A career girl’s guide to creating a personal brand.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure how to approach the subject of fashion at work. As someone who knows there is far more to a woman than her appearance, I was initially concerned that this might come off as anti-feminist. However, conversations with colleagues made me realize what I already intuited – that appearance does matter, and that we can use it to further demonstrate our intrinsic qualities.
Most exciting about the Fashion@Work project is that I get to collaborate with the super smart, beautiful, thoughtful, interesting, and wise beyond her years, Parisa Bazl! Based in New York, Parisa is a Millennial, a much younger colleague and friend who’s mastered this whole personal brand thing early on in her career.
Long before I actually met Parisa, I noticed her – over and over again – because of her presence, which was a product of the wise choices she made about her personal appearance and the way she carried herself. I found myself admiring that she’d figured it out when many of her peers seemed to be struggling, missing what would make them look professional and appropriate, yet stand out and shine.
Parisa has already realized great success as a user experience designer in the technology world. Her work has impacted the daily lives of thousands of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individual employees…and she’s just getting started. I know her impact with Fashion at work will further capitalize on her extraordinarily sharp understanding of people, places and things.
I’ve always looked to Christina as someone who represents just how much of a force women can be in the workplace. She’s served as an inspiration for myself and many of the other women I work with, and given us someone to relate to, and something to strive for, in a field saturated with men.
When she first approached me about collaborating on the book, I was intrigued by the challenge. While we all want to believe that we’ll be seen for more than just the way we look, it’s our appearance that opens – or closes – the door to deeper conversations. The one thing that Christina and I want to encourage everyone to do is to view the way you dress as an opportunity to express that deeper sense of self. It’s not about aligning to archaic gender conventions or dressing the way you think the world wants you too – it’s about figuring out how to best showcase who you are within a professional context.
From Parisa & Christina
We don’t believe in hard-lined rules that dictate what you should or shouldn’t do, but we do think there are basic guidelines that provide a good framework for dressing in a way that reflects how you think of yourself, and how you hope to be perceived. There are so many ways to interpret these guidelines and uniquely apply them according to your individuality. To prove it, we’re sourcing our networks of smart, accomplished, and ambitious women to ask them how they showcase their best selves. We hope reading this book will serve you the same way it did us in making it – as an opportunity to learn from, and bring out the best in, each other.
Work-in-progress pieces are the beginnings of new books on topics that we thought would be of interest to working women. We’re eager to get your thoughts, stories, and questions on any or all of them as we build them out into full-fledged guides.
We’ve established Facebook groups to facilitate live, ongoing questions, answers and conversation around this topic
If you’d prefer not be so public and social, but have a story to tell or advice to impart, I hope you’ll complete a survey – staying anonymous is totally fine.
Finally, if you’re looking for quick, quiet advice, I hope you’ll send me a note and I’ll be happy to do my best to provide guidance or connect you with someone or something that might help.