One thing I have realized in my time as a self employed designer/decorator, is that you really have to pay attention to how you present yourself. Back when I was a full time employee, I knew what was expected of me when it came to what to wear to work. As a creative, I have so much more freedom when dressing myself for my job. In my work, I am running around shopping for new sources, fabrics, antiques, and other things that I need to be comfortable enough to run around all day long. In the city, this can be very difficult to try and stay stylish while keeping your comfort. I'm not a big fashionista or anything so I tend to be very classic in the way that I dress, but I've noticed that classic comfort isn't always the best way to attract new prospective clients, at least the ones that I want.
This topic came up on my most recent mentoring consultation with a newbie decorator. ( You can book a session here ) We discussed ways of building new business and I mentioned to her that she must always exhibit the level of presentation in her dress according to the level of her business goals. This gave her a real wake up call and it did for me too. It's time for me to refresh my work wardrobe.
Do you dress for the job that want?
There are ways to be stylish AND be comfortable AND present a level of CHIC professionalism. I have my own version of what it means to be CHIC (Creating Happiness, Inspiring Confidence). That's my mantra. That's how I feel we should dress. You want to feel comfortable in happy in what you wear and inspire a sense of confidence within yourself that exudes outside of you to all those who you meet.
I prefer to keep things to neutrals and dark colors like black and grey. I guess its the New York in me. It makes things easy so you can mix and match casual pieces. My staples are pretty much a pair of skinny black jeans and a flowy blouse. Simple. Another staple I believe in a must is a nice light coat or jacket. Having a nice piece of outwear can sometimes pull and entire outfit together.
These are a few looks I'm into getting. I like long coats currently, but short ones are chic as well.
I also think looking polished and pulled together have everything to do with how you accessorize yourself. Your shoes speak volumes about the way you work. Do you care for your shoes? Are they falling apart or need to be repaired or cleaned? These are things to think about. Right now, I have a pair of pointed toe heels that are very comfortable because they have a low heel, I can almost run in them. I love a pointed toe look and I always think a chic bootie can be great because they are usually very comfortable when hauling or carrying heavy things.
Speaking of carrying heavy things, as a freelancer, I am always carrying around a TON of things. Having the right tote bag is always a MUST. Inside you've got files, samples, magazines, measuring tape, ipads, etc. Have a bag with strong handles and a nice leather that will last.
Another thing to remember, polished nails make a HUGE statement. They don't have to be over the top, but even a nice clear coat will do. I prefer reds and soft pinks with a round nail shape. It's a feminine and nice look.
I also like to carry business cards in a nice leather holder and all of my date books are beautifully bound in leather covers. I am obsessed with the ones from Gigi New York. They do work style so right. When a prospective client sees how organized you are, they will trust that you will be organized with their business too.
Also, when feeling you're having a bad hair day. Go with a hat. Hats are total confidence enhancer. It makes a great statement with any look.
My final tip, you can't just look great. You've got to smell great too. Pick a simple yet pleasant fragrance that works well with your body chemistry. Don't over do it. Sometimes I even just use body sprays from Jo Malone or Bath and Body Works. As long as you smell fresh and clean, you will win.