Many women, including myself, struggle for much of our lives to find a style we love. I mean a personal style we can call our own, one that expresses who we are and showcases our best features. It’s tough.
The problem is, we are presented with awesome clothes on unrealistically thin mannequins or models. Once we get them home, they don’t measure up. And most of us make this mistake again and again. So the average American woman has a closet full of clothes she doesn’t wear.
There are lots of reasons we buy clothes we don’t wear:
- We buy things that don’t compliment our body shape and type
- We get talked into believing it looks great by self serving sales clerks and even well meaning friends
- We buy “orphans” items for which we have no complement to complete the outfit
- We are creatures of habit and continue to wear things we are comfortable with over and over again
- We think there is an occasion for which we will wear the new piece but that time doesn’t arrive
The #1 reason women buy the wrong things is that you can’t achieve your best looks unless you can envision them.
Therefore, if you learn this one skill, it will change everything about how you dress.
Once you know your personal brand, this is a crucial next step in achieving a lot that is right for you.
Visualize Clothes on YOUR Body Before You Buy
This is why I created the Success thru Style Avatars!
Our Style Avatars are visual representations of multiple archetypes that help women understand how clothes will relate for them in the broad arc of “style.”
I initially based the Avatars on the Universal Style System™, created by style industry pioneer Alyce Parsons. Parsons’ concept has become a gold standard for image consultants. This standard was not meant to promote stereotypes; but it has proven to be a very useful approach to helping people define and visualize an image they wish to project — and then dress themselves to be a match for that aspiration.
The universal types identified in the Universal Style System are:
When I published the Success thru Style book in 2017, I introduced nine Success thru Style Avatars, adding “exotic/worldly,” “bohemian,” and “trendy/modern“ to the original seven archetypes. I also subtracted alluring. (Yes, we all want to be sexy and alluring sometimes, but I’ve found no woman who wants to be that ALL the time.)
These nine cute Avatar characters have been a pillar of my personal branding approach ever since.
Role of the Avatar in Personal Branding
The beauty of the Avatars is that they provide a character to visualize and emulate. This is helpful to almost everyone I’ve worked with, but especially to visual learners and people who find it hard to conceptualize in the abstract.
The Avatars are part of a holistic Success thru Style system, and they help us get started. Our system begins with identifying a series of attributes that get to the essence of your personal brand. Then we move on to your physical traits – what flatters you – showcasing your best features and concealing those you don’t appreciate. Finally, we consider your lifestyle and budget.
It all matters, but if you only focus on one thing – it should be your personal brand, who are you and how do you want to be remembered? What you wear is your strongest communication tool. It tells the story of who you are. People assess us in microseconds, and in that short time they are making judgements about our character, our strengths and weaknesses; while all they have to go on is how we look.
The Success thru Style Avatars can help you understand this quickly. Actually, you can take our Success thru Style Quiz and get a feel for this in just minutes.
The Success thru Style Quiz
The StS quiz has become a popular tool for internalizing the concepts of personal branding. The series of questions help women quickly get to the heart of their personal preferences. We can then translate these preferences into the fashion choices that most authentically express who they are – and are at the same time an intentional expression of where they want to go.
The quiz is based on research in psychology — research that shows how humans quickly identify with people and things that resonate with us. More specifically, we are attracted to things and people that reflect our tastes and values. Therefore, by asking you to make quick choices about pictures and words that appeal to you — objects of art, home interiors, pets, cars, etc. — together we get a sense of who you are.
It’s fascinating the story that our simplest choices tell about us.
At the conclusion of the quiz, you are assigned to the Success thru Style avatar that your answers most reflect. But there is likely not just one Avatar to describe you in all your awesomeness! You are likely a combination of Avatars and that’s when the fun begins. Truly understanding who you are, what you want to communicate and going about creating a look that matches.
Introducing the New Success thru Style Avatars – Released October 2020
After more years of experience teaching clients from around the globe how to create a personal brand and style to match, I felt the need to make some more changes in my Avatars.
For one thing, we are moving away, quite deliberately, from the image of the skinny teenager the fashion industry insists on showing us.
I remind women that the “average” American woman wears size 14-16! Therefore, it’s very difficult to imagine how the clothes draped on mannequins and models will fit on average-sized bodies. As I look at the clients I’ve worked with over the years, few of them look like the size of my original Avatars.
I also wanted to create Avatars that were more artful and creative than the originals. I am so thrilled with the original artwork Megan O’Casey created for me. These new Avatars are original drawings. The clothes are outfits you’ll find on the racks today. The hair styles are contemporary — but not so trendy that they’ll be irrelevant in a year; there’s a classic element to the hair.
This month you’ll begin to see these new Success thru Style avatars on our website and in our online course.
These Avatars are pivotal to everything we do, and they represent a “technology,” if I may call it that, that has elevated the style of countless women.
Our avatars are not set in stone. Something tells me they will continue to evolve. Just like we, as women, do every day of our lives.