A model raising her right leg

How to Merge Your Personal Style and Professional Persona

It’s easier than you think.

When it comes to branding yourself, it can often be confusing how to blend your personal style with your professional persona. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are my tips on how to fabulously fuse your personal brand with your profession.

Consider the Source

When shopping for ourselves, we often look to style icons, celebrities, or tastemakers for inspiration on the looks we want to achieve. However, when it comes to branding, it is suggested to take a page – not the entire book – from your favourite public figure by remembering that authenticity is key. Focus on pieces that speak to you; the idea is to be inspired, not an imitation.

And Just Like That

Sarah Jessica Parker, aka SJP, is known for her fashion and style influence. As an actress playing the iconic Carrie Bradshaw, her career as a lifestyle/fashion writer grants her the creative freedom to wear what she wishes, as well as the budget for a Hollywood wardrobe consultant. Not all of us are as lucky, so I say consider where you work and add a bit of flair accordingly with a pair of her famous pumps. And just like that, you too can look equally fabulous.

Sarah Jessica Parke sitting and smiling behind a collection of shoes
SJP By Sarah Jessica Parker 
Windsor Pump High Heels

Windsor Pump High Heels, SJP By Sarah Jessica Parker

Lucille Pump High Heel

Lucille Pump High Heels, SJP By Sarah Jessica Parker 

Fawn High Heels

Fawn High Heels, SJP By Sarah Jessica Parker 

How to Style

The Windsor pump seems inspired by the blue Manolo Blahniks in season three’s infamous wedding scene, but, you can own a similar version for a fraction of the cost and still look incredible. Keeping your personal brand in mind, maybe the crystal buckle isn’t for you, but you still prefer a feminine element, so try the Lucille pump with a ladylike bow in the back. 

Or maybe you’re a fan of the pump, but the colour doesn’t quite capture your personality, which may be a bit more subdued. For those whose style is straight to the point, I suggest giving the Fawn – a classic pump that comes in over 27 colours and prints – a go. While I understand the ease of access that comes with online shopping, I must suggest that you visit Level Shoes or one of SJP’s storefronts in Yas Mall (Abu Dhabi), Dubai Hills Mall, The Dubai Mall, or the concept store in Mall of the Emirates and test them out to see which pump truly fits your personality. 

Consider the Context and Audience

What are you trying to say through your personal style? Do you want to be seen as trustworthy? Creative? Detail-oriented? What are the top three character traits you want people to perceive when they connect with you? And how can those be conveyed through personal style? Write down those three words and then pull pieces from your wardrobe that you feel identify with those words and why. Don’t feel like your wardrobe reflects those words too well? This goes back to brand messaging.

For example, House of Devereaux shares a brand philosophy with Harry Winston (“people will stare, make it worth their while”) and holds fast to the brand motto, “it’s all in the details”. The brand emphasises words like power, feminine, and detailed, and this is reflected through product offerings in bold and strong colours, elaborate trims, and fierce leopard print lining. When people see the brand designer in any blazer, they immediately associate those pieces with the brand and the personality and brand messaging of the designer, Dominique Devereaux.

Blending the Brand with Style

Style is only a piece of the personal branding puzzle, but it’s an important element, and you can begin with your wardrobe. There may be pieces or silhouettes that you are most comfortable in, like pants as opposed to dresses. Or maybe there is a pair of trousers you receive compliments when wearing. More importantly: do they make you feel comfortable and great when you wear them? Assess the fit and silhouette, and then allow those key pieces to be your focal point. 

And if you look and feel good in them, don’t be afraid to buy them in every colour that suits you. Showing up authentically is always in style. It always leads back to authenticity. Being authentic in your style allows you and others to be clear about who you are and how you want to be perceived. This lets potential clients know that you take yourself and your brand seriously. Take a glance at the House of Devereaux brand board and how it implements key elements into products, services, and personal branding.

Brand Board by House of Devereaux
Brand Board by House of Devereaux

Consider the Industry

Not all industries are created equal, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t stand out in the presence of other professionals. Modest fashion is becoming increasingly modern and allowing flexibility through fashion. You can be respectful of the country and your company’s culture while not compromising your own personal style.

MODERN-ity Wear

Many brands are being birthed from this great country, emphasising modest modern wear. Take, for instance, Bouguessa’s Sheikha Long Trench in a gorgeous shade of green. It’s a classic cultural silhouette with a statement colour edge.


Sheikha Long Trench, Bouguessa

How to Style

I suggest wearing all black, as seen in the reference photo and a classic black pump like the aforementioned Fawn pump from SJP. Keep it neutral. Maybe your style is a bit more understated, but with a bit of drama. The Sara Shirt Dress, also from Bouguessa, gives you a modest length of lightweight cotton with flowy pleats and darting in the back. 

Sara Shirt Dress Front

Sara Shirt Dress, Bouguessa

How to Style

This dress is easy – a statement shoe that you feel most fabulous in, be it pump or flat, can definitely work. White is one of the best neutrals, and every woman needs it in her wardrobe. Whether blouses, dresses, or your basics, you can never have too many white pieces. The Sara dress is also versatile as you can open it up and turn it into a duster by pairing it with an undershirt and trousers.

Consider the Casual 

Maybe your industry doesn’t require professional attire to be so restrictive. You could be the owner of a yoga studio or wellness brand, but still want to appear more approachable. There are ways you can show up polished and reflect your personal style simultaneously.

Work for Sport

Athleisure has seen a real resurgence recently, with brands like Nike, Reebok, and Adidas creating looks that can leave the gym and casually transition into a meeting with like-minded colleagues. The details of this Adidas coat dress are playful and functional as the drawstrings bring in the waist, making it flattering for all body types.

Black Coat Dress

Black Coat Dress, Adidas

Right on Target

American retailer Target is known for its affordable fashions and featured collaborations with major designers like Jason Wu and Altuzarra, as well as emerging fashion influencers like Kahlana Barfield Brown. While Target does not yet ship to the UAE, unfortunately, we can still aspire to wear athleisure looks with these pieces as the perfect inspiration. Check out how to get an inspired version of the look below.

Kahlana for Target
Recycled Nylon Jogger Pants

Recycled Nylon Jogger Pants, Yoox

Red Marni Jacket Yoox

Marni Jacket, Yoox

Cotton Relaxed-Fit Shirt, Yoox

Steve Maden High Heels

Steve Maden High Heels, Yoox

Slip-on Runner Sneaker

Ralph Lauren Kacie Slip-on Runner Sneaker, Yoox

How to Style

Who doesn’t love the versatility of an oversized white button-down shirt? What makes the joggers and jacket combo even better is that each piece can serve as a base for other looks. You can wear the jacket with a great pair of denim, and the joggers with a lightweight top and trainers (like the black Ralph Lauren slip-ons or the Fawn pump from SJP). Did I mention that the nylon joggers are made from recyclable material? 

Consider Yourself

The most important piece to the personal branding puzzle is you. Think about who you are, your body type, the colours that appeal to you, and whether those colours work for you. We, as women, are guilty of going to our closets and often saying that we have nothing to wear. In actuality, we need a fresh pair of eyes to evaluate what we already have, what we can work with, and what we may need to replace. This is where personal stylists and brand managers like myself come in. We help you to determine how to showcase your best self. 

What Shape Am I?

Unclear on how to go about growing your personal brand? Consider your body type. Identifying what works for your shape and accentuates your best features will make styling yourself that much easier. No two women’s bodies are the same, so take some time and assess what shape you are.

Body type chart by House of Devereaux
Body Type Chart by House of Devereaux

How to Shapeshift

Spend an afternoon out and about, trying on things that are familiar to you and outside your comfort zone. Should you find yourself stuck in a style rut, you can always book a personal shopping/styling session with House of Devereaux.

What Colours Work for Me?

Not all colours are created equal, and it is best to identify what shades and tones work best for you. They assist with changing your mood and overall brightness, and can affect how approachable you appear to others. Want a colour change? Colour analysis is a service provided under the umbrella of professional branding services at House of Devereaux and can help you identify what works for you. Other women in the local industry specifically specialise in this service, like House of Colour.

Complete Personal Package

From identifying your brand messaging to learning how to build a professional wardrobe to professional branding photos (all based on your personal style and tailored to your industry), House of Devereaux specialises in branding services that can take your brand to a new level. Establishing your brand message or even rebranding helps to have a feminine touch, so they work with Elle Laine, a professional photographer. She has extensive knowledge of branding and marketing.

Elle Laine Photography

Ready to Brand/Rebrand?

You can book a professional branding session if you are interested in a service that captures your personality without compromising your style.

Dominique Devereaux is the owner and head of House of Devereaux, which offers variety of services ranging from custom design to closet reorganisation, personal/virtual styling, and professional brand development. You can find her making custom magic at www.houseofdevereaux.com or @houseofdevereaux on Instagram. 


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Travel Wardrobe

Your Essential Travel Wardrobe Is Here

All the essentials for a stylish trip, with or without the kids.

Travelling can be a stressful time, so why not make it as enjoyable as possible? As we enter the travel season, I’m here to help you make your airplane rides chic and comfortable. With some of my favourite pieces from local and international brands, you’ll be ready for any destination in style.

When dressing to fly there is such a range of styles, from just out of bed to fully suited and booted — I like to go somewhere in between, rocking a super comfortable yet stylish vibe. A look I love for flights is wearing a silky slip dress with chunky boots and knitwear layered over the top; this look is fashionable and comfortable, perfect for long hauls.

Cool and Comfortable Chic

Another look I love for travelling are ankle grazer trousers and a comfortable top. My absolute go-to is my draped back sweater; this is one of all-time favourite pieces. With organic cotton and uber-soft jersey, it ticks all the boxes for stylish travel with ultimate comfort.

The third favourite combo is the tone-on-tone sweatpant outfit — you can chose a cropped sweater or an oversized and roll up the sleeves to give it some shape. Additionally, to style it into true-cool chic lounge style, layer it with a biker jacket or oversized blazer. The on-trend black cap of the moment will also compliment any colour combo.

I love that casual wear has had a huge influx over Covid as so many brands have now stepped up a gear in their style offering while simultaneously making oversized jersey a completely acceptable day-time look. 

Black knit and Cream Silk skirt Pinterest
Black knit and cream silk skirt @pinterest
Deborah Henning Draped back Sweater
Deborah Henning Draped Back Sweater
Sweatpant combo with leather biker jacket @pinterest
Sweatpant combo with leather biker jacket @pinterest

When shopping recently, I can across this three-piece set from Massimo Dutti and I was absolutely sold! This look comprised of three pieces of knitwear, which can be worn separately with other looks too and I have never felt so comfortable! It was like wearing pyjamas but looking flight chic. This is how it looks on the left online and how it was on me.

Then I decided to take it up a gear; you could style it with a bold white blazer and a leather bag for all your flight essentials. This will definitely be my next airport lounge look! 

Casual Knitwear 3 piece, Massimo Dutti
Casual,Knitwear three piece, Massimo Dutti
Deborah wears Massimo Dutti Knitwear
Deborah wears Massimo Dutti knitwear
Styled with white blazer & leather bag
Sweatpant combo with leather biker jacket

Bags To Go

Bags can be the bane of your life when travelling unless you get ones that really suit your needs. Pre-kid, I would love checking in all my bags and only carry a small bag with my passport and documents in; this way there’s less opportunity for me to lose things or leave them behind.

A great all rounder is this travel sleeve from Olivia & Co — big enough to hold your phone, documents, tickets and passport and discreet enough to feel stress-free in the airport. Now that I have a two-year-old in tow, I need places for snacks, books, toys, wipes, and just about anything else I can think of to stop him banging on the pilot’s door at 32,000 feet (this actually happened). So, I use the Suveno Diaper Bag which is a backpack shape and holds everything you need, including three bottles.

Oliva & Co Family Travel Wallet
Oliva & Co Family Travel Wallet
Suveno Diaper Bag
Suveno Diaper Bag
Pac Safe Backpack
Pac Safe Backpack

There are so many travel bag options out there for parents. I definitely researched too much when trying to find a good one; this has done the job and fared quite well considering how much it’s been used.

For the adult backpack, I use the CamSafe backpack from PacSafe — these are high quality anti-theft bags that use anti-slash fabric, have tons of lockable pockets, key and wallet attachment areas, as well as block your cards from being skimmed. You can also lock it to the table at a bar or restaurant, which may sound excessive but you can never be too sure in a new city.

These are not the most fashion savvy looking bags but they are quite minimal and understated, so I let it pass considering the benefits they offer. In addition, I have put an Apple Air Tag into the bottom of the bag, so in case it does get stolen, we can track where it is. 

Practical Essentials

If, for some reason, the backpack isn’t enough for our in-flight packing needs, I absolutely cannot take a hold-all and trudge it around the airport; my back aches, my shoulder aches, they have one big space and no compartments. Trying to find my laptop at security in between eye masks, shades, neck pillows, and healthy snacks is literally the worst! So instead, I opt for a four-wheeler roll-along hand luggage-size case.

This way, I save my back and shoulders and can easily locate things when opened at security. I really like the latest Clifton collection from Antler. They come in a cute colour palette and have a hard case which is a must for me.

When it comes to accessories, I keep a few essential items to make my trip more enjoyable; The basics I take are flight socks for good circulation, a hydrating face mask to stay nourished, some nutritious snacks and a water bottle. 

Clifton Cabin with Pocket
Clifton Cabin with Pocket
WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
The Light Long Knitted Cardigan
The Light Long Knitted Cardigan

There’s a good reason why those headphones come free on your flight: they’re annoying, noisy, and terrible quality. Noise-cancelling headphones can help you drown out any background noise on the plane and have been one of my best purchases over the years. I use Sony ones but I hear good things about Bose too. 

Travel packs are something that have been mentioned to me, but I haven’t tried yet. For my next trip, I’ll be purchasing some to help the packing organisation and separating kids things from mamas to help with sanity when we’re moving around a lot.

Lastly, my must have for the plane a giant lovely cosy knit — I’ve got about 10 styles as I actually LOVE knitwear, even in Dubai! I have bought from COS and All Saints mostly, but recently I found this gem from Mikutas which I adore. I am always cold on the plane and usually we’re landing somewhere colder than Dubai, so these are also fab for the airport and ride to the hotel. 

Whether you’re going on a business trip or a pleasure cruise, looking and feeling your best while traveling can help you make random connections with strangers — which I love doing on planes. Also, being organised with the above items helps reduces the stress, especially when travelling with little ones.

May your next trip be stylish and stress-free! 

Deborah Henning launched her own namesake label in 2014 after working with up and coming brands in the Middle East as well as Alexander McQueen in London, much loved Australian brand Sass & Bide, and British brand Ghost. Follow her on Instagram and check out her website.


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