The Wardrobe Code - Be Yourself

Why Yoga Pants Are Ruining Your Bottom Line

As a Mad Men fan (and someone who is constantly marketing my own business) I’m also a fan of the AMC show, The Pitch. If you haven’t watched The Pitch, let me break it down for you:

Two advertising agencies compete for the business of one, big brand. The show follows each agency for a week as they craft a marketing and branding pitch they’ll reveal at the end of the show. It’s totally entertaining in that you get to see all the drama that happens in a creative agency, egos and all.

But there is something about this show that I love to hate – and it’s the way these creatives dress.

If I could have just 5 minute with one of these ad men or women, I’d tell them point blank: you’re a hot mess. From knit beanies in the bull pen to t-shirts in the boardroom, you’re giving off a really bad impression about your industry. One that thinks you’re above dressing to impress your clients (and competitors).

I don’t care how creative you are, wearing casual sportswear to a client presentation is just lazy. So lazy, in fact, it’s offensive. Nobody wants laid back – not when they’re paying you tens of thousands of dollars (or more) for the pleasure of doing business with you.

See, like I said – love to hate.

So, where do you and yoga pants fit into this? I’m glad you asked.

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If you’re self-employed, a freelancer, entrepreneur or solopreneur, you’ve got to live, eat, sleep and wear your brand every damn day. When you’re draping yourself in a generic costume, you’re not living your brand. If you start to let your wardrobe slide into wearing yoga pants or something else really blah, you’re letting apathy take over.

And apathy is fatal for your business.

I’m not exactly saying you should have a Mad Men-worthy outfit each day. But the truth is, at best, putting your Lululemons on repeat says you’re overwhelmed. And, at worst, it says there’s nothing happening that’s special enough for you to get dressed up for. Which is directly counter to every intention you have with your website, Facebook page, Twitter account and every ounce of effort you put into marketing.

And that’s what it really comes down to is intention. If you’re constantly saying, “I want more sales/customers,” then that needs to be reflected in your daily look.

And, even if you’re like one of those people who have enough clients (and love to tell others about it every chance you get), then – sorry – a phoned-in look is still bad for your bottom line.

It’s like that quote (often attributed to Ghandi) that goes:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.”

Are yoga pants your destiny?!

I hope not! Don’t go mistaking apathy for comfort.

But, wait, maybe I’m being a bit tough on you. Here I am, giving you the business on setting your intention with how you dress, but I haven’t mentioned how to do that.

As a solopreneur, myself, I understand your challenges. You may be a one-woman-show, or leader of a very small team. You have limited time for any kind of self-development because you’re too busy building a business. Your day probably starts very, very early and it’s much too easy to start work without putting the effort into making yourself look and feel great.

So, the first step to creating a personal brand that matches your business brand is to make it a priority. Declare it to your friends, write it in your journal, calendar out a morning routine that does your look some justice – whatever works for you.

The next step is to ask yourself, “what do my clients want to see in me?” This goes directly back to your brand and what you do for your clients. What are you providing them – support, creativity, encouragement? You’ve created a character that they’ve hired (or are thinking of hiring) and they need to see that reflected in your look every time they have an interaction with you.

It’s your job to foster a strong sense of confidence in your brand with your clients – but it’s not just about impressing your clients. For your own sake, you need to have even greater confidence in yourself. Because being successful requires that you believe in yourself – which is impossible to do if you don’t feel and look confident.

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If you’re ready to get out of your yoga pants and messy bun rut, check out my free webinar on March 21st. Jessica Kupferman from Lady Business Radio and I will be talking all about how to take your personal brand from frump to fab.
It’s free! Register here.

 

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Comments

  1. I am SUPER guilty of this, and now that I think about it I really go in waves with it. Sometimes I’m super good about getting up doing my morning thing and sliding in and sometimes I’m just up get the kid out the door and at my desk. You hit the nail on the head with overwhelm. It comes down to needing to make time for it.

    Also I think there is a value in pointing out that sometimes you’re doing it for just you, maybe you’re not going to see any clients that day but YOU feel better with a little lipstick. That’s not silly that’s basic self care!

    • Nicole Longstreath says:

      I totally agree that it’s not just for clients – it’s for your own self confidence. Try some outfit making in advance to keep you excited about your wardrobe. Maybe just put together 3 outfits on a Sunday?

    • That sounds like me, too. I sometimes work in a pair of pajama pants all day (not the ones I slept in). I’m good about getting up, taking a walk, eating and showering on a set schedule, but sometimes I find it easier to throw on a pair of pajama pants and work in those. I’m working on doing better. Frumpy is definitely not the look I want to be known for. (And pajama pants let out too easily…not good for noticing when you need to get to the gym more often!)

      • Nicole Longstreath says:

        I know, it’s so easy when you work from home to skip all that self care! I do it too, occasionally. But it really reframes your perspective when you think of it being a “habit,” right? Thanks for reading, Yoneco!

  2. Yoga pants are not my destiny! Lawdamighty, there’s like a million things in this post I want to turn into t-shirts or posters. My favorite has to be “You’ve go to live, eat, sleep and wear your brand every damn day.” TBH I slack off when I’m not meeting clients face-to-face. Gotta start completely embodying my brand – even when I’m just on conference calls!

    Thanks again, Nicole! You’re basically a magical style fairy.

    PS Freaking LOVE the term “frumpreneur” partly because I never want to be one!

    • Nicole Longstreath says:

      “Yoga pants are not my destiny!” will be made into a shareable graphic later this week with your name on it! Thanks, Ann! xo

  3. “Are yoga pants your destiny?!” Haha! That’s a frightening thought! Thanks for the kick in the yoga pants butt!

  4. Everytime I reach for my yoga pants..I hear your voice..
    Yoga pants are not my destiny..I repeat..Yoga pants are not my destiny (unless I plan on becoming a full-time yogi?)
    I totally agree though, when I dress up and get organized right in the morning, it has a positive effect on my work.

    • Nicole Longstreath says:

      It sooo does have such a great effect! I’m glad to hear my words are stickin’ with you ;)

  5. First, the title of this post is fabulous! Second, as much as I love yoga pants, and as much as I wish I were sitting at my desk with them on today, I would never wear them to meet with clients. Now, leopard print heels… that a whole different story ;) #kickasspreneur

  6. I have to politely agree to disagree with you here. A couple years ago, I was tired of being out of shape, and made a commitment to incorporate exercise into my daily lifestyle. One hour, 5-6 times per week. I lost 30 lbs, and I am never looking back. Before I made this transformation, I was often dressed nicely, but extremely unhealthy. What I realized is that if I am going to exercise 5 or 6 times per week, sometimes that means hanging out in my exercise clothes. But the truth is, I FEEL better, red-faced, sweat-crusted, and in yoga pants than I ever did before, gussied up but out of shape. On any given day, if my choice is exercise OR primp, I’m choosing the former. And now when I do have time to get gussied up, I feel like a million bucks :)

    • Nicole Longstreath says:

      Thirty pounds?! That’s great, Ali! Kudos to you for deciding to improve and then making it happen!
      I think your business falls into the same category as a fitness professional, no? Since you’re looking after and walking dogs, I kind of expect you to be in active wear. So you get a pass ;)

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