WHAT MARK ZUCKERBERG'S HOODIE AND YOUR PERSONAL BRAND HAVE IN COMMON
If you think your passion for bright lipstick, affinity for the color black, or your funky socks stops and ends with your own personal style, think again.
I touched on the importance of personal style a few weeks back, but knowing your aesthetic is very different than rocking your aesthetic. Honing in on what makes you feel you and then rocking it consistently, constantly and with unapologetic authenticity is the makings of a strong, signature personal brand.
It all comes down to being memorable.
Think about some of the most impressionable personal brands and celebrities you know and the impact their personal style has had on their careers, their personal platforms and their tribes. If you own your signature look as much as you own your mission, your growth and your message, your aesthetic becomes synonymous with something deeper, and in turn, helps you stand out from the rest of the pack.
Let’s take high-heeled designer shoes, for example. Say you are a power female executive, and you are never seen without your high heels. You show up to meetings, get featured in the press, attend power lunches and stand on stages to give keynote speeches, all while wearing your signature heels. Over and over again, you wear them. With time, those heels begin to stand for something. They represent not just you and your message, but badass, powerful, executive women everywhere. When people see another female executive in high heels, they’re reminded of you.
This might seem extreme (I personally can’t stand wearing heels, but I DO love rocking bright lipstick), but the point is this: Your consistency in your look becomes signature to your personal brand, and that signature style is leveragable.
Let’s take a closer look at a few personal brands to break down just how signature style can subconsciously impact the way audiences relate, tribes are built and personal brands ultimately stand out.
The former Executive Creative Director of J.Crew became an icon for reasons that expanded beyond the fashion industry. She had a penchant for spotting rising, young talent, standing up against gender inequality, jumping into acting on the hit show Girls and pushing the boundaries all over the red carpet. And she was never without her signature spectacles, which became synonymous with fierce, empowered women unafraid to raise eyebrows.
Chance the Rapper:
The #3 Hat
Chance’s #3 is a great case study on how your signature style impacts your tribe and brings them together. When you see a guy or gal rocking a #3 hat, you know he’s a Chance fan, must have a certain taste in music and perhaps has an affinity for underground artists. What YOU wear says as much about you as your tribe when they emulate you.
This prolific writer and thought leader on consciousness and femininity is covered in tattoos. She rocks them openly and constantly talks about their meanings. It’s no coincidence that her tribe of followers consists mainly of badass women seeking to live fully expressed lives.
Gabby has grown a massive tribe of “Spirit Junkies,” inspired by her namesake book. On the cover of that book, Gabby is wearing her signature necklace with a triangular clear crystal. This necklace constantly pops up on her YouTube videos, media appearances and speaking gigs. Being a leader in the spiritual community, the necklace represents her mission, message and her tribe.
Katy Lynch: High Heels
Back to the high heels. Katy Lynch, the founder of Codeverse, is rarely seen without her Louboutins. Katy has admitted to being more comfortable in six-inch heels than she is in flats and can be seen literally running around Chicago wearing her signature heels. They stand for Katy’s style, but also for women entrepreneurs who are unafraid to own their passions for business and for style.
Love it or hate it, Mark Zuckerberg made it socially acceptable to dress like a scrub at the office. Thanks to Zuck, hoodies now unanimously represent start-up culture, tech disruption and a “plugged-in and heads down” mentality.