A career girl’s guide to creating a personal brand
When I started the first book, Men@Work, I avoided the sticky subject of fashion in the workplace, worrying it would come off as too girly and anti-feminist. That changed after a few trusted colleagues and friends read early drafts and suggested it was a big missing piece they wished I would tackle. Citing challenges with managing a new crop of younger women recruits in their early 20s, they thought an opportunity existed to help new hires understand what’s appropriate and professional vs. what crosses the line into too casual or trashy or just weird.
Beyond women colleagues who suggested this topic was worthy of a book, the biggest advocates for Fashion@Work have been moms (and dads too!) of young women who are just entering the workforce. If you’re one of those young women, I hope you’ll consider me as sort of like a cool aunt—à la my most admired fashion mentors, my beautiful and amazing Aunt Nance and Cousin Patsy. The way they looked, acted, and interacted with others created an amazing framework that I harken back to pretty much every day of my career. Their example and guidance has been a huge success factor for me, so I’d absolutely love to be able to do the same for you (especially since I don’t have a daughter that I can torture).
If you’ve read Men@Work, you’ll know a bit of background around why I think your personal brand—with your appearance being a hugely important and central part of that—is something worthy of investment and focus. Your “packaging” is unavoidably one of the most important factors that can make or break your career. As such, it warrants the same amount of attention as your education and your deliverables to bring to life and round out the amazing talent that you are.
The more I talked with people about what seems to be a taboo topic for one reason or other, the more I heard that fashion at work might have lost its way a bit and that we all might have the opportunity to make it better. Moreover, it seemed that exploring the topic in the broader context of achieving a personal brand to drive effectiveness and ultimately success in the workplace hadn’t been done, or at least the way we’ve landed here. At that point, I started evolving Fashion@Work from its original form as a chapter of Men@Work into a full-fledged book that could stand on its own. As I considered all the pieces that could be explored and expanded, I was surprised by how extensive and meaty it all became.
To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure how to approach the subject but landed on imparting advice based on what I’ve learned myself and from watching others I’ve admired over my nearly four decades of working. These experiences informed a collection of concrete guidelines that I think can help women achieve a personal style that’s unique to them and true to their individuality, but exists within a framework that will work…at work. I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to dig into this one and hope you’ll enjoy and find value in the specific advice about how to show up as your best self and operate effectively in all sorts of environments and interacting in all sorts of venues and social settings.
What will be different about this book vs. Men@Work is the crowd-sourced content approach. While the first book was a bit of a personal manifesto on my own experience with navigating gender dynamics and how to capitalize on all of the people, places, and things at play, this is a bit of a departure. This whole personal brand thing is inevitably a very individual journey because of our massively diverse shapes, sizes, colors, sounds, personalities, and preferences. Capitalizing on crowd-sourced content from an optimized portfolio of women that represents a cross-section of these diverse factors is yielding something really compelling and relevant.
Look for Fashion@Work in Spring 2018!
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