As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to think your whole life should be about business. And while there is some truth to the fact that your work/life balance isn’t going to be perfect from the get-go, that shouldn’t be the truth forever!
However, the one thing that will always go hand in hand with your professionalism? Your sense of style. You’re the face of your company, and even if you have separate branding in place, people are always going to be interested in you.
How are you supposed to dress in order to impress them? Will your innate sense of fashion and style impact the way the market sees you? Only if you’re unsure of the way the two tie together.
That’s what this post is here for. Creating a professional style out of the way you normally dress is a great way to market your business without even doing anything. Here are the best tips to keep in mind.
No Matter How You Dress, Your Style Should Send a Message
That’s the main aim of styling as an entrepreneur. The way you dress is going to send a message about the kind of work you do, the products you sell, and the company you’re the face of.
A dark turtleneck, perfectly groomed hair, and a pair of sleek trousers? This immediately brings up the face of a tech company – this was Steve Jobs’ signature style, and many similar serious entrepreneurs have followed in these footsteps.
Apply the same principle to your professional fashion. What do you want people to think when you step out of the crowd and introduce your business? You have the chance to invoke an image and you should go for it.
The Face of the Company Should Match the Branding
Now this point feeds neatly into the one above. Once you’ve decided what kind of style represents your company best, how can you pay this back into the fashion sense you’ve gone for? Because your branding should live up to the hard-won personal impression you’ve made so far.
So, what colors have you incorporated? What kind of edge does your style have when you’re at work? This should translate into the tone of your logo, fonts, and website design and layout.
The more these things match, the better a vision your customers are going to get of your overall business approach. If it’s easy to follow and easy to remember who you are by ‘sense’ alone, you’re going to stick in the front of their minds more than anyone else.
Having Fun Can Make You Approachable
You might not think about it when you’re trying to build a business, but it’s true. The more fun you’re willing to have, and the more risks you’re willing to take, can be seen throughout your personal style. So why not have a play with the way you look from time to time?
It’s easy to stay on theme when you do this. Indeed, if you’ve got long hair and it’s usually tied back in a high ponytail, you can try out some bubble braid hairstyles instead without compromising too much on your general look.
Little changes here and there can make your style as an entrepreneur seem more dynamic. And seeing as you are your business, that’s a good sign! For the people who work with you, and the market you’re trying to serve, that can help them to choose between you and the competition.
Dress for Each Situation
It’s good to have a template for your professional style. When you do, you never have to stray from it when the time comes to adapt and wear something a little out of the way. When you’ve got the basics down, it’s easy to put relevant pieces on top.
Say you’ve got a business dinner to attend, or you want to impress a high-priority investor in a meeting. If your usual style is quite minimal, you may need to add some maximalism to the ensemble to look the part.
Keep this in mind whenever you need to step out of your usual business zone. You’re out there to represent your business interests, and while you should never give up the style you’ve worked for, you can change it here and there for the best results.
Be Professional But Be Comfortable
Feeling comfortable in your own clothes is the key to being as professional as possible. And most people don’t know that! You don’t need to wear things that make you feel unlike you, or like you’re in a body that doesn’t quite belong to you.
You do your best work when you’re comfortable, and any scientific study will tell you that. You need to feel like you’re the one in charge, and that you’re in clothes that help to liberate that inner sense of workplace confidence. We all have it, and the right fashion can help you find it.
Don’t Be Too Restrictive
If you want to dress like the business you’ve made, only extend that rule to yourself. If you have employees, encourage them to have a professional style, but don’t make it a rule. Of course, attire should always be appropriate, but the only time they need to look like employees of your business is when they’re at networking events or speaking publicly on behalf of your company.
At any other point, it’s up to them what they put on. You can lead by example if you like, and the more motivating your workplace is the more your employees are going to follow! But this shouldn’t be the one thing you focus on. Choosing your professional style is one thing, regulating style is another, and no one is ever going to be comfortable if you fall into the latter camp!
Talk to a Stylist
If you’re really stuck on what to wear, this is the way forward. You’re not in this alone. You can talk to a professional to see what they think about representing your business through fashion alone.
Let them know what you’re planning – the things you want to wear, the colors and styles you’re a fan of that you think could fit, etc. They could help you pinpoint the style you need to go for, or could help you put certain themes together to find the perfect midpoint that works with your branding.
Double Check in the Mirror
If you’re headed out for an important meeting, or you’re off to a networking space or business conference, stop by the mirror for some pre-event checks. You’re not looking for imperfections here, and you shouldn’t be scrutinizing your appearance. Instead, you’ll want to follow a quick checklist to ensure your professional style meets the mark you’re going for.
Start by looking for pieces out of place. Even when you like to dress in a rugged and self-confessed ‘messy’ style, you’re going to plan each part of your outfit carefully. So make sure your hair is held in place, get a lint roller and go over your shoulders and lower legs, and make sure your shoes have been recently polished.
The more you look put together, even when you’re trying to look effortless, the more people are going to trust you to get the job done. That’s the best thing in the modern business world; you’re being true to your own style, but you could still walk into a high-class restaurant without a problem.
Put Together a Professional Capsule Wardrobe
We spoke about creating a template earlier. This is the perfect follow-up. A capsule wardrobe is a mini wardrobe that only has 10 or so pieces that can be mixed and matched. The creativity you can get out of this capsule is endless, and you can regularly add and take away new pieces to ensure you’re always looking fresh.
This also means you can create a line between your personal fashion and the professional style you want to go for. That’s very good for supporting your work/life balance. Indeed, the two never need to cross from here on out, meaning you can still wear what you like when you’re off the clock. You’re not always out here to look like a business owner – sometimes you just want to relax and look casual!
Professional Style Lasts a Long Time
Invest in it from the moment you start your business for the best results. No matter the way you prefer to dress, as long as it matches the brand you’re putting together, it’s going to look professional.
So dress confidently, dress comfortably, and adapt your style to the different situations you end up in. If you’re trying to build a business, you sometimes have to play by someone else’s rules. That’s no bad thing, as long as you’ve got a strong core style you can rely on. And if you’re ever worried you’re not quite hitting the mark, hire a stylist to go through your wardrobe with you.