Seven seconds. That’s all the time needed for the average person to assess your personal brand, according to Dawn Thibodeaux, branding and mindset coach.
“Now, whether they are right or wrong, the package that you’re showing up with is what they are going to see.”
Her philosophy and book, “The Power of Clothing & Personal Packaging”, centers around a trifecta: once you change your mind and clothes, you change your life. Thibodeaux says she sees Black women being victims to clothing, which negatively impacts their work performance and keeps them from promotions.
“They’re getting dressed thinking one thing—that what they’re wearing is sending a particular message when, unfortunately, it’s not.”
Thibodeaux finds that some women think their co-workers are envious of their style or clothing choices when, in reality, they are being mocked.
“There’s a balance. So, while you want to be who you are, you also want to be aware of the environment that you’re walking into.”
One aspect of Black women’s style she admires is the critical role color plays in wardrobe choices. However, she says it’s important to choose colors that make sense for the environment.
She believes it is important for Black women to have honest advocates in their lives who tell them the truth about the personal brand they’re projecting. She explains that it’s imperative to know your body type and when certain articles of clothing are appropriate to wear.
“One would say if you went into a construction zone wearing a tutu, I don’t think you’ll be taken seriously.”
Thibodeaux says respect is fundamental for clothing choices in various spaces.
“Respecting yourself in a way that you can bring your personality to that particular event in a way that also respects the people you are going to be interacting with.”
She tells her clients that to achieve the life they want, they should choose the best clothing they can afford, use a tailor to get the right fit and ignore the numbers that correspond with size. She says that once the trifecta is achieved, Black women gain the power and confidence needed to have the life they desire.
“By doing that, then they are changing the dollar signs on their paychecks, and when that happens, that gives them the opportunity to put their children in different schools and ultimately change the legacy of their families.”