Own it! A monthly column by Aysha Saeed of AYSHA NY
No matter where you started from, you can create the impact you are destined for.
Depending on your personality, the idea of “creating and controlling perception” – being in charge of how others see you – may light you up, or have you looking for the nearest escape route. But stay with me for a minute, because I remember what it was like for me as a teenager when I was probably the most shy and insecure girl at my high school. However, because of my deep love for fashion and style, I was able to learn how I could create and control perception by simply choosing what I put on my body each day… yes you can say I was quite a savvy young girl :).
Once I learned this hack, it did not just stay with me during my high school years. I continued to use fashion as a way to introduce myself throughout my college years, and during my time working in the corporate finance sector in NYC.
When I left the corporate finance world to start my fashion career, I intuitively knew I wanted to design clothing that allowed women to make an impact when they wore it. I have always seen fashion so much more than just clothes one wears. Fashion can be utilized as a marketing tool and if done right, it can be very powerful.
The reality is that if you want to level up your career or grow your business, you need to think about the impression you are making. Are you showing the world “I am here to get this done” confidence? Or is it “I am not sure I belong here” or “I just want to blend in and not draw attention?”
Bottom line is you need to learn how to control the way others see you. It’s entirely doable and it is in your hands.
When I work with women of all walks of life, the process starts with this question:
“What impact do you want to make when you enter a room, before you even say a word?”
Most women have never asked themselves this question. Have you?
Whether we like it or not, we are viewed and judged all the time based on our appearance. Sure, when you are stepping out to pick up dry cleaning, you should not worry about how you look. It’s fine to have mismatched top and bottom and hair in messy ponytails … we all have those days here and there.
But imagine walking into a board meeting? Or walking into a new client pitch. Now, that is a different story. I call this your “On Time.” This is the time you need to be intentional about how you appear because your appearance will introduce you as you enter the room.
So, I ask you again, “Without having to say a word, what do you want to evoke when you enter a room?”
Here is a quick fill-in-the blank exercise I would like you to do. Just jot down 3 adjectives/phases that come to mind.
Q: “When I enter a room, I want people to think I am …
Are you having trouble coming up with an answer? Here are some responses I have received from women when I work with them to identify their personal message they want to put out into the world. These responses will inspire you to come up with your own answers.
When I enter a room …
- “I want to look trustworthy,” says a financial advisor
- “I want to look confident,” says a trial lawyer
- “I want to show off my creative confidence,” says an entrepreneur
- “I want to look knowledgeable and credible,” says a life coach.
Don’t fret if still nothing is coming to mind. Let this question ferment in your mind for a little bit; even a day or so. Eventually, you will find the words. Once you have identified these 3 messages, they will become your personal Style Codes. Use them to guide you in selecting what clothes to wear for moments that count.
Also, use these clearly identified Style Codes to ensure they match up with the clothes in your closet. Your Style Codes and your wardrobe MUST match up in order to control and create perceptions.
Let’s say you are an attorney and you want to wear your favorite oversized loud print, loose fit pants with a t-shirt to an important client meeting. Ask yourself, “Does this look exude confidence?”
Or should you opt for a well-made fitted dress in a bold solid color?
I like to think choice is clear.
Ok, I hear you if you just love prints and enjoy wearing prints. There is a print and then there is a print, meaning prints come in many shapes and colors.
If you want to wear a print that gives off a cohesive, confident look, gravitate toward prints that are rooted in neutrality with only a splash of bold color. For example, see the print below. I chose this print for our current collection because it is considered a neutral print. It has multiple natural colors (beige, taupe, black, army green) and one splash color: mustard yellow.
You should also use your newly defined Style Codes when out shopping. If an article of clothing falls within your codes you have identified, then buy it. If you are not sure, best to leave it behind.
I know at first it may feel daunting to run each wardrobe related decision through these criteria but before you know it, it will become second nature to dress and shop with intention.
Not only will you end up with a powerful wardrobe, each item of clothing will bring such joy when you wear it and will be in harmony with who you are.
You’ll make heads turn as you enter a room, and you’ll be doing it on your terms.
And you’ll be in a position to decide, entirely, how others perceive you.
Remember, fashion is powerful… use it.
Here’s to your success!
About Aysha Saeed
After a decade in New York’s corporate finance world, Aysha Saeed packed up, moved to Italy to do the work she was destined for… became a fashion designer. After much hard work and not accepting “no” as an answer, Aysha finally got the opportunity to work with houses of Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.
AYSHA NY was created to dress America’s current and future leaders, and it’s Aysha’s keen eye for detail – both in the cut of a fabric and in the boardroom impact an outfit should make – and the commitment to manufacture 100% of its products in NYC that has created this sustainable, iconic brand.
AYSHA NY women are strong, fearless, ambitious and extremely good at what they do. They wear AYSHA NY to send that message before ever having to say a word.