If You Struggle With Confidence as an Entrepreneur and Business Owner, Here are 8 Fashion Tips That Might Just Help.

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Anyone who is building a business knows that it takes constant effort and a high level of self belief to achieve our goals. The confidence required to back ourselves can be a challenge that many of us really do understand. We need to do everything we can to set ourselves up for success, and there is no doubt that what we wear and how we look certainly have a big impact on our level of confidence. 

There is a definite relationship between what we wear and how we feel. This is very well documented and we know anecdotally that we all have those outfits that make us feel strong and confident and those that make us feel the opposite. A red dress shaped perfectly for our body can make a woman feel strong as a leader. Or the right fitting athletic apparel gears us up for performance on the track or at the gym.

As business owners we need to do everything in our favour, choosing the right things to wear is like having a power stance. 

In terms of our own clothing and fashion routines, are we making the best choices? Are we aware of the effect that a certain outfit has on the way we feel and the way we project ourselves? We can put on an outfit and feel that it’s not quite right, yet we can’t pinpoint why? This is a surefire signal we need to put some more thought into choosing the right garments 

You know what it feels like when you are dressed in clothes that make you feel great. You feel the part, you feel strong and confident and you like how you look (the most important consideration). You know the outfits that enable you to give a compelling presentation or pitch and I’m sure you want to feel like that as often as you can. 

I’m sure you’re disciplined, focused and committed to your business so why not try these 8 tips that I recommitted to my clients, designed to boost your confidence whenever you need some extra ammunition: 

1. Only wear clothes that actually fit you properly

The fit of a garment has the ability to make you feel confident, energised and attractive or on the flip side, uncomfortable,  unattractive and out of sorts. Too many people wear clothes that are either too big or too small. We may feel like this is making us look better or feel better but usually it’s the reverse. Wear clothes that fit you really well. This might mean working with someone to buy the right clothes that fit in the first place or alternatively getting them tailored to fit. Make sure your clothing isn’t too tight or too lose. Find out what the best hem lengths, necklines and shapes are for your body type. Be honest with yourself about what fits and doesn’t ( even if you are going to lose those 5kgs one day) it’s better to buy what works now. Clothing that fits properly will put you at ease and in the best mindset to approach your day. 

2. Invest in a range of good quality basic items

This really just means having what I like to call the “basics”, which are the pieces that you can mix and match for many situations. This helps to avoid the “I’ve got nothing to wear” feeling we are all familiar with when opening our closet door. 

It means investing in some basic items, make them really good quality, and then building your other more signature pieces around your basic items.  

I consider the basics to include: 

- Blazer, 

- Trench Coat, 

- A good quality blouse (or shirt ) long sleeve and short sleeve, 

- Tailored pants, 

- A line or pencil skirt 

- Signature dress, 

- Fine cashmere or wool sweater

Remember these don’t have to be stock standard items, you can find pieces in these categories that suit your style and needs. Take time to find the right pieces. But having a really good set of basics that you know fit you well, gives you enormous flexibility and security and they help put an end to “I hate everything in my closet syndrome”. 

3. Take time to prepare your clothes and this generally means ironing

It’s easy to think of ironing as a chore (it is), but if you iron your clothes well, this goes a long way to enhancing how you feel in your clothes. It also goes a long way to how others perceive you. We’ve all seen that one person who clearly can’t iron very well or who refused to iron their clothes. It gives of an air of “not caring” but does it install confidence in others? Probably not. We need to do everything we can to feel strong and confident, taking the time to look our best is a really good investment in the day ahead. And I know, who has the time right? We need to make the time. 

4. Know what dress codes actually mean

I always suggest doing some research to find out exactly what the dress codes are for the location you are attending or the client you are going to meet. It’s not that hard to do. Visit their website, talk to someone who perhaps has done business with them or if all else fails, overdress to show respect. One of the trickiest dress codes to get right is smart casual, it can be ambiguous and problematic when selecting the right outfit. I It’s always better to be slightly more polished than you need but never too over dressed. I think it’s about dressing in a way that shows respect for your client or the event you are attending as well as respect for yourself. 

5. If you don’t feel great in it donate it to a charity

For me this is really simple. Any clothing that you don’t feel confident in has no place in your closet. Why would you keep something that makes you feel bad whenever you wear it? Yet statistically, most women only wear 20% of their clothes for that very reason. Even if you spent a lot of money on an item it doesn’t matter. It’s much more important to feel at ease and confident. It’s better to have fewer pieces that fit you perfectly and make you feel amazing than a closet full of pieces that just create confusion and negative body image feelings each time you look at them. How can this clothing help you or serve you? It can’t. Let it go. Donate it to a good cause and move on. 

6. If you work from home, build this one very important routine. 

As an Entrepreneur and business owner, many of us work from home. We can mooch around the house in our casual gear because after all, who is going to see us? This is a dangerous routine to get into. We know that what we wear affects our state of mind, so even at home, we need to be dressing to feel confident. I suggest establishing a routine to get dressed for work even if you are at home. If you are a Mum there are ways to dress that allow you to be comfortable and flexible yet still polished and looking fantastic. Have work attire that helps your take off the Mum, partner or work at home Entrepreneur hat and put on your awesome audacious business owner persona!

7. Capitalise on your best features. 

We all have features about ourselves that we like and features about ourselves that we really don’t like. That’s normal and it’s something we need to work to. Find outfits that help you accentuate and flatter your best features and conceal the parts of where you are less confident.  Do you have a waistline that all other women would die for? Do your amazonian legs give you towering strength and grace? Maybe your eyes are you best features and create an engaged response when you pair them with a certain colour? Or perhaps you have fabulous curves that scream femininity and power? Whatever it is be sure to find the best outfits, shapes and colours that bring out your best. We all have a lot to work with, even if you think you don’t. So work with it. 

8. Dress as your best self

When its all too easy to choose your favourite top and skirt because you feel comfortable maybe there are other items in your closet, or items that you could buy, which will take you to that next level in terms of confidence. Is there an amazing outfit that you can finally afford but you just don’t know if you can pull it off. It might feel too strong and too confident for you (yes, that’s a thing). But why not make the leap? Download some images from the internet of your ideal looks, or your dream outfits and keep them on your phone or desktop. For now you can find ways to emulate these in ways that suits you and your personality.

Curating your collection so that it truly brings out your best is a winning formula. This simply means really putting some thought and a strategy into place to ensure that the vast majority of the clothes you have make you feel how you want to feel.    

In the world of business we want to have everything in our favour. In fact we need to have every single thing in our favour, because doing business is tough and getting tougher. Never underestimate just how significant having the right clothing collection could be to your business world.

Lalita Lowe                                                                                                                                     Personal Fashion Curator