5 Reasons Personal Style is Essential to Building Your Personal Brand

May 11, 2024

One of the biggest misconceptions about working with personal stylists and image consultants is that style isn’t substance. But in reality, how you dress is extremely important to your success. In fact, it’s a key part of building your personal brand.

Our team at Next Level Wardrobe has worked with successful professionals of all shapes, sizes, and careers. No matter the person or their goals, we’ve found a way to improve their lifestyle through how they present themselves.

Want to build your confidence, improve your relationships, and embody professionalism? Read on to learn how personal style and personal branding go hand in hand–  and why it matters.

What is a Personal Brand?

According to Harvard Business Review, a personal brand includes more than just your reputation. It’s also more than just the personal and professional relationships you form with others. Your personal brand is how you want others to see you.

Notice that important little word: want. 

A personal brand is intentional. 

Someone with strong personal branding knows the “why” behind everything they do. They’ve self-reflected and consistently look at what drives them. They’ve considered where they want to go and what it takes to help them reach their goals. 

This doesn’t stop with getting the right accolades and accreditations at work. It means developing those “soft skills” like adaptability or communication. 

Crafting a personal brand also involves customizing how you present yourself to align with how you want others to perceive you.

This includes looking polished, professional, and organized at all times.

Everything you do, and every decision you make is another building block of your personal brand. 

In short, developing your personal brand is about bridging the gap between credibility and visibility.

5 Benefits of Aligning Your Style With Your Brand

So many people overlook the importance of aligning your personal style with your brand

We get it. If you’re a successful, driven professional, you’ve got your eye on the prize. You’re most likely focused on your career goals and find yourself dedicating any free time you have to achieve your personal goals. 

But something as simple as the way you dress can have a huge impact on your personal branding. By making a few changes to your routine like cleaning out your closet, systemizing your wardrobe, and working with a stylist can radically improve your life.

Here are the top five benefits of synchronizing your personal style with your brand.

1. Your Style Reflects (and Amplifies) Your Success

We’ve all been taught the old phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But how many of us really live our lives that way?

If we’re looking at the science of first impressions, few actually follow that saying. 

According to studies, it takes less than seven seconds to form a first impression of someone. And that first impression, negative or positive, creates potentially life-long assumptions about that person.

That is especially true as you move up professionally. 

Take our client, Sarah (picture above). She is a partner at a law firm on the East Coast, leading teams, speaking at conferences, and representing clients.

But her style reflected an old version of herself. And she didn’t have time to figure out what she needed her style to be. And how to align it with where she was in life now. 

So what did she do? She hired Team NLW for the In-Person Styling Service. Working with us, she honed her personal brand and created a style strategy that made getting ready every day easier. 

Now Sarah has polished outfits for every event, has embraced success in her style, and is always on brand.

2. You Make a Positive First Impression

If you meet someone new or learn about someone you may encounter in the future, what do you do?

Most people want to find out more about that person, especially in a professional context. That means they’ll turn to Google.

These days you can find out so much about a person just with a couple of taps on your phone. Knowing that, don’t you want to be prepared to make the best virtual first impression?

You want to ensure your online presence supports and fits your messaging. 

For example, let’s say you and someone else are up for the same executive position at a company. You’d want your Google results to show professional photos of yourself on LinkedIn and a well-designed website. You wouldn’t want grainy Facebook photos and unprofessional Tweets, right?

That’s another place where professional help comes in handy.

In NLW’s Virtual Executive Image Consulting services, we help our clients systematize their style and update their online presence. We source talented photographers who work with our clients, style them, and give art direction.

3. You Build Trust

Our Client, Mike worked in sales for a prestigious tech company. 

He was always on the road, pitching services to external clients and selling multi-million dollar packages. 

He knew that he needed to establish trust quickly through his style. The moment he walked into the room, he was very aware of the impact of first impressions. If his look wasn’t aligned with the services he sold, his chance for success wouldn’t be as high.

When seeking trust and requesting investments from others, your style and presentation must align with your promises. 

Mike knew he needed to work with a style professional who would focus on the details.

As you rise through the ranks of your chosen field, the little things matter more and more. When you’re just starting, people might not notice the details. Things like a suit that’s a tad too big or that you haven’t updated your social media in a few months.

But as you get closer to the top, the competition gets tougher. That means the differences between you and your competitors is more pronounced. 

People start to notice who’s always early to meetings and who’s just on time. Or who shows up with an untucked shirt. Or who keeps looking at the clock versus who’s calm and collected.

That’s why you must build trust at every opportunity. Remember, you’re selling yourself, your services, your beliefs, and more every single day. The core of that is building trust.

How you show up should say, “Hey, you can trust me with your time, money, and resources. I can get the job done.”

4. You Show Your POV 

In a world full of sameness, it’s best to have a point of view.

Many think that dressing professionally means giving up on your personality. They think it means putting on the same boring black suit as everyone else and giving up on expression. 

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Style is such a big part of building your personal brand because it allows you to show who you are. It’s your opportunity to flex some creativity and show that your story doesn’t end at what’s on your resume. 

It can come through in the colors, patterns, fits, and accessories you put on your body. 

This is another place where a personal stylist and image consultant comes in clutch.

They can help you ask yourself the tough questions and find what makes you unique. Not only that, but they use their expertise to find the best way to inject that into your personal brand.

Take one of our previous NLW clients, Nate. Nate was moving into a new position as a CTO, but he didn’t want to suddenly become the stuffy C-suite guy.

For one thing, he worked in the tech field, so wearing a Wall Street uniform just wouldn’t make sense for him. 

But on top of that, being uptight and “old school corporate” just wasn’t him. He had creativity he wanted to show off via his tattoos. And he wanted to show that he was a modern, innovative leader.

So, we helped him find clothing that embraced those parts of himself instead of forcing him into a mold. Think shirts that looked good with the sleeves rolled up to show off his ink. Or pants with a more tailored, contemporary fit. 

We ditched the business formal dress code and opted for a versatile power casual look that could fit his persona.

5. You Make Your Life Easier

As a busy executive with a packed calendar, your time is precious.

You don’t have time to waste staring at your closet every morning with nothing to wear. And you definitely don’t have time for endless trips to the mall or UPS to return online orders.

This is especially true if you travel often.

If any of these sound like you, you need to have a style system that’s set up to make your life easier. That way, clothing is one less thing you have to worry about.

And when you align your personal style with your personal brand, this becomes much easier to do. 

Why? Because you have a set criteria for your wardrobe. You won’t waste your time with impulse purchases you’ll never wear. Instead, everything in your closet will be intentional. You’ll be able to create outfits out of each item and mix and match pieces endlessly.

This means saying goodbye to decision fatigue and hello to stress-free mornings and packing for business trips.

Finally, you can focus on the stuff that you really care about.

Personal Branding Inspirations

For Her: Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is a master class in building a personal brand and keeping it up through style.

While in the White House, she had a more conservative, traditional style. Usually playing with solid colors, shoulders covered, and skirts down to the knee. 

Post White House, her stylist, Meredith Koop has been pushing the boundaries of her style profile and we’re big fans!

The former first lady is known as someone warm, intelligent, and fiery when she needs to be. She heads up charities, delivers keynotes, and still knows how to get audiences to laugh on a show or podcast. 

Of course, she’s achieved all of this through her education, professional accomplishments, and strong communication skills. But her style supports all of this and makes identifying these strengths easy. 

Check out the effortless look she’s sporting in the photo above. She’s opted for a printed, all-blue jumpsuit. The core color scheme and conservative cut feel professional, while the print, neckline detail, and jewelry feel modern and fresh.

This outfit doesn’t distract from what she’s saying or what project she’s working on. Instead, it supports her message while still letting her personality shine.

For Him: Mark Zuckerberg

So let’s be clear: one thing the Zuck is never going to be known for is his style.

But that’s kind of the point, right?

Whether he’s the kid at Harvard unknowingly starting a social media revolution or addressing his thousands of Meta employees at Hacker Square, his personal brand isn’t about being trendy or wowing on magazine covers. He knows that’s not what people want from him, and it’s not what he wants others to focus on either. 

He’s built a brand around tech, functionality, and innovation.

These days, his closet backs that up. He opts for simple, casual, capsule wardrobe-based outfits. His ensembles revolve around neutrals that can easily mix and match, and timeless basics. 

For him, these choices make sense. They fit the more laidback dress code of Silicon Valley, and they don’t distract from his ideas. 

What is Your Personal Brand?

Are you ready to level up your personal branding? Then it’s time to dress the part. Apply for Next Level Wardrobe’s Virtual Executive Image Consulting services for women and men. We’re ready to help you find your brand and embody it through every part of your look. From cleaning out your closet to creating a curated shopping plan to grooming tips and more, we’ve got you covered.

About the Author - Cassandra Sethi
About the Author - Cassandra Sethi

Personal Stylist & Image Consultant

Cassandra Sethi is a Personal Stylist and Founder of Next Level Wardrobe, a luxury Personal Styling and Shopping Service that helps successful professionals of all ages and sizes. After working in the fashion industry for over 25 years, she used her expert knowledge to create a proprietary styling system called ‘The Next Level Wardrobe Style System' which guarantees clients more outfits with less items in their closet. NLW has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Tamron Hall Show, NY Mag, Huffington Post and more.

*Disclosure: Next Level Wardrobe only recommends products that we’d suggest to our clients or personally wear ourselves. All opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, Next Level Wardrobe may earn a small commission. Read the full privacy policy here.

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Cassandra Sethi

is a NYC Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. She is the Founder of Next Level Wardrobe and 'The NLW Style System' that guarantees clients more outfits with less items.

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