Tips from a pro: 5 ways to enhance your personal brand


By Meaghan Baxter 

You only get one chance to make a first impression, so why not make it amazing? Creating a strong personal brand is imperative for success, and the way we present ourselves says a great deal before we even have the opportunity to speak. Sue Heuman of Style On Purpose—who is also a Principal/Executive Advisor at Focus Communications—generously donated her time by delivering an engaging workshop at our recent general meeting.  Here are some of Sue’s pro trips for putting your best foot forward.

1. Give yourself a DIY makeover

Sue, who received her Image Consulting Certificate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, encourages everyone to give themselves a makeover. Do a lifestyle analysis and identify where you spend the majority of your time. If it’s at the office, your wardrobe should reflect that. From there, have a look at your body type (Sue has a great post about that and consider your style personality. Shop pieces that reflect your body type rather than fleeting trends. Invest in classic pieces that can be mixed and matched beyond one season. As Sue pointed out, it’s easy to get stuck in a style rut, so don’t be afraid to enlist a trusted friend to help you out.

2. Makeup and hair make all the difference

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Your hair and makeup should reflect your style personality and enhance your natural beauty rather than detracting from it. Sue advised changing up your hairstyle—experimenting with colour or cut—as an easy way to refresh your look. She spoke with What Not To Wear hairstylist Ted Gibson at his NYC salon, and he said there’s nothing more aging than having the same hairstyle for 10 years. If you’re worried about committing to a big change, have your stylist pin your hair up to mimic a shorter cut before the scissors come out. Makeup is best kept natural, especially for the workplace. Stick to neutral colour palettes, go easy on the foundation (Sue recommends BB cream or a tinted moisturizer) and blush, and choose one feature to accentuate. If you play up your eye makeup, for example, keep your lips more subdued.

3. Confidence is key

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Do you have an outfit that makes you feel amazing? Look for pieces like it. Sue recommends wearing clothing you feel confident in to the mall while you shop and trying on pieces that are similar. Confidence is key when it comes to making a good first impression and maintaining your personal brand, so choose a look that allows you to shine.

 

  1. Do a closet overhaul

We all have those items in our closet that never see the light of day or that still have the tags on.

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Sue advises the next time you wear an outfit to hang it on the right-hand side of your closet. Repeat this step for awhile and you’ll quickly see what you don’t wear—it’ll all end up on the left-hand side. Donate these items and focus on filling your wardrobe with pieces you’ll actually wear and that can be incorporated with ones you already have.
  1. Don’t be afraid to show your personality

Work environments can be tricky to navigate; some are more conservative while others allow for more sartorial flexibility. Sue recommends that if you work in a very conservative office where suits are the norm, for example, incorporate fun accessories or shoes that show off your personality. Look around your workplace to see what others are wearing—particularly those in higher positions—and if they’re experimenting a little bit, it’s OK to follow their lead.

 

Be sure to visit Sue’s blog Style on Purpose at for more useful tips, and don’t hesitate to reach out to her via email at  for personal styling needs.

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