12 Practical Ways to Sharpen Your Image

brand career Oct 04, 2018

There’s three months left in 2018, which means there's no time like the present to begin putting the spotlight on goals you’d like to achieve in the new year. While fitness classes, finances, and better eating habits may be on your mind, I suggest you also take inventory of your image, mindset, and vision. Are there some improvements you can make to your professionalism, your presence or your business brand?

Now, your image is about so much more than your appearance. It includes your presence (how you show up), your communication skills as well as your digital footprint. Today's blog, however, will focus on your visual appearance because it's the filter by which everything about you is judged and evaluated.

Appearance matters, maybe far more than you realize. Some people like to scoff at the role personal appearance plays in the workplace. However, since 93% of our communication is visual your appearance is something you should take very seriously.

I’m not talking about being obsessed with image like a celebrity might be. But your image is a substantial component of how people perceive you. How you show up, literally, gives clues or makes assumptions about your ability to lead and perform. Your appearance will affirm what your brand stands for or it will contradict it leading to doubt about our skills, services, or your follow through. It can sound the death knell to advancing your career and creating a life you love.

Visual Cues

Perception is everything. The good news is you have control over how you manage people's perception of you before you even open your mouth. It's about the energy you project through your visual cues. Let me give you a list of visual cues that can work against you. Pretend for a minute that someone is looking at you through a camera lens and zooming in just a little bit in order to catch all the details.

Here’s a list of things that could work against you and send the wrong message.

1. Wrinkled or rumpled clothing

2. Scuffed up or worn out heels on shoes

3. Unkempt or outdated hair

4. Crooked, bent or dirty glasses

5. Clothes that are too tight or too baggy

6. Stained clothing

7. Piled sweaters or worn thin elbows in jackets

8. Faded clothing colors from excessive cleaning or dry-cleaning

9. Pant hems that are too short or too long

10. Jacket sleeves that are too short or too long

11. Jewelry that distracts from the face

12. Patterns that overpower your features

Making It Work

Let's look at details that can work to your advantage and bolster your credentials without opening your mouth. Others see you in HD (high definition) and any details that seemed to you this morning to be no big deal when you took a look in the mirror will show up as a much bigger deal to others.

It’s very natural to tell yourself that that flaw on our sweater or jacket or the chipped fingernail polish won’t really be noticed by anybody. You're so used to looking at yourself (or more truthfully not looking at yourself) that you don’t realize that others are processing your visual image every day; passing judgment and making conclusions about you that may or may not be true. It's often  done unconsciously but it happens nonetheless.  

Here are twelve ways to align your visual cues to a strong professional brand, which will sharpen your image.

1. Wear quality well made clothing. They send an instant message that you know what you’re doing.

2. Choose clothing in colors that are flattering to your skin, hair, and eye color and make you look brighter and younger, not drab or sickly. If you’re not sure what those colors are, seek a professional consultation. This can save you so much money.

3. Wear well-fitting undergarments that don’t show through to the outer layer of your clothes. Good undergarments should be invisible at all times.

4. Invest in style tools. Double-sided tape, lint roller, nipple concealers, etc. are just a few examples of items that should be in your tool box for the occasional wardrobe malfunction. 

5. Update hard-working wardrobe basics like slacks, blouses, belts, or shirts. They have a lifespan. They are usually past their prime before we notice it so be vigilant about replacing what’s worn.

6. Use a garment steamer to steam out wrinkles. Give yourself time in the morning for this task or do it the night before.

7. Hang up jackets or blazers after wearing them. It’s a great idea to air them out either outdoors or in a steamy bathroom. Wrinkles and odors have a chance to disappear before your next wearing.

8. There’s no place in your wardrobe for scuffed up or worn shoes. Shoes are often the first things someone notices about you. Either buy new ones or better yet, let your local shoe repairperson keep them revived and in good shape with professional tune-ups.

9. Good fit is crucial. A tailor can help assess whether your clothing can be altered to fit you better. This is especially important if there’s been a weight gain or a weight loss. Well fitting clothes communicate confidence and competence. Ill-fitting clothes look cheap and carelessly thrown on. This creates visual static and disconnect in your brand. 

10. Eyewear shapes other’s impression of you instantly. Consider updating your eyewear. Don’t be surprised if new frames look very different from what you’ve been wearing for the last decade or two. Frames can make you look approachable, professional, smart, and confident. Take advantage of the message they have to offer.

11. Wear accessories thoughtfully and strategically. Bold colorful jewelry and scarves can be used strategically. Choose shapes and colors that flatter your own coloring. A necklace or earrings can bring focus to your face and a colorful scarf can undo the damages of wearing all black. 

12. Good grooming is essential to a strong professional image. Hair, makeup and nails need to be attended to regularly.  Haircuts, necessary coloring, and mani's and pedi's will keep you looking polished and well put together. These activities are not about vanity but are self-care techniques that communicate self-worth and that you pay attention to even the smallest of details. ensure you’re on track. 

In Conclusion

Listen, you can take as many webinars and online seminars you want to boost your business but ill be ineffective if you don’t manage your image. Take an inventory of your personal image strengths and weaknesses then make a plan for improvements.  Sharpen your image and the value of your personal brand will increase. It’s that simple.

This is my area of expertise. If you know your image is not strategically aligned to support you, reinforce your confidence, attract your best clients, help get your noticed for that promotion, or command any room you walk in, then let me share the benefit of my expertise on how to get it right for you.

So, apply for a free strategy call and let's explore how I can help you

Live, laugh, and unapologetically shine!


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