Tamara works with executive-track professionals as well as Canada’s top brands to develop distinctive, authentic image and brand strategies. You can find Tamara’s expertise on numerous style blogs, and in the media as a trusted image & style expert.
By Tamara Glick
In the early aughts, you didn’t pursue a career in advertising so much as you fell into a career in advertising. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t a common recruitment stream in my MBA program. In fact, I was the only person in my cohort to pursue it. But, I was determined. I approached my career centre with the questions: How do I present myself in this industry? If I’m networking or interviewing, how do I dress?
To the very best of their ability, my career counsellor provided me with the only advice they knew how to give: a strictly corporate set of parameters of black and navy suits and white shirts.
There’s something else you should know — I felt like an imposter for most of my MBA. Coming from an arts and fashion background made me stand out like Elle Woods at Harvard.
I might have known style, but I was at the finest school in the country — so I paid attention. Prepping for a mock interview with a mentor who had long been in the agency world, I suited up in my best black skirt suit, a high-necked top, a french twist, pearl earrings, and pantyhose.
My mentor took one look at me, and her face said it all. “What in the world is this?” she said, gesturing to my outfit. I sighed: “I have no idea! I can’t do this every day and be creative!”
What happened next changed the trajectory of my career.
We discussed branding, knowing your audience, honouring yourself, and building your reputation — and all of a sudden, it clicked.
The “fashion stuff” that I had always been so passionate about, the years of assisting people in feeling strong, confident, and influential via their style — these were really, truly critical skills to professional development and to building a successful personal brand.
I changed my strategy and began to experiment with how style affected different interactions. I built a successful advertising career, continued studying the impact of image, and became a certified Image Consultant.
I launched my practice and, realizing how much more nuance there was to truly dressing for success, my alma mater became my first client.
Since then I’ve helped highly-visible, senior-level executives and thought-leaders develop a unique style that supports their goals and elevates their personal brands — especially when big changes are afoot. And just like developing any skill set, what got you here, isn’t necessarily what will get you there. Uplevelling to reach your next goal requires and deserves elevating your brand.
“I approached my career centre with the questions: How do I present myself in this industry? If I’m networking or interviewing, how do I dress?”
Top 3 Tips to Elevate Your Personal Brand
1) Originality, authenticity, and polish:
Everyone wants and deserves to be comfortable. But, no-one needs to trade in on their style and brand potential just to remain passable, in the name of “comfort.” Comfort isn’t about wearing yoga pants to work, it’s about being at ease, genuine, confident in one’s skin. Developing a memorable personal brand is about supporting yourself with style that fits your personality, your career, and your body. It’s about polishing yourself as much as you would your presentations, papers, and results. After all, they’re all a part of the same package: You.
2) Live your brand:
Being genuine is key to developing a meaningful personal brand. Moulds are for cookies and Jell-o — not people. While your reputation might be more about results or job functions, your personal brand can tell people so much more about you. Make your personal brand an amplification of what you bring to the table (your value) as well as what you believe in (your values). Your quirks and uniqueness can become your signature, when developed and celebrated with panache and polish.
3) Learn the language of colour and clothing:
Before you say “but…black!” — there is a whole language of colour, texture, and design that can elevate your personal style and visually communicate your brand. Knowing how to use your best options is like mastering an unspoken language that everyone around you instantly, intuitively recognizes. When you are articulate in colour and clothing, elusive qualities like thoughtfulness, creativity, even your standards, empathy, and sensitivity, and more can be communicated without words.