A High Five Salute to Female Athletes
& What My High School Basketball Coach Taught Me About Executive Presence

Watching the incredible talent of the young female athletes playing in this year's NCAA basketball tournament earlier this month made me cheer from the inside out.

Simply the best live television experience for me in quite some time. Girl power in all her glory. I was drawn in and hooked!

The tournament also took me back to my own days of playing basketball.

My freshman basketball coach was actually the first person ever to tell me I had a “good eye.” Back then it was because I could consistently make free throw shots. Given the fact that I was vertically challenged and seriously lacking in most other basic basketball skills, I remember this feedback making me feel like I had a special gift.

Little did I know back then how much this trait would contribute to my future career.

As a stylist, having a “good eye” is about picking winners off the sales rack or easily making outfits from what first appears to be a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear.

Like being on a basketball court and making a good shot, it’s magical when a well-trained eye helps you present yourself better. You can quickly dismiss items that you know won’t work while embracing others that you know will give you added confidence, energy and joy.

As professionals frequently called upon to coach others in the art of executive presence from a clothing and grooming perspective, it’s always our intent to help clients train their own eye to better recognize how the creation of line, proportion and balance in their outfits impact their overall presence and why.

To help understand the importance of these three elements when developing your own presence with dress, first think of your own eye as a camera that automatically seeks out a break in line, proportion or balance in the world around you.

Next, think about your interactions with others. Regardless of their degree of style savvy, their eyes can become easily distracted by how you put yourself together. Like it or not, your choices in this area have the potential to create barriers to communication and connection that can limit you in many important areas of your life.

Some clients tell us they never really feel comfortable in their own skin and how that holds them back, even though their experience and knowledge certainly give them the authority to speak and be heard. By taking the time to master the subtle yet significant art of executive presence, many begin feel more confident and energized leading to being heard on a whole new level.

Below is a sample of how we coach our clients to understand line, proportion and balance in relation to making first and lasting impressions:

Line: The goal here is to strategically use clothing and accessories to positively impact your connection and rapport with others. For example, an outfit that presents a vertical line tends to naturally draw the eye up to your face – home to your eyes, smile and verbal communication. You can easily incorporate this effect into your wardrobe by dressing monochromatically (all one color from shoulder to hem) or by selecting clothing with vertical details such as a row of buttons, pinstripes, or zippers that run up the center of a jacket, sweater, blouse or dress. You get the gist!

Proportion: Proportion is how everything fits. No matter your size, there is no substitute for a good fit. If you're wearing a jacket and the shoulder pads overpower your frame, your presence is likely diminished. Sleeve and hem lengths, pocket placements, collar sizes and accessories all impact presence. Professionals with a high degree of executive presence take the time to eliminate distractions caused by ill-fitting clothes and misplaced style details. Many brands offer petite, missy and plus-size cuts for women and short, regular and tall cuts for men to help master this element of dressing well.

Balance: Balance is how every part of an outfit fits together. It’s the trickiest of the three style elements to master. The best way to get a handle on balance is to think of your wardrobe as a puzzle. Be aware of how fabrics, styles of clothes, and the weight of shoes and accessories work with one another as you piece together outfits. For instance, if you're wearing a sweater with a leather skirt and tights, a suede boot will likely easily connect to the outfit and provide a balanced look. When all the elements of your outfit are well balanced, presence is enhanced and you are apt to project more confidence and energy.

Last Word
By strategically incorporating line, proportion and balance into your outfits, you will be wearing your clothes instead of having your clothes wear you. It’s really all about training your eye so that you score all the right points on your journey to creating a personal band that is a true asset to reaching your personal and professional goals.

If you’d like to discuss your personal brand and how we can help refine it, please schedule a complimentary connect call on my calendar. I’d love to learn more about your aspirations both personally and professionally and how the art of dressing well can help you soar.
Book a Complimentary Connect Call
From all of us at Dressing Well, here’s to you!
 Know others who might enjoy our everyday style made easy tips and ideas? Please forward this email. They can sign up to receive our popular blog, firm updates and Mary Lou Andre’s bi-monthly reflections directly at dressingwell.com/blog. 

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