There is so much buzz right now around crafting your “personal brand,” whether it’s for the purpose of getting a new job, promoting your own business or craft, or simply giving the world an accurate idea of who you are and what you stand for.
As three creatives, we love using fashion to promote our personal brands because how we present ourselves to the world is quite important in each of our lines of work. Here are our thoughts on how we use fashion to bolster the world’s perception of ourselves and how you can do it too:
To use fashion to cultivate your personal brand, you first have to figure out what your personal brand is. Do you want to be seen as a logical woman who has her head on straight? A free-thinking creative? I personally want to be known as the girl people can turn to for advice or assistance with any of their personal style woes, even if their preferences differ from my own.
We will soon be launching a styling service (stay tuned for more details on that coming within the next few days!), so it’s important to me to instill a sense of confidence in my potential clients. That means even though I love risky, out-of-the-box styles, I know not everyone does (and I don’t want my clients to think I’ll be dressing them all in high-waisted referee pants and lace crop tops!), so I need to make an effort to reflect a variety of styles within my own personal style so clients trust that I can meet their own fashion wants and needs.
This is why I chose a relatively simple look for this shoot. I realized a while ago that I almost never wear jeans in photo shoots, and I don’t think I have literally ever worn a t-shirt for a shoot, so I figured I would give it a try and make those seemingly simple pieces feel fashion forward! There are a lot of women out there who live in jeans and t-shirts, so I needed to make myself relatable and my style accessible to them.
So for you, what do you want to reflect? What do you want people to know about you before you ever even open your mouth? Keep your personal brand in mind when choosing outfits, and it will not steer you wrong.
As an independent musical artist, I choose how I am represented. I don’t have a record label telling the world who I am, and I like that.
As a natural performer, it’s easy to perform on and off the stage… to try to be something I’m not in order to feel “good enough.” I had to learn how to stop performing, and, as a dear friend put it, “just be.”
This year, I’ve begun to take that mindset on and off the stage; to do what I love because I love it, not to fulfill others’ expectations. It’s a privilege to “fill the air, the silence” (as my boyfriend says it) with whatever I choose and to remember that people show up to hear me and let me be myself with them. Nobody likes false advertisement, and with that in mind, I use style to visually represent my true self.
I prefer minimalism and consistency in my style. If I go a little out of the box from my day-to-day for a show, it’s because I want to use style as another way to express my creativity. However, with that exception, I usually prefer to let my personality and music do the talking. Choosing a simplistic, neutral-based style allows room for interpretation. It doesn’t make such a statement that others can automatically have a definitive opinion about me before actually knowing me. I desire to know others and be known truly, not superficially. I’m not saying I wear plain, homely things in some sort of “stick-it-to-the-man” mindset against our society’s focus on image. I do enjoy many trends in our culture, and I love expressing myself visually, but I do not depend on it.
All that being said, my style usually consists of mostly black, flowy pieces. I wear a lot of black because I view it as a confident color. (Honestly, I love any outfit that feels like pajamas.) I’ve come to love my nearly shapeless body, and I try to not deceive anyone into thinking it’s anything else. If my shape disappears under a flowy dress, that’s okay with me because in this heat, I’m just happy for cool clothing. As far as accessories, it’s safe to assume that I’ll almost always be wearing a key necklace that says “BE” on it to remind me to be real, along with the same gold studs, my mother’s ring, and black booties. I value consistency and simplicity. My style is constantly swaying between simply confident and confidently comfortable. That’s the mindset I try to live in as well. Confident but not conceited; comfortable and content with myself.
Whether you are a business owner, lawyer, or fashion guru, you are your brand. So, as your brand, the way you present yourself is the way you display your business. As a fashion blogger, photographer, and soon-to-be stylist, I use fashion as an avenue to make a good impression on others, thus creating a good impression for my business. Even if I’m simply running to Kroger to buy more Halo Top ice cream at 11pm, I still try to make an effort to dress nicely and look my best no matter the occasion because I never know when I’m going to run into a present or future client.
Always looking presentable and approachable instills a kind of trust with my clients. I’ve branded myself so they know they can trust me to always do the best work I can for them because I put that same kind of effort into myself (almost) everyday. Jogger pants, loafers and a chic, silk cami is one of my go-to outfits because it’s effortless yet sophisticated for wearing out, and I can still go home, plop down on the couch, and spend the day working and editing photos without ever having to change clothes!
When I started out branding myself as a photographer, I dove in headfirst and told people I was up for anything, from newborn sessions to weddings. Yet, I realized this wasn’t what I really wanted to do, so I began focusing on what I loved: fashion photography and portraiture. As a fashion blogger myself, I see both side of the lens, so I have a unique perspective when it comes to fashion photography, which sets me apart in this field and aligns with who I am as a photographer and a person.
It’s a lot easier (and more authentic) to cultivate your personal brand when you are honest with yourself about what you want to do. It’s no surprise that I didn’t get booked for many newborn sessions because my heart wasn’t really in it. Once I created my personal brand that aligned with each and every one of my passions, I began to see a lot more success in each of those fields, and you will too.