10/10/2012 03:02 pm ET Updated Dec 10, 2012

Your Personal Brand and Your Personal Style Are Inextricably Linked

In my experience as a coach, workshop facilitator and public speaker, the whole area of "personal style" continues to be a touchy subject with many attendees and clients. It probably has to do with the sensitivity we feel about our image/appearance. I'm referring to many who neglect their image by not really making enough effort to further enhance their appearance, or take enough care. Often, this a symptom of a lack of self belief, or just plain disinterest.

Taking care of your personal style is integral to authentically communicating your "personal brand" and doing so as if you are proud of it. When we neglect our "outer brand," that's to say, our attire, grooming and physical appearance, we come across as unprofessional. Needless to say, coming across as unprofessional is unacceptable in today's world. Taking stock of how your image currently represents you as you are today is a good place to start. Ask yourself how you'd like to come across, then ask yourself how you believe others perceive you.

Now consider if you project yourself in a way that truly represents your personal tastes, your lifestyle, or that says something about you that's unique. Maybe that you wear a special kind of watch, or pieces of antique jewelry. In short, do you dress and groom yourself in ways that enable you to feel your best? Moreover, do you feel that your ability to communicate your outer brand is as effective as you would like? If your answer is something like, "I'm not sure," join a large number of men and women who are in the same boat as you.

To review your personal style, the first thing to do is a "wardrobe analysis." Dispense any items that are no longer appropriate for you. Perhaps they no longer fit or have seen better days. After you've achieved this often challenging task, you'll be left with both physical and emotional space. Now you can see what's missing and needs replacing. Important: Don't rush out to go shopping. Give yourself time to reflect on your emptier wardrobe. Next, take the items you've discarded to your local charity shop or recycling center. And when you go shopping, ensure you feel your best; this way, your confidence level will enable you to make better decisions. The first thing to do is to just look around at shops so you can familiarize yourself with what clothes and accessories are on offer.

After you've had a good look round, remember the items you saw that you really liked. Perhaps write down your favourites. Then, revisit those stores and ensure you locate a sales assistant who you resonate with or just feels right for you. Now, try some items on, and make sure they fit your shape, complement your colouring, feel comfortable, suit your budget, and will work well with what you have left in your wardrobe. Restrict your purchases to three items -- that way you won't feel overwhelmed or confused. Perhaps a suit, or a pair of slacks, maybe a blouse/shirt, a pair of shoes, or a jacket to begin with. This way, you'll start the process of creating and developing a personal style that is both unique and authentic.

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