What message is in your style? -

What message is in your style?

What are your thoughts on style?

What answers are coming up? Are you losing interest in reading further? Are there any judgements? Are you curious?

I should say upfront that this post is not about how to dress in the most flattering way or what dress to pick for your speaking gig. This post is about thinking of style as your language and how you can express all of who you are with it.

Whatever you think about clothes and fashion, you cannot ignore the concept of style. Style is simply a form of communication, the way you present yourself to the world, the way you show people you relate to yourself and others. As the late iconic fashion designer Oscar de la Renta said:

“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.”

No wonder that there is no one formula fits all solution here.

My business style

In business, style helps to create consistency and credibility for you. People feel safer because they know who you are and what you stand for. But style is not simply about what you wear, it is also the way you communicate, the way you do things in your business. Style is that external filter through which you can attract what is right for you or stay away from what is less in alignment with who you are. So why would you want to be anything less than authentic with your style?

To help you embrace your style in a more authentic (and fun!) way I am sharing four unconventional approaches here.

How to be visible with your style while remaining comfortable and true to yourself 

1. Make time for it

The most common excuse I hear (from myself included) about style is not having enough time for it. Just like we say we don’t have enough time for mediation or exercise or that afternoon walk because we have so much to do. It’s all about prioritising. So why does style need to be prioritised?

Consider this, even when you don’t make an effort with style or believe that you ignore anything style-related, you are still making a statement and sending a message with your choice, intentionally or unintentionally. Embracing style does not mean you become more girly, frivolous, less intelligent or less serious. By embracing the language of style you simply become more conscious of the message you send to the world about yourself. Would you not want to put more intention into how you show up? Remember that style is your filter and it has the power to attract the right people and opportunities for you, to get you noticed, to be remembered. Equally, it filters away those who are less aligned with you. Think about how much more time you would have if you didn’t have to chase people or opportunities because the right people notice and remember you for the right reasons.

Tip: Prepare the clothes you need to wear the night before, this is the easiest way to avoid last minute style stress.

2. Brighter and bolder does not always equal more visible

As women in business, often we dress up to get noticed, to stand out from the crowd and to show that we are confident. So the brighter the colour – remember that tip about wearing a red dress you probably have come across many times – the bolder the accessories or the fancier that outfit, the better. That’s you showing up fully visible. Right? Not necessarily. It is true that more people will notice you or your clothes. But it is possible to hide who you really are behind bold clothes. Just as it is possible to be truly visible in a demure style. The first to me, when it is not an expression of who you are, is not being fully visible, it is being very smart about how you hide who you are while appearing in front of others. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that each time you put on a red (or another bright coloured) dress, you are hiding. I invite you here to consider what the motivation behind your choice is – to invite people in or to put a distance between you and others.

If bold is not your style, look at how Parisians dress - simple but elegant

If bold is not your style, look at how Parisians dress – simple but elegant


3. You are not your profession

A lot of women I meet love style and would love to express more of who they are with their clothes but they are afraid of taking a risk and leaving a safe zone of not standing out too much. They are afraid of being judged. It is especially relevant if there is a general ‘style expectation’ in your tribe or profession and it is different to how you desire to express yourself. Say, you are an alternative therapy specialist or healer and you love to wear elegant structured dresses, heels and red lipstick when you go out to network or meet potential clients. You may be afraid of being judged and not being taken seriously. Or as a style/image consultant, do you feel the pressure to look like you have stepped off the cover of the magazine, because if your outfit is too simple or understated people will think you are a fraud? Perhaps you know a lawyer who does not identify with dark suits. Yes, it is important to look appropriate for the occasion and make the right impression with your style. But there is a fine line between being professional and credible and wanting to please others and meet their expectations at a cost of your own desire.

4. Explore the judgement, don’t run away from it

In Rome, inspired by the local ways of day time dressing and no longer afraid of being overdressed

In Rome, inspired by the local ways of day time dressing and no longer afraid of being overdressed

We are told that judging others is bad, as is feeling jealous of others. So we run away from these unpleasant emotions. But what we are often not told is that your judgements against others can help you learn more about your own desires. For a while, I was afraid of being judged for being overdressed and judged women who allowed themselves to dress up without a reason. Turns out, I love dressing up and need no reason. Next time you feel triggered by another woman’s style, give yourself permission to explore why.

Tip: These are good questions to ask yourself in relation to other women’s style are

What do you admire in other women’s style? Is it elegance, is it courage to stand out, is it creativity in how they combine colours or tension their outfit? Hint, this is what you admire in yourself and may want to express it more.

Do well dressed women trigger you? What is the trigger? Don’t be afraid to go there, you will find a lot of eye-opening answers there. It may be that you feel inferior and want to avoid talking to this woman. Or do you go into superiority and tell yourself that you are more serious or intelligent and don’t need clothes to show off with? These are signs that you want something that this woman is embodying but are not giving yourself permission to even explore it. Find out what it is and try embodying it for yourself.

 And finally, don’t forget to have fun with it, experiment, allow yourself to feel good.


If you would like to have more fun with style and receive weekly inspiration and ideas to try, sign up for my Monday Style Inspiration Newsletter here.

To learn how to develop a powerful, credible, authentic message with your style and verbal communication, click here to book a complimentary 30 minute session.