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.
Lucille Pump High Heels, SJP By Sarah Jessica Parker
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.
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.
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, 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, 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.
Recycled Nylon Jogger Pants, Yoox
Marni Jacket, Yoox
Cotton Relaxed-Fit Shirt, Yoox
Steve Maden High Heels, Yoox
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?
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.
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.
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.