What you wear impacts your business

This is a guest blog from Samantha Harman, the Style Editor, who was our speaker at Decembers South Oxfordshire Breakfast

When you’re running a business, there are so many things to do. 

You have to think about your accounts, marketing, networking, sales…. 

But do you ever think about how what you wear could be the missing piece in your business strategy?

As a style coach I help founders, coaches and women in leadership elevate their style to help their success.

I began my career as a journalist and became an editor (editing titles such as the Oxford Mail and Times) in my mid-20s. 

At that time, there were very few women editors, and trying to be a leader in a high-pressure environment was tough enough, without standing in front of my wardrobe in the morning thinking… what the hell do I wear?! 

This is a conversation we don’t have in business. 

Talking about our clothes is seen as frivolous, when the reality is: 

1) Our clothes can change how we feel about ourselves, equipping us with the confidence to go after our goals 

2) We make a judgement about whether we want to work with somebody within seconds of meeting them. What is your vibe telling your potential customers? 

I decided that just because editors had looked and acted in a certain way for a long, long time – it didn’t mean that had to be the way it always was. 

Newsrooms were TERRIFYING when I first started working in them. But I wanted to cultivate an environment where people – from all kinds of backgrounds – felt supported. 

I believe we get the best out of our people when we allow them to bring themselves fully to their role. And that shows in the stats too – customers are over 80% more likely to buy from a company when they see its executives showing up.

SO… without any direction from the company handbook – yet a very strong sense of personal style –  I leaned into my personal brand. And when I began posting my outfits on social media, or meeting other women leaders at events, they were asking me questions like: 

  • How can I feel like me in my corporate uniform? 
  • I’ve got an important meeting – what should I wear?

I realised no one was having these conversations. On the one hand, we feel self-conscious and lack confidence…. On the other hand, we avoid speaking about this stuff for fear we’ll be seen as ‘not serious.’

And at the same time, we have a massive problem with overconsumption. 

These things are related.

We don’t have the conversation, so we’re confused and overwhelmed, and instead of dealing with the cause – we throw money at the problem. 

Have a bad day? Buy a new outfit. Got an important meeting? Add it on Buy Now Pay Later. 

We use shopping as therapy, or as a quick-fix. When there is so much more going on here. 

And I am sure many people reading this will say they don’t do this.., but I am regularly inside women’s wardrobes. I see the evidence! 

What you wear impacts your business because: 

  1. The better you feel, the better you’ll show up. The more likely you are to ask for the sale, or the promotion, if you’re in your best energy
  1. You don’t have time to spend worrying about this stuff. Your brain is like a battery. Every decision you make uses up energy. If you spend 10 minutes every morning putting on clothes and pulling them off and getting worked up – not only are you going to have less energy for the things that really matter, but you’re going to be feeling frustrated and annoyed.
  1. Your wardrobe is the symptom, not the cause. And if you have clothes in there you never wear, or that don’t fit, or that are in need of repair…. This is telling me about your relationship with yourself. 

*If 2022 is the year you want to refresh your style for business success, you can book in for a chat with me here or visit thestyleeditor.co.uk

Samantha is the Editor of Oxfordshire Living and is always looking for local businesses to feature. Visit living-magazines.co.uk to review the style of the magazine, and if you think you’d be a good fit and have hi-res imagery, email samantha.harman@newsquest.co.uk

Share your love