A letter from a House of Colour stylist to any woman in a leadership role or woman in the public eye.
Congratulations – you’ve made it. You’ve succeeded where many don’t. You’ve become a role model for lots of younger women. You’ve broken that glass ceiling. It’s great to see so many women like you in strong leadership roles both in the public and private sectors.
Get ready - because whether you like it or not you will be subject to more scrutiny than your male counterparts. From your hair to your handbags, from your jackets to your shoes, you will have to get it right at all times. And as you already know first impressions count. Trust and respect is built first on your appearance.
I am giving you five pieces of advice allowing you to have confidence in your appearance which will in turn allow you to stand powerfully in your own space.
- Have your colours analysed. Know which are your best colours, as those will uplift your face and your complexion. Your clothes and make-up will blend and become part of you. You will always look well so attention will be given to what you say rather than what you are wearing. While you learn which your best colours are, you’ll also discover your best make-up and lipsticks. In a Harvard study, women were photographed wearing varying amounts of makeup – from barefaced, natural, professional and glamorous. Viewers considered the women wearing makeup to be more competent and the photograph of a women wearing a professional makeup look to be most competent. Too little or too much gives the wrong signal.
- Choosing your clothes needs to be easy. Find out about your body architecture and learn which clothing shapes suit you best. Ensure your clothes flatter your body shape. Your clothes also should show your personality. After all according to Rachel Zoe “Style is a way of saying who you are without having to speak.” Once you know your best styles and shapes, adopt your ‘uniform’. Your clothes will be in your best colours, style and you will be communicating as your authentic self.
- Women like you, in leadership roles, need to understand how to dress for authority. Darker colours are more authoritative – you will need to know which are yours. Not everyone suits black and for many it is a very aging, lifeless colour. Your best neutral colours might be dark olive with cream or bright navy with light grey. A pop of a third colour will give you enough contrast so you stay memorable. Authority and trust can also be built on the accessories you choose. That’s where you can create impact. Know what is just enough so you’re never over or underdressed for any occasion.
- Use your femininity. You don’t need to dress like the men who surround you. If a very corporate structured suit isn’t your style, then choose something softer. Without your femininity you may appear aloof, severe and unapproachable.
- Time is your most precious commodity. A limited panel of wardrobe options in your best colours and style will be very liberating. Create your capsule wardrobe so that you have one of everything you need. Buy less and buy better. However, don’t forget to have fun with fashion when you can.
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Guest blog by Maria Macklin stylist for Monaghan/Louth, ROI - 00353 87278 9547 - visit Maria's web page for more information
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