As someone who is often in the public eye and the face of my own brand, my image and personal branding is important and one of my biggest focuses in business. If you're passionate about your career, whether that's in your own business or as part of another business - your image is important too.
Today I wanted to share with you an example of image consulting and personal branding done the right way because when it comes to making first impressions, we only have seconds to show someone what we're about.
If you've heard of PayPal, Zip2 or Tesler, you might have heard of Elon Musk, the brains behind all of these successful brands. He's someone who, with his inspiring brand story and public positioning has had to focus on his own image.
When thinking of tech founders, many of us are primed to stereotype what look they're supposed to have. Perhaps wearing a t-shirt to a business meeting or jeans and joggers to a networking event is something that comes to mind. I get flashes of Myspace Tom and even Mark Zuckerburg in his early days.
Elon Musk, like many other tech giants, Jack Dorsey and the late Steve Jobs have all considered clothing to be part of their branding. Zuckerburg wears the same thing every day, so his clothing is less of a focus, Jack Dorsey always looks neat and organised, Steve Jobs wore a black high neck top tucked into jeans with a pair of sneakers for every Apple presentation to increase personal recognition. When I think of Apple, one of the things that come to mind is a black turtle neck and straight leg jeans worn by a balding man with glasses.
Where Elon Musk is concerned, he opts for an approachable but sophisticated look that not only demands respect but also makes you feel like he would respect and listen to you too.
How has Elon made himself look this way upon first glance? It's simple, subtle wardrobe choices and attention to grooming. Elon wears suits that fit him exceptionally well, they're classic in cut and colour and never eye-catching enough to draw attention away from him as a person. One thing we often forget when dressing for an environment that requires a suit is that we don't need our clothing to stand out more than us. We can't have our clothing wear us; it has to be the other way around - unless you sell clothing.
Elon pairs his suits with an open-collared shirt or a tee under his jackets, simple shoes and is mostly clean shaven.
While Elon is the head of a company possibly quite different to your own - we can learn a lot from him when it comes to personal branding and image.
Before your next big work wardrobe shop, ask yourself:
In your current role, does the way you dress give the right impression to others?
Does my last week of work outfits reflect the professional I am?
Do I look successful, trustworthy and organised?
Your first impression can say all of these things and only get better if you value your professional image and work on it. For tailored information on how I can help you better your image, visit my Image Consulting page or get in touch!
Since starting my business I've really enjoyed organising wardrobes.
An organised wardrobe helps clients to see exactly what they own so that getting dressed is simple and adding duplicates of an item is avoided. When I start organising a client's wardrobe, I love to start by making sure all of the hangers are the same. It makes such a difference to the overall look and ensures that clothing is hanging at the same level throughout.
When making over your own wardrobe, you should make it pleasing to look at. Think of it like a mini shop that you feel good entering. Merchandise your wardrobe and put your favourite things on display. Hang all of your clothing the same way, by style, and add lighting in dark areas so you can really see what you have.
Care For Your Wardrobe
Taking care of your clothing by folding your jeans and knits and putting pesticide repellants into your wardrobe can pay you back ten fold. An apartment or home that gets humid or moist throughout the year is likely to contribute to mould build up and even silver fish. Products that you can buy from the supermarket, like DampRid, can help take the moisture out and cedar blocks, found in most Kmarts, Howards Storage World stores and Targets also help to prevent moths and various bugs getting into your threads. Change these every six months for the best effect.
Make Your Wardrobe Look Like A Designer Fit Out
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a high end wardrobe fit out to get a high end, highly practical look. Many of these wardrobes look great for a few reasons. The lighting is well placed, above each cabinet or as part of a shelf. The shelves line up evenly with one another and thicker melamine or wood makes the wardrobe look more expensive. You could buy an ikea wardrobe, change the handles and add wallpaper to the inside back of each cabinet for a more high end look. If you wardrobe is particularly dark and lighting isn't enough, add mirror sheets to the inside back of each cabinet. This will spread the light and make your wardrobe look brighter and larger.
I know it sounds a little dirty, but jeans shouldn't be washed at the same frequency as your other pants.
They're not made to withstand so much washing, which is why you might have found that your jeans tend to stretch and sag quickly and fall apart. The quality of jeans today have a higher elastic quality in them than the classic stiff denim we used to have to wear pre-90's. Original denim was stiff, took a long time to wear in and lasted upwards of 5 years. Todays denim is designed to give you about 1 year of wear if washed regularly, and 3-5 years if washed properly.
So how do you care for your jeans if you're not always putting them in the washing machine?
Steaming your jeans as opposed to washing them in a machine will nourish the fibres of your jeans and make them last longer and retain their shape. It also helps to prevent your jeans from losing too much colour and it gets rid of any odours they may have contracted from regular wear. The only time you should ever put your jeans in a washing machine should be when you have a stain on them, or if they haven't been washed for about 6 months. In between those times, a steamer (mine is Tefal and I picked it up from David Jones) will work wonderfully.
If you have coloured or dark jeans, they will fade much faster in the machine than blue jeans. Add a tablespoon of salt to the wash to help retain the dye and dry all of your jeans in the shade. As so many jeans have a high elastane quality, the sun will eat through the elastic and make them loose. Drying them in the shade means they're likely to last longer.
After a recent conversation with my partner, I discovered his hesitance for chelsea boots. Firstly, he was unsure what they were but he just didn't know how to wear them or when to wear them. The chelsea boot is to men what a great leather jacket is to women. It's something you can quickly slip on during a cooler day when you're wearing longer pants, you could be going out with some friends or just running day to day errands. The great thing about them is that they're a warm winter boot that isn't too bulky and makes you look taller and slimmer if worn correctly.
If you've got a bit of a fuller mid section, ensure the jacket fits around your stomach when the button is fastened and utilise accessories like pocket squares to help bring more attention up top.
Start your venture into Sports Jackets with a basic colour like grey, black or navy and then once you have the basics down, invest in a few interesting colours and prints like pinstripes, check and plaid.
Get some styling inspiration below!
While there aren't any hard rules a man should stick to when it comes to wearing a suit, there is a certain way to button your suit jacket that helps to set you apart from those who know how to wear a suit and those who don't and it comes down to the Sometimes, Never, Always rule.
Lately there's been a barrage of videos flooding social media just like this one that show how fashion, beauty, costumes and trends have changed over the last hundred years. Take some inspiration from past decades and check out this great video.
If a vibrant sock and outfit combo could speak, it'd say Man, You Look Good.
It takes a someone comfortable in his style to pull a look like this off, but you don't have to be a style extraordinaire to do it. This look is perfect for the races, derby day, cocktail parties and smart casual events and helps you to look like the perfect gentleman when out and about.
Choose either black or light blue as your starting point and pair it with chinos, flat front trousers or jeans (but only jeans in a different wash to your jacket, we don't want to JT double denim moment). A few basic t-shirts or button ups will add just the right amount of style. Stay clear of denim shirts or chambray when styling your jacket and remember that this jacket should be used out of the office only.
The Middle Man
If you love wearing jeans, perhaps try a canvas style denim jacket. Have a bit of fun with the collar and sleeves by folding them different ways and letting the sleeves from your undershirt show. You can wear a canvas jean jacket with whatever colour jeans you like, you won't have to compromise on style and you'll have more options for layering. Just remember to look at the colour of the jacket against your skin. You want it to be the right shape for your body and the right colour for your skin tone. There's no point in buying a great jacket you look sick in.
Have a bit of fun with layers when wearing your denim jacket. If you're a bit more daring, one with studs or small but classic details will make your look a little individual. Layer over a cardigan or wear a plain t-shirt with a patterned button up, undone and then wear your denim jacket on top. There's so many possibilities when it comes to styling your denim jacket, just remember not to match your pants too much or it will look like you're wearing a suit.
When looking for a great suit this week, I took my client into M.J. Bale, a store I know that has high quality suiting. The price tag is around $800 - $1000 for a suit but the quality is worth it. Remember, there are many brands who make poor quality suits and throw a high price tag on it. Don't get sucked in by packaging or the way the suit is styled, feel the suit, find out about the quality. One major factor that should influence you purchasing a suit is whether the suit is fused or canvassed.
What is Fusing?
Fusing is in many suits today due to high production quantities and costs. It's the interlining of your suit. Years ago, most suits were canvassed, that's why they lasted so much longer than the $200-$400 dollar suits many men can pick up today. These cheaper, unfused suits are great if you need a quick and temporary fix, but if you don't want your jackets to bubble around the lapel or chest where any fusing is, then you should get a high quality canvassed suit.
Think of fusing like the polyurethane in a jacket, you may have picked it up thinking it was a real leather jacket, the price tag was high so you assumed so, but when you got it home you realised it was synthetic and, really, a bit of a rip off. Always check the garment tags and ask the sales assistant and remember, high end designers use Fusing to cut down costs too.
What about Canvassed Suits?
Canvassing on the other hand is what makes a suit last longer. Canvassed suits hold the shape of the fabric and stop it from dropping, like the foundations of a well built house. Even though you'll be fitted for a suit when you buy your next one, over time a canvassed suit will mould to your body and fit you even better.
What about the cut of a suit?
European, Classic and Slim cuts are all fairly timeless, but not every cut suits every man, try a few different cuts and see what you like best, remember to have the pants of your suit hemmed to avoid looking sloppy. If you like to slim cut suits a cuban or samurai fit shirt will work well, other wise, find a basic but slightly fitted shirt to go with your jacket.
Do I wear blue or black shoes?
The great thing about all these suits is that you can choose either. If you're more laid back and find you wear suits more to weddings, meetings and cocktail parties then a brown belt and shoes will be the way to go. You can then wear both with trousers, chinos and jeans. If you seem to go to more formal and black tie events, a black pair of shoes and a black belt will work best.
Now that you have a more informed point of view about your suiting choices, take your old suit out and consider your next suit purchase. Buy one you feel great in that's high quality and you'll wear it for years.