Business Style Stylist Advice: How you project yourself as a professional can get tricky. Let’s help this reader see the sides of whether or not it is cool to flaunt designer labels as part of your business brand as some entrepreneurs do.
Dear Sharon: As an entrepreneur and marketing coach, I’m aware of how my fellow online marketers present themselves. I follow a particular woman’s program where she constantly displays photos of herself decked out in every luxury label and logo that you can imagine from her shoes to what she eats. It’s not a one time instance but a constant flaunting of all her luxury riches. I’m guessing that this is a calculated move to convey the wealth that came as a result of her business strategies.
Personally, I find it a bit off-putting, show-offy, and unnecessary to wear so many ostentatious pieces but from a business perspective, is this a smart move? And in the day of social media, should one shy away from appearing so entirely perfected and affected a la Gwenyth Paltrow or is it distracting from what you represent?
Should I buy some high-end products so I can flaunt my luxury labels to appear to be super successful in my business and tell my coaching clients to do the same? (A.L. via Fashion Advice)
I was thinking about your question today when I was shopping for eyeglasses. Boy, it is not easy to find glasses without a blatant designer logo on the side!
A little logo here or there is fine, even on glammed up or cooled down sunglasses. BUT, on eyeglasses that I wear almost consistently, the glaring branding of a G or a C, or a full out designer name by my temples really irks me. Their branding is branding me, no thank you.
Trust me, I love quality as much as I love a good deal, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to walk around as a human billboard with conflicting designer labels screaming for attention on my body!
However, if everyone felt the same, there wouldn’t be sooo many logo items out there; some people like to blast their blessings.
To me, there’s a difference between flaunting riches and having the ability to appreciate quality and the look, the line, the design nuances of something good.
I prefer the elegance of a quieter luxury that doesn’t overpower but has the quality and elegance to endure.
Just like your personal style and brand should endure.
So many of us grapple with what “luxury” personally means to us. Is it the extra hour of sleep, being debt-free, paying for your child’s tuition, a mortgage, the joy of not worrying when you’re next check is coming, or rewarding yourself with something special because you worked hard for it.
Then, add what success means to YOU.
We all like good things. It’s just the way you stick them in someone’s face that can be misread or obnoxious, particularly if you wear them with entitlement rather than élan.
I always advise my V.I.P. one-on-one style mentoring clients and through my posts here on FocusOnStyle, to dress in a polished professional way that best suits YOUR body, lifestyle, budget, and personal brand…. be HONEST to yourself and represent yourself in the same quality way that you want to be perceived.
There’s a certain ease and off-handedness that comes with being chic, cool, or classy. The Three C’s of Style, if you will.
None of that involves the visual noise of being overloaded in logos that distract from you, the person. It should all come together to look like you aquired these pieces over time rather than in a mad shopping spree.
Let’s look at the brilliant poster for The Wolf of Wall Street with Jonah Hill dangling his white Gucci loafers from his gold Rolex clad hand- you couldn’t symbolize the sleazeball excess any better. Leonardo DiCaprio’s open shirt and collar popping is pretty cheesy too. Think about how flaunting what you can buy reads to others when you market yourself. Do you come across as flashy and crude or greedy and gaudy? Is that what you want to project?
Yet didn’t Oprah call out Christian Louboutin and turn him into a household name as well as let fans “walk in her shoes“? Martha makes no excuses for her luxurious lifestyle, and that’s a good thing. And, now, as you noted, we have the love/hate controversy (I’m a fan, Naveed is a foe) of Gwenyth who doesn’t pretend to be anything other than who she is.
That’s because these ladies do it with a style that’s organic and natural to them. They’ve earned it and maybe foster it, but don’t flaunt it.
The flaunt part is where all the excesses get tacky. And, the “perfect” part is where it gets contrived. The French understand the element of undoneness that is chic and not vulgar it’s not about designer labels but how YOU put it all together that counts!
If overloading on an obvious amount of luxury leaves a bad taste in your mouth it may be because it’s not your style. Additionally, what you may sense is that the style of this person who you are questioning doesn’t ring true but more put on and phony which is branding suicide besides being tacky.
But, who knows, maybe the designer overload really is her style and simply not working for you. She may not even be aware of how it can be perceived and is giddy in the revelry that she can finally afford to buy showy goodies.
>> RELATED: Do you want to know what to wear to work? Check out my Chic Business Style Guide
There are people, particularly in marketing and sales, who dress to suit to what they think their audience can identify or aspire to & create the illusion of a lifestyle that many fantasize about. As you said, the lady you mention may feel that her audience sees her riches and aspires to having it all. It may work for some but turn off others who think she’s more after her next new toy than serving her audience. In my opinion, the flash diminishes your accomplishments as that’s all people see. That doesn’t mean you need to dress like a shlump either. Yet some do.
Think about one of the zillion online marketing guys who dress in a baggy freebie T-shirt and boast about the millions they make while working from working from home teaching their “revolutionary” training’s that you too can copy. These guys are calculated in wanting to look like the guy who they think is wanting to but one of his get rich quick schemes. Or, maybe just a schlub who doesn’t know how to present himself professionally.
Look, at the end of the day, you don’t want to try to manipulate people with your dress or trappings.
You want to put a polished and professional appearance out that is modern, vital, and best represents you and your brand and is respectful for the people who have taken the time to listen to you.
You need to own it if you want to be taken seriously as a credible professional.
Full honesty, I pulled the goodies in the lead photo from what was hanging on a hook in my closet, but never really wear. I have trappings, but I also have a lot of things that mean far more to me. I prefer wearing classics in way that is a little more unexpected, less showy and more organic. That’s me. But, never underestimate the power of a power bag in a certain kind of business setting… a little dab of lux will do ya… it’s all part of the high/low fashion mix. Do what works for you!
Oh, and my new eyeglasses? Celine, logo free but just as chic, if not more. However, I am still thinking about those Gucci’s… if they only didn’t have the G.
How do you represent yourself? Tell me in the comments below.
JUST ASK: Do you need some quick stylist help to amp up your style? Email us for Fashion Advice.
Let me help you ‘get it” when it comes times to getting dressed! STYLE WORKOUT is coming…