Image Consulting: 5 Wardrobe Myths Limiting Your Dress Image Impact

Image Consulting: 5 Wardrobe Myths Limiting Your Dress Image Impact

IStock_000007241268XSmall Are you confused by some of the old school wardrobe myths?  Maybe when you were a “tween” your mom
tried to educate you with dressing advice such as “never wear white after Labor
Day.” I hate to be the one to break the news – but your mom was wrong.

For professional leaders today it’s all about change,
personal style, and innovation that may run contrary to the retro rules of
yesteryear. To keep your personal brand message fresh and magnetic – and to
express your bold, confident, decisive leadership – add a modern feel to your
business dress and presence by understanding the difference between fashion
truth and myth.

#1 Myth: Never Wear
White after Labor Day

Truth: You don’t want to
wear bright white in the middle of November – that’s true. But there are
various shades of white like eggshell, cream, and ivory that look beautiful even
when worn during the colder months. You can also add just a dash of the various
tones of white to give a lift to those dark, drab colors that we tire of come
December. Women can look for an off-white sweater or cream-colored light wool
pants in more versatile year-round fabrics. Men can look for softer shades of
white in an exquisite dress shirt – like a tone on tone, a colored tie with
ivory medallions, or a silk eggshell pocket square.

#2 Myth: Brown and
Black Don’t Mix

Truth: Breaking this old
fashion rule shows you are modern and stylish. Personally I love to mix and match
brown and black. Nothing looks more interesting than a black sheath dress worn
with a brown pump and a handbag in some great texture like crocodile or lizard.
If you are worried about tying the two colors together then use a beautiful
silk scarf or a printed shoe that has shades of black, brown, and khaki. Men
can try a black sport coat with an ecru shirt, British tan pants, and either
black or brown shoes. But opt for a multi-colored tie in shades of black,
brown, tan, and green to tie it all together with a powerful intentional look.

#3 Myth: Always Match
Shoe Tone to Skirt or Pant Color

Truth: It is true that if
you want to appear taller matching the shoe tone is a great idea because it
visually elongates your legs. But my clients often get bored with that
match-match look. Add color and texture to your shoe wardrobe for just a pop of
color. Any professional woman can do so in these new times and break up the
boredom without breaking any fashion rules.

#4 Myth: More Make-Up
Reduces the Appearance of Aging

Truth: I recommend to all
my clients that wearing make-up is a must in the corporate environment. But
wearing too much make-up or not blending as you apply it will allow make-up to
cake up in the wrinkles around the face and eyes. Instead of looking younger
you’ll look matronly. As we age we need to wear less make-up, not more, with a
very light application that adds some vibrancy to our face. You might wear a
mineral foundation or powder, blush, and lipstick to give you that added detail
needed to highlight your communication center in business. Men will get their
impact from a clean-shaven face – or a beard that’s trimmed daily. Also be sure
to wear some type of moisturizer that keeps your face looking naturally vibrant
and not caked and dry.

#5 Myth: Only
Celebrities Use Image Coaches to Create a Brand Presence

Truth: While it may come
as news to you, every successful professional has an image coach. To achieve a
more powerful presence in terms of dress, behavior, and communication skills
image coaching is actually one of the best investments that you can make in
your professional career. Yes, you need the skills and knowledge to do the job
– but a professional image is your overall brand packaging that helps to leverage
success by opening more doors of opportunity.

Yes it’s a new day and we can break free from outmoded
fashion rules to create a personal brand that authentically communicates our
style with genuine impact. Abandon some of these old myths and step out by
experimenting with your brand. But remember your colors, lines, and silhouettes.
They need to communicate one consistent story and message from head to toe. I’ve
seen the magic unfold when people I’ve worked with created a personal brand
image from the inside-out and I’m always here to help you. Give me a call.
We’ll re-launch your personal brand image by collaborating either in person or

If any of you reading this blog have dressed in these new
myth-shattering ways please feel free to post a comment and share your

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Sarah Hathorn is a professional image consultant, certified personal brand strategist, speaker, and author. 

Her company, Illustra Image Consulting, works with high-achieving future leaders and large businesses by enhancing their corporate and personal brand image to take their businesses and careers to the next level.

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Copyright © 2010, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS

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