We would love to hear from you and as always feel free to share this post with the women in your life.
Kim conducts seminars on Awakening the Authentic You, Frugal Fashion, and Casual Friday does not mean Sweats! She also works one on one to help women uncover their authentic style.
photo credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunwalk999/6823113582/