You Are Your Brand

By Anil Shaw Manley – January 1, 2014


Clothes are more than layers of fabric that separate our naked bodies from the outside world, covering and protecting us from the elements. Clothes transform how we feel.

I loved watching actress Lynda Carter twirl around and morph from the character Diana Prince into Wonder Woman in the 1970s television series of the same name. Her costume change made me believe that I, too, could be a heroine by rockin’ gold cuffs and kickin’ butt.

img1How you look, what you wear, and how you wear it are visual expressions of you. Remember how you feel when you wear your favorite outfit? You walk taller. You feel more confident. You are more outspoken.
But if you’re bloated or wake up in a bad mood—and put on that same ol’ outfit—your attitude shifts, your posture and facial expressions change. Sometimes, self-doubt creeps in, making you more critical of yourself and others. (These scenarios are completely normal, by the way.) Instead of judging which is good or bad, focus on how you want to look and feel. You want to be you, the best you.

Your best self emerges naturally when you align your outside with your inside, connecting all you do to your core values. In Pilates, all movements are based on the powerhouse, a core group of muscles. Determine your core values—what’s most important to you—and use your values as your blueprint from which all your lifestyle choices are made. That includes what you wear, what you eat, and how you spend your precious little time.

I believe strongly in trusting your gut and deploying your intuition to help guide you through life. As the former senior stylist of a shopping network for 13 years, I collaborated with a variety of apparel and accessory brands. It amounted to hundreds of brands, each unique and special.

I loved (and hated) the challenge of styling models in outfits that reflected a company’s vision — their core values. It appeared I was “playing” with clothes, but on a deeper level, I was connecting with designers, celebrities, and stylists. They’re all real people who love and live in and through their clothes, handbags, and jewelry. They are their brand.

img2You are Your Brand
In their book, Be Your Own Brand: A Breakthrough Formula for Standing Out From the Crowd, David McNally and Karl D. Speak write, “Your (personal) brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you.”

A well-dressed woman or man arouses magnetism. You pay attention, even if for just a moment. I recently met a man who sold insurance. While he made his informal presentation, I noticed his crisp French blue button-down shirt, pleasant-smelling cologne, and oversized watch. He was professional, neat, and spoke in a non-sales-y way. I paid attention to what he said, even though I wasn’t in the market for what he was selling, probably because he made the holistic connection of how preparing for the future gives you peace of mind in the present. Had he been dressed in flip flops and shorts, I wouldn’t have spent more than ten minutes talking to him, instead of the hour we conversed.

What colors do you wear to give yourself power? What clothes do you put on to feel confident? Make getting dressed a part of your self-care ritual. The right clothes can fuel you as much as eating a healthy breakfast or meditating on inspirational words. Make clothes part of that boosting morning ritual to launch your day and keep you tracking toward results.

Remember: Wearing clothes you don’t like, clothes that don’t reflect your personal style, shoves you out of alignment with yourself. Nothing annoys more than wearing clothes that don’t fit who you are.
Think of the times you caught yourself fidgeting, tugging, and pulling, wishing you wore something else. Wearing certain clothes affects your mood. Use that as your reference point, your guide, to looking and feeling your best.

Your car's GPS redirects you when you've missed a turn. Your core, your internal GPS, does the same. You just have to pay attention.



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