Your True Personal Brand Identity Is Who You Are and The Characteristics That Define You. Today’s Stories Look at This From the Outside In
Joan and Lila’s Stories: Headscarves and Tutus
Joan was preparing for the interview stages of a significant progressive career change. When she was selecting the clothes she would wear for the various stages of the process she met with a personal dresser who said she has never failed in dressing a client for success at interviews.
She went on to say that she was fascinated by identity, fascinated by how people, organisations and communities express who they are, and that clothes played an important role in designing their brand identity. She said that it was about more than clothes: it was about cultural statements, tribes, businesses, individuals and who we are or who we think we are.
The interviews were representative of the very different work environments across the world, where Joan’s work would take her: from a multi-cultural and community-relations perspective. She needed and wanted to be respectful of this, and wearing headscarves was part of this. She wanted to do this while retaining her own style, identity, personality and uniqueness. Joan’s dresser was true to her word, in helping her to Dress For Success in securing the role.
Lila wore a pink tutu to her interview. It matched her pink hair. She also considered it her lucky colour, and it brought her luck that day, as she got the job. The role was within the design industry.
Lila brought an element of surprise and unpredictability to her WorkLife (in a good way). She redefined what is appropriate and goes by her own rules. Her unique style plays an important role in her life, using it to tell her story. Her character shines through in how she presents herself.
Alexander Isley — a graphic designer, whose work and thinking I admire and respect — shares a different perspective to mine on Lila’s Dress To Impress success story. He believes that people should be able to demonstrate their creativity, nonconformity and ability to think outside the box, through their work, conversation and within their personality.
This reminded me of actors in training. Many schools require them to wear blacks throughout their training, usually T-shirts and pants, clothes that are comfortable to move and work in. Long hair has to be tied back, and no make-up or jewellery (apart from wedding bands) can be worn. The purpose is to allow everyone to begin from the same place: a blank, or rather black, canvas, from which to build. Where the perception of their own characters and the characters they are creating are not affected by their clothing.
Interestingly I read an article by Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, who said when interviewing people she wants to know what they have read, the films they are interested in, and why they want to be at Vogue. She is more interested in finding out who they are more deeply, than anything they have put on to wear that morning. She said it is more important to be honest about who you are, than concerned about surface appearances. The advice she gave was ‘Be Yourself’.
Develop Your WorkLife Story
Being Different and Being the Same
Deep down each of us is different and deep down all of us are the same — we all want to feel we are unique, and we all want to feel we are part of something that is bigger than ourselves. When I was a teenager, I wore both Levi 501s and Wrangler jeans. This made me feel unique, and also that I was part of something that was bigger than myself. It resolved two things: it made me feel I was a non-conformist person; and it also made me feel I was part of a movement (more of Alexander Isley’s thinking which resonates with me).
Understanding Who You Are from the Outside In Assignment
Questions to Ask Yourself:
Is there anything about my clothes or image that gives an insight into my personality?
Do my clothes or image allow me to express myself in any way?
How am I different?
How am I the same?
There are no good or bad ways of dressing. From minimalist through to flamboyant, it is about honouring and respecting who you are, it is about being you, it is about expressing yourself, and letting your personality and uniqueness shine through.
This story is one of the stories featured in my book: How To Build Your True Personal Brand Identity. From The School Of WorkLife Book Series.
Click on the above title for an inside view of the book, where you will see the stories and assignments. Tap the link below to see the other books in the series.
The stories I write are based on real WorkLife challenges, obstacles and successes. In some stories I share my own experiences, and with permission stories of people I’ve worked with, whose names have been changed to protect their anonymity. Other persons and companies portrayed in the stories are not based on real people or entities.