Michelle Obama is an archetypal example of effective personal branding. In addition, to her warm, feminine, engaging, down to earth and confident demeanor, it is crystal clear what she values; family and healthy living. Plus, she is consistent in her application and expression of her personal brand. She is poised, personable, and positively scandal-proof.
While it’s obvious that having killer style is an important component of a put-together appearance, clothing can only do so much. Michelle’s likability goes past her wardrobe and into her skilled self-presentation. From the boardroom to cocktail parties, we can all pick up some personal branding tips from the FLOTUS. When building your personal brand, keep these three “image makers” in mind:
1. Make Your Mark With A Signature
Much like first lady and fashion icon Jackie Onassis’ oversized sunglasses and preppy popped collars, Michelle’s style can be detected from miles away. She knows that keeping her look consistent shows discipline and individuality, and she isn’t afraid to play favorites. Her preferred designers/brands range from the high end (Oscar de la Renta and Tracy Reese) to more accessible brands (J. Crew and even Target). These choices are all in synch with her image as a role model for women across the globe: “she is one of us.”
Michelle loves rich jewel tones
She favors jewel tones, pearls, and gloves if the weather calls for them. A signature look gives people something to associate with you, making you more memorable. Although a signature is a crucial part of image-branding, it’s equally important to remember to…
2. Keep it Fresh
Trying new things shows a sense of adventure, both in your fashion sense and in your personality. Keeping the same look for decades not only comes off as dated, but it can also show a tendency to be old-fashioned and set in your ways. The first lady knows this, as evidenced by her choice to switch up her haircut. She kept her signature medium-length bob but changed it up slightly with fashionable bangs. Check out the FLOTUS’s first and second term portraits for the sake of comparison:
Her second term portrait shows a freshness and personality that wouldn’t have come through if she’d kept the same look for the four years straight. While a timeless fragrance (Mrs. Obama prefers Creed’s Love in White) is a great signature move, keeping the same haircut for years probably isn’t.
Artistic Colour’s “Vogue” makes a splash at the DNC.
The unconventional nail color that she wore to the 2012 DNC was a great example of this, and is also a great reminder that…
3. Authenticity is Key
When Michelle became a household name, she got a lot of flak for her arm-baring dresses and tops. Michelle knew when to pick her battles, and chose not to respond to criticism of her clothing choices. Although she has an enviable sense of style, she chooses to draw attention to her more significant achievements like her charity work and nationwide health initiatives. Whether it’s regarding your industry or social circle, people will talk when you put yourself in the public eye. It’s up to you to choose what to respond to, and to decide what you want others to focus on. This is why personal branding is so critical: it allows you choose how you would like to be perceived by others.
Carina Drakes for Elan Image Management
Be sure to visit Elan Image Management’s website for more style tips. If you find yourself struggling with how to coordinate your summer wardrobe Contact Us to explore how we can help you with one of our image consulting services. Are you subscribing to the blog feed to get weekly updates in your inbox? Do so Here.
Be Fabulously You!