Last week the law school invited Katy Goshtasbi of Puris Image to speak about personal branding. My friend said she had good information about how you should dress and act. I was a little afraid that she was going to prescribe a cookie-cutter uniform that all lawyers need to adopt in order to be successful. I was so glad I was wrong.
My friends will vouch for me that I am not a typical girl, woman, chick, what’s the female equivalent of “guy?” I’m a pretty rough-and-tumble person. I prefer to be comfortable than to be pretty. I will rarely torture myself with clothing that restricts my movement or shoes that pinch my toes. At most, I do 5-minute make-up before walking out the door on a typical day. I have been mistaken for a man. For my 18th birthday, my sister bought me Victoria Secret lotion and said, “If you’re not going to dress like a girl, you can at least smell like one.”
Now it may seem like I don’t care about how I look, but that’s not true. I am very particular about the clothes I buy. When I’m in cute mode, I’m determined to be very cute. However, you’ll never catch me dressing like a girly girl. Even when I’m in a dress, it’s obvious that I’m not a girly girl. Even when I’ve tried to be a girly girly, it doesn’t work.
I was overjoyed when one of Goshtasbi’s take away messages was “Be Yourself.” Thank you! I was so happy to hear that someone might get me and promote the fact that there’s more than one way to be portrayed as a successful professional.
I want to be the lawyer to the geeks and I’m glad that my potential clients are typically found in jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies. Goshtasbi’s talk brought to my attention the fact that I had adopted my future client’s preferred wardrobe as my everyday uniform. This may not be portraying my desired image of “sassy, smart, and strong.” Goshtasbi inspired me to become reacquainted with my closet.
Goshtasbi said that she would give a free 40-minute phone consultation to the first 3 people who approached her at the end of her talk. I wanted one of those slots, but I was sitting 3 rows back and 4 seats in from the aisle in a room with stadium seating with long tables instead of individual desks. There was no way I could get to her if I went the traditional route. Drastic measures were required to achieve my goal. The second Goshtasbi was done talking, I climbed up on top of my table, and walked down the tables as if they were stepping stones to Goshtasbi podium. It was unconventional but it worked. I can’t wait to talk with her next month during our session.