In a previous blog, What’s in Your Closet?, I discussed the importance of company culture and “fit.” Have you taken inventory of your closet since then? If not, I encourage you to do so! As you do, keep these tips in mind for cost effective ways to stretch your wardrobe while creating your own personal brand:
Though not a part of your official wardrobe, a good haircut goes a long way towards building your brand. The internet brings a whole new meaning to “do it yourself.” Consider the possibility of cutting and styling your own hair, or perhaps making your own shampoos and conditioners using everyday refrigerator finds.
Professional Wardrobe Basics
With few exceptions, the male and female wardrobe essentials are remarkably similar; including the four classic colors: black, grey, brown and navy blue. Both genders should start with at least two suits, black and navy. Six or more long sleeved shirts including whites, creams, pastels, and striped versions, are also great investments. A cardigan or two and a neutral all-weather coat will complement any professional look. And if you only have two pairs of dress shoes, think black and brown; of course, don’t forget to coordinate your belt with your shoes.
Gentlemen consider extending your wardrobe by purchasing pants in taupe or stone. Keep in mind that high quality neckties don’t have to be super expensive to be impressive; picture several possibilities when paired with existing garments before purchasing. Don’t be surprised if some fashion savvy female insists on borrowing your ties to sharpen her personal brand by creating an unexpected twist. It just means you have great taste. Deal with it happily!
Ladies consider adding knee length and below calf length skirts in taupe or stone. Also add classic, inexpensive short-sleeved shells and A-line dresses to peek through jackets. Consider purchasing shoes with nude finishes.
To expand wardrobe possibilities, consider using a buddy system to swap clothing with friends and family members. Be sure to shop sales, clearance racks and name brand reduction stores. Visit your favorite large department stores “off peak and out of season” section for unbelievable markdowns, especially when using in store coupons with additional discounts. Don’t forget to include thrift stores in your agenda, where name brands can often be bought for pennies on the dollar!
I started my own closet makeover months ago, beginning with the “professional” section first, then taking the time to try on everything else in my closet. Several times I almost cried in a panic of lost memories and gained pounds. My journey isn’t over, but now there are defined options and clear combinations that have become so much more obvious. My hope is that sharing my journey will assist in you making similar strides with your own personal brand!
Frieda Carmouche is a member of the Regional Navigator team specializing in training, educating and assisting employers, and career center staff throughout the Gulf Coast with community resources, outreach events and technical support in assisting job seekers with disabilities. A native Houstonian with a love of training and development, Frieda has been employed by Workforce Solutions for over 16 years.