- Player: Janine Starkey
- Company: House of Janine and Tweak & Style
- What they do: House of Janine: Individual and corporate image consultants
- Tweak & Style: Affordable personal shopping and stylists
- Launched: 2004 and 2015
- Visit: houseofjanine.com and tweaknstyle.co.za
According to Starkey, finding your style is the secret to personal branding. “How we dress influences how successful we feel, and that directly impacts our confidence.”
For example, the team from the Discovery Financial Advisor Graduate Programme requested that an image consultant work with new recruits’ corporate brand image, thus ensuring that new advisers represent the brand with professionalism and confidence.
“In sales, first impressions are particularly important, and Discovery Financial Advisor Graduate Programme has found that by educating their new consultants on image and style, they can work with their clientele in confidence,” says Starkey.
The best part of personal style in South Africa is that there’s no single, homogenous fashion. “This gives you a huge opportunity to dress to your body shape and personality, as well as what you want to project. With no accepted fashion rights or wrongs, it’s all about style, which is personal and memorable.”
Related: How To Start A Clothing Business
Your personal image doesn’t just happen by accident. For Starkey, it’s the amalgamation of self-image, personal brand, behaviour and how you carry yourself, which means it takes some thought. Once you know what you want to project, you can then work on how you project it. You’ve got a blueprint that you can consistently follow, which of course feeds into your personal brand.
So how do you find your personal style? According to Starkey, there are three elements to consider: Your personality, the image you want to project, and the company that you’re representing. This is either a corporate that employs you, or your own business. Either way, the business will encompass a set of values that you need to embody in your own professional style.
“A good place to start is by finding the three words that best describe your personality,” says Starkey.
“It’s a simple exercise that gets you to sit down and focus on who you are and what you want to project to the outside world. Once you give context to these elements you can consciously craft a style that portrays them.”
It’s important to stay authentic though. Unless your style is a reflection of who you are, it will never feel comfortable, which will diminish your confidence instead of boost it.
“The real magic happens when you’re able to marry your personality with what you want to project to the world. How you dress can exude confidence, power and expertise, even if your personality is more humble. It’s an exceptionally powerful tool in your arsenal if you know how to use it.”
Rules of thumb
To get you started, there are a few classics that everyone should have in their wardrobe.
Men: Dark blazers are distinctive and timeless; belts and shoes should always match.
For women: Wear colour close to your face, this ensures your skin tone radiates, which is important because our face is what we sell first. Wear clothes that fit. Nothing should gape or be baggy. Buy clothes to fit, not based on the size in the label. No one else knows what the label says. Spaghetti strap tops can be worn under everything, and are a great way to add a splash of colour to a classic wardrobe.
Top tip: Spend money on your classic pieces. They last forever, don’t date and are there when you need them.
Put effort into how you dress to exude expertise and inspire confidence in clients and colleagues.