Isabella Clivilez-Wu is an alumna of the internationally acclaimed Fashion Institute of Technology, a certified member of the NeuroLeadership Institute, and a regular contributor to ForbesUnder30 blog. Isabella also holds dual certifications in both Personal Branding and Menswear from the Studio of Image Professionals. Isabella is an innovator and ‘thought-leader’ in her field, the first to merge a passion for neuroscience and art to create a comprehensive approach to impression management. In addition to working with private clients, Isabella also lectures and conducts workshops for large organizations and Ivy League universities.
What is your personal brand
Your personal brand encompasses four elements: your behavior, your communication, your online or digital presence, as well as your appearance.
Image is an integral part of your brand. It’s not about being the most attractive person in the room, it’s about being polished and neat. If you are the best version of yourself then you will make a wonderful impression.
What you should avoid wearing on stage
- You shouldn’t wear a size that is not your size. Women sometimes wear a size that they used to be or an “aspirational size”. You will feel uncomfortable, you will be very self conscious on stage and your audience will sense your discomfort. For men, the best is a suit that has been tailored. Not necessarily bespoke as it can be too expensive, but tailored.
- In terms of color, you can’t go wrong with blue. Some of the best shades of blue are royal blue or cobalt blue. Blue instills trust, instills confidence and makes you more likeable. Studies have shown the following colors are perceived as universally flattering: soft white, periwinkle, taupe, bright navy, purple, turquoise and emerald. Be very careful about red. Orange and yellow can be perceived as loud too. Use red, orange and yellow in accessories, not as the main color such as in a blazer.
- Never be overly casual. For instance if you speak to undergraduate students, you should be not dressing at their level but a notch up. Your image should project “I know what I’m talking about.”
The best thing to do is to communicate with the meeting organizer in advance so you will know what to expect at the venue. Be prepared for the following external factors:
- If the speakers will use clip-on microphones instead of hand-held, women may consider this in order to decide what to wear. Clip-on mics are easier to attach to most mens’ clothes.
- Check the stage’s background colors, ask for a photo if possible. So your color doesn’t either clash or blend.
- In terms of temperature, do wear layered so if it gets too hot or too cold you will adjust easily.
- Finally, do rehearse with the actual clothes you plan to wear. If someone can see you and give you feedback, even better. Get a 360° degrees feedback. Think of the “Dress Rehearsal” that happens in Broadway and other shows.
Some speakers who dress well
Sylvie di Giusto (Isabella’s mentor), who is very tall. She wears black a lot, but very sleek, luxurious and confident.
Travis Bradberry typically wears a suit, not luxurious but quality. He looks always ready to present to a C-suite audience.
Jeffrey Hayzlett has a cowboy kind of swagger and what he wears fits his style.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” —Marianne Williamson
Routine to Shine
Pray. Meditate on something positive. Count the blessings in your life, and think of how you can improve someone else’s life. Do it daily.
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