A personal brand used to be something only a small group of people cared about, but times have changed! Nowadays, if you want to make your mark, stand out from the crowd, and open doors for yourself in both your career and personal life, a personal brand is key.
The good news — whether you know it or not, you already have one. So the question is: are you intentionally shaping it? Because once you start building your brand, you become the boss of your own story. The master of perception. Which is exactly what I’ll help with in this post.
Keep reading to see how to shape your personal brand through the clothes you wear. And since I just went through this process myself, I’ll use my own experience as an example!
The Beginning Of Your Personal Brand
My brand upgrades often center around a photoshoot. Here’s why that works like magic:
First off, having a deadline motivates me. Once the shoot is in the calendar, I know I must get the branding work done. Plus, I always need good photos and videos to share here on my site and on my instagram.
You may not need visual content like I do, but having photos you love of yourself is still a brilliant idea for boosting your brand. Regardless, this process I’m about to share will work wonders whether you have a shoot or not. Which leads me to the next part…
I like my shoots to be low key. After spending 2 decades styling massive productions with racks of clothes and huge crews, I don’t want it to feel like a big to-do! Because A.) it’ll feel daunting and I’ll put it off. And B.) that’s just not my style. And since I happen to live in NYC with the best photographers in the world — many of whom are my friends — I can send a text and ask, “Hey do you want to do a shoot?” and we’ll get something on the calendar. No big deal!
I decided to run with the idea of simplicity on this shoot and do my own makeup. (I always do my own hair because I never love my hair right after it’s “done”.) Since we’d be on the city streets, pulled back for most of the shots (further away), there’d be less emphasis on my face. In other words, it’s more forgiving! Also, I don’t wear much makeup anyway so I’m comfortable with my natural look — I can always add in a filter if necessary 😉
Define The Vibe, Set The Vision
The branding work begins by defining the vibe and setting the vision. Before outfit planning, I go onto Pinterest to see what calls me in. I look less at actual clothes, and more to specific moods. It’s about capturing my brand’s spirit. To further fine-tune this vision, I ask myself a simple yet powerful question:
“How do I want to feel?“
This question becomes the guiding force and creates the tone for how I’ll present myself and the impression others will receive when they’re in my presence.
I chose 3 words: daring, tasteful and zesty
Start With What You Have, Get What You Need
Obviously as a stylist, the outfits are a huge part of my brand. It’s actually a big part of everyone’s brand, but for me it’s an opportunity to showcase my styling —like, “This is how I do it for myself!”
ALSO, outfit creation is my superpower — meaning, I am IN my power when I put together outfits (whether for myself or my clients) — so the whole process of assembling looks raises my energy. When you’re building your brand, it’s important to tap into that power. Otherwise, you’ll want to hire people that can help put your pieces together so you get the best results.
Out of the four looks I planned for my photoshoot, 75% consisted of items I already owned. This aligns with one of the core principles of my styling practice, which emphasizes the importance of using what you already have. That’s why my brand upgrades always start with closet shopping — begin with what you have and then get what you need.
The On Brand Outfits
Now to what I wore…
The first look was pulled straight from my closet. It was the same outfit I wore to a friend’s 50th birthday party a few months ago. I felt incredible that night so I knew it would put me in the same energy on the shoot.
For the second look, I chose a dress which you’d think was a one and done solution. But when I tried it on, there was an issue with the shoes.
Sneakers looked terrible. Low boots were just wrong. And sandals felt too expected.
Then I remembered my tall suede boots. They weren’t right as-is… but with a little tweak — they were perfect.
Look #3 featured my orange blazer, which I had purchased for my previous shoot last fall. As sustainability is an integral part of my brand, reusing my clothes perfectly aligned with my principles. When I combined the blazer with a vintage tee I had recently bought, I found myself a bit stumped about what to wear on the bottom. Jeans seemed like the only option. But when I saw a selfie, I realized they wouldn’t work. (You know when you think something looks great until you see yourself in the mirror…it was this.)
Then I remembered my white wide-leg pants, which I had owned for ages and had also worn in my previous shoot. They proved to be the ideal choice, especially when paired with my light pink sneakers.
Finally, for the fourth outfit, I decided to go with a monochrome green combo that’s SO ME… for an everyday look. What I quickly realized — it lacked the daring element I desired to showcase in my brand. I’d have to start from scratch and find something else for look #4.
A couple days later I saw my colorful pencil skirt in the closet and decided it would be fun with a simple tee and black sandals. Accessories would be important for this outfit because a black tee (even though it’s a statement) couldn’t hold its own. I ended up layering necklaces which is one of my signature details.
So there you have my elevated brand — daring, tasteful and zesty! By sprinkling these elements into each look, I embody the energy of these attributes, and establish a recognizable presence that reflects my personality and values.
Speaking of elevated brands, check out my client Krysty! Last month I helped her put together outfits for a shoot, and she felt like a rock star! (She looked like one too!)
Out of the 7 looks she used, half were from items she already owned. I remember telling her we’d start in her closet, and she was skeptical that we’d find anything for her shoot… we ended up finding a lot (including the sequin skirt!)
Are you ready to elevate your personal brand? Whether you have an upcoming shoot or simply wish to refine your image for a compelling presence, we can collaborate either in-person or virtually and meticulously curate your appearance so you leave a lasting impression. Go here to book a call and let’s see how I can help!
Ready for your own photoshoot? Get the NYC VIP treatment with me and my creative team! We’ll make you feel like a rock star and then capture the unforgettable experience in a collection of stunning photos. Book a call to get started.