What Do Red Shoes, the Good Wife and a Pink Purse Have in Common?  

They Create a Sense of Who You Are That You Can Project to Others

Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.
Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning

????????????????????????????????????????My mum was born in an era when women always dressed up when leaving the house. And that wasn’t for a night on the tiles but for everyday occasions like a trip to the local grocery store. I always remember her looking elegant, and she had a penchant for clothes and accessories.

A few years ago, when my mum was in her early 80s, she asked me if I could pick her up a piece of costume jewellery. She wanted a necklace. I asked what colour she’d like, and I suggested perhaps something in beige because it would be quite versatile and go with everything, like a pair of beige shoes. 

My mum gave me a horrified look and said she’d never worn beige shoes in her life, it was such a boring and uninspiring colour and that she always wore red shoes because they were more fun and different. My mum was always full of surprises, and on reflection, her uniqueness always stood out, but in a very subtle way. I admit red shoes might not sound that subtle, but they do, I think, give an insight into the fun element my mum has always brought to life and allowed her personality to shine through.

I’m a fan of the TV series The Good Wife. At the end of the 1st series, I watched the interview with Daniel Lawson, the costume designer, where he spoke about the importance of each actor’s wardrobe in helping them develop their character and their story. He strived to have the wardrobe underscore what each actor was doing to help tell the story. It was important that the wardrobe didn’t upstage or detract in any way.

Then as the characters and their stories developed, he began to make subtle changes: for Alisha Florrick, as she settled back into work and became more comfortable with her work environment and the situation she’d been saddled with, he began by having her wear more jewellery, allowing a glimpse into her personality. For Diane Lockhart, who does pay attention to her style, he had her wearing vintage pins which portray her as the businesswoman she is, chic and elegant. For Kalinda Sharma, it was all about the job, and she wore very minimal jewellery and wearing the same necklace was her thing. He did the same for the male characters in developing their style to support the development of their character and story.

This is the same for professionals in their WorkLife today. They want to look the part, and they want to be taken seriously for their work, but they also want to allow their personality to shine through. And whether that’s a subtle development similar to Alisha once they become comfortable in their role and environment, or more obvious as with Diane to portray their fashion sense and being comfortable with their position of power, or like Kalinda keeping it minimal and making it about being good at the job. It’s up to each individual to do this in a way that allows their personality to shine through their personal brand.

Interestingly I was working with a client recently who was preparing for the interview stages of a significant progressive WorkLife change. And 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 had never failed in dressing a client for success in interviews while enabling them to make their personal brand statement.

The interviews were representative of the very different work environments across the world where my client’s work would take her to from a multicultural and community relations perspective. She needed and wanted to be respectful of this while retaining her own style and brand personality. Her dresser was true to her word, in helping my client to dress for success in securing the role.

For me, it’s my signature perfume, colourful lipsticks and my wacky pink Ted Baker purse that has started many a conversation and brings a smile to people’s faces. 

I think we all need something that allows our uniqueness, personality and fun side to shine through our personal branding.

What is something about your appearance that gives an insight into what’s unique about you and allows your personality to shine through?

The reviews I write are by way of reflecting on cultural experiences to include performing, visual and literary arts that touched my heart and my mind and making sense of them in the context of learning and development in both the community and workplace.



This story was originally published on 26/2/15. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.


School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

Today’s story was featured in chapter five of my book, Your WorkLife Your Way Who Do You Think You Are? Your Identity Your Brand,

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

 How To Build Your True Personal Brand Identity (Today’s story also featured in this book).

How To Use Your Voice To Express and Protect Your Identity 

How To Live True To Who You Really Are 

You can view the complete collection of books here: The School of WorkLife Book Series.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of www.schoolofworklife.com My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.