Saturday, October 8, 2011


A few weeks ago I attended a lecture on style and success presented by Joanne Blake.  She has a company Style for Success and she consults, gives presentations and provides coaching related to image, building confidence, dressing for success and how to sell yourself.   It was a very interesting presentation as she and the audience discussed the power of image, first impressions, how people perceive your image and situational dressing.

Joanne provides eight key decisions people will make of you within seconds of meeting:

  1. Economic level
  2. Intellectual ability
  3. Reliability
  4. Social position
  5. Level of refinement
  6. Moral standards
  7. Level of success
  8. Potential for success

When we meet someone new, especially in a professional capacity, we make assumptions.  These assumptions may be true or no where near reality.  Have you thought about your image and the first impressions you provide to those meeting you for the first time?  Some of us will also develop a certain style of clothing as an image brand.  Steve Jobs had a clothing image - black turtleneck and jeans.  The fictional character of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City had a image and we expect the actress who played her, Sarah Jessica Parker to have the same clothing image in real life.  I could further examples but I think you can see the theme I am suggesting here.  Do you have an image brand?  One of my branding images is my eye wear.  I choose eye glasses that act as an accessory and make a statement. 

Coco Chanel has said "If a person is poorly dressed you notice their clothing.  If they are well dressed, you notice the person".  As part of the lecture I attended, we discussed the clothing hierarchy for business wear for women and men.  There are four levels - executive, professional, informal and relaxed.  There are key elements within each level that defines the level.  Joanne provided one quote which is about image and first impressions.  "The finer the fabric, the footwear and accessory, the higher is your authority".   She also provided tips on a wardrobe game plan and how to choose colours, prints, fabrics and accessories.  I enjoyed her lecture and the way she presented the material.  We talked about dressing for the meetings and other business engagements you might have in a day and the image you wanted to project.  In closing  the lecture, she brought along several pieces of clothing - jackets, both business, professional and informal, skirts, jewellery and scarves to illustrate the clothing hierarchy.   

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