Shareen Rivers on building a personal brand through power dressing
How would the CEO of company ‘You’ dress?
Fact: you only get one chance to make a first impression in the workplace. Also fact: even more important is then maintaining and developing that impression so that bosses, colleagues and clients all have an extremely clear understanding of who you are as a person. You are your own brand.
Improving your self-image, like improving any skill, takes time, practice and self-awareness. Developing great self-esteem involves encouraging a positive (but realistic!) attitude towards yourself and the world around you and appreciating your worth, while at the same time behaving responsibly towards others. Self-esteem isn’t self-absorption; it’s self-respect!
We’ve been lucky enough to meet Shareen Rivers, founder and owner of S. Rivers Image Consultancy. With over 15 years experience as a fashion stylist and personal shopper, Shareen has extensive knowledge of dressing for different body shapes, wearable trends and colour theories for skin and hair types. Having also worked in a variety of areas from buying in luxury retail to visual merchandising and styling for photo shoots, she focuses on discovering and exploring a client’s true style, creating a unique personal brand whilst building confidence and self esteem all at the same time.
Shareen discovered her personal style at a very young age and, having always been fascinated by the fashion industry, went on to work with the likes of Ralph Lauran, Donna Karan, Amanda Wakeley, Ronit Zilkha and Crombie. ‘I always wanted to be different in what I wore; I had to make my mother alter some clothes for me when I was younger as she was a professional tailor!’ Even as a child Shareen clearly understood the importance of making brand ‘Me’ stand out!
One of the most important elements of creating brand ‘Me’ is making sure what you’re wearing actually suits you. Sounds simple enough, but apart from staring at ourselves wearing various colours in the mirror until our eyes begin to blur, how on earth are we supposed to know what hues do us most favours? It’s all about recognising and matching your skin tone, Shareen tells us. People who fall in the warm category have yellow or golden skin tones, while those in the cool category have more pinky or beige tones. Warm skinned women look incredible in deep reds, rich pinks and warm taupes, whereas cool skinned women should look for soft pink colours, or light caramels, peaches and warm mauves.
Unsurprisingly, one of the questions Shareen gets asked the most is how to look more powerful in the workplace, so we asked her to talk us through some of our favourite powerful women (read: girl crushes) and explain how they’ve nailed their own brand ‘Me’. Notepads at the ready ladies.
Naturally elegant and exuding a timeless grace, Olivia Palermo is the woman everyone’s trying to emulate; ‘she can do no wrong in the fashion world right now!’ The fact that all eyes are on her on the FROW at huge catwalk shows despite the gorgeous clothes that are parading past proves just how successfully Olivia has carved out a recognisable brand for herself – everyone knows to look to her for effortless chic style inspiration.
Like Olivia, Emma Watson is another star who has a very strong sense of self, both in terms of her style and her goals. ‘I loved her dramatic pixie haircut, it was the perfect style for her elfin features!’ Her English Rose style has made sure she’s stood out amongst the Americans in Hollywood, and its grace and sophistication has allowed her incredible authority as the face and voice of the HeForShe gender equality campaign.
Rachel Zoe is also a huge inspiration both for us and for Shareen: ‘she has her fashion guru finger in many pies and still finds time to be a mum to her two young sons’. So what can we learn from the full time mum / entrepreneur / stylist / writer? ‘Rachel has often said that even if you’re really, really busy always take 5 minutes to make yourself look good, and that’s something I believe in’, Shareen explains. ‘Even when she’s carrying her little ones in her arms she still wears heels and she has an incredible knack of making even a simple black gown look uber-glamorous by cleverly accessorising!’
‘Anna Kendrick is a delight to follow on Twitter’, (seriously, she is, if you’re not already following her go and do it now!), ‘I love her spontaneous, self-depreciating style and totally agree with her when she says ‘what’s the point in fashion if you’re not having a good time?’’ Again, Anna’s someone who’s very successfully managed to express her personality as the girl next door who’s always up for a laugh through her style choices.
‘Lauren Conrad is our quintessential west coast beauty’, says Shareen, and we should take a leaf out of her book when it comes to dressing for potentially stressful occasions. ‘Even with her look on her wedding day she was very true to herself and natural. Even more so on a potentially stressful day it’s important to feel comfortable in what you wear and how you look otherwise you won’t feel or look confident with the image you are attempting to portray’. The better you know brand ‘Me’, the easier it will be to style yourself for numerous different occasions, always staying true to the personality you’ve come to be known for.
Ok, so let’s sum up what we’ve learned from Shareen: have a clear understanding of the woman you want to portray yourself to be, and then work with your personality traits and colouring to develop a style known as brand ‘Me’. Prepare, know the path, enjoy it, and be yourself!