It’s a new year, and the best time to pay your image maximum attention. Having set your resolutions and goals, it is key to have an image strategy to enhance your goal fulfilment. An image strategy is an action plan concerning the impression you create through your appearance, behaviour and communication. I am sharing with you some steps you can take to improve on your image, with a focus on appearance in the professional setting.
Define your image goal: Just as you set your career goals, you need to set an image goal. Ask yourself: What kind of appearance I need to have to help achieve my career goals? For instance, an an entrepreneur, appearing credible is key. So, you would want to clad yourself in good quality tailored pieces as ill-fitting clothes make a person look lousy. For a person overlooked for promotions, you may want to wear bold colours – like red – to make you more noticeable in the room. Other image goals may be to look more refined, updated, youthful, mature, etc.
Audit your wardrobe: Your wardrobe is the storehouse of all your items. Every good and bad look you pull comes from your wardrobe. Inspect your closet and take out what is not serving your professional image and what goes against your image goal. Also, look out for faded items, damaged leather, worn-out items, ill-fitting clothes, and stuff you have just had for too long that you feel almost lifeless in them. After, rearrange your remaining stuff and create new looks by pairing items in different ways from your usual.
Shop to refill: You have earned the license to shop since you may have lost some wardrobe staples; for example, the black skirt and black trousers. It’s time to invest in quality for longevity. Buy clothes, shoes etc. that can last longer. It saves you more in the long run. The mantra is ‘quality over quantity’. Buy the right fit and right colours as they help you look and feel your best, and influence how your colleagues and clients relate to you. Also, ensure that what you shop is consistent with your image goals.
Incorporate change: It’s a good time to try something new. While men can try a new haircut and neckties in colours they would typically not wear, women can go for new hairstyles, make-up looks, and a lip colour they would normally not dare. However, bear in mind that your company’s dress code when making these considerations. A change in your look freshens you up and sends a message that you are open and not fearful of change. Change is a value in the corporate world; demonstrate to others that you embody it through your appearance.
Practise good grooming: Work is full of interactions. Nobody enjoys a conversation with one who has an odour, not even the client who needs your service or product. Make the time people spend with you a pleasant one by brushing your teeth minimum twice a day, carry a mouth wash to the office to clean your mouth after meals. Also, use a good deodorant that lasts at least 24 hours. Make time for regular manicures and pedicures, keep your skin moisturised, your hair kempt, and your clothes neat and well-ironed for a sharp look.
Wear confidence: The business world is competitive and as much as a well-fitting suit will enhance your success, confidence is a must-have soft skill for a professional. Studies have shown that more confident people have higher levels of productivity, and are more likely to be promoted and mentored. Confidence is having trust in yourself and abilities; to boost it, you need to commit to developing yourself constantly in the key areas critical to your career success. A sales executive, for example, may invest in a sales course to enhance the trust he or she has in his or sales ability. Signing on a confidence coaching programme would also be a right step to enhancing your confidence.
Wishing you many wins in 2023, seal deals and be the gold standard!
The writer is an Image Strategist and a Lecturer with the Department of Business Administration at the University of Professional Studies, Accra. She runs Imagefidence, an image consulting firm focused on helping individuals to develop a refined and updated image, exuding full-blown self-confidence while pursuing their goals. You can reach her via @imagefidence and on as Sangmorkuor Tetteh, or email her through [email protected].