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Walking on Tables: Reflections on Katy Goshtasbi

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.

Katy Goshtasbi, Photo from Puris Image

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.

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My Wardrobe Is On Notice – 1 Year Later

A year ago, I wrote a blog for Unchaotic about my year-long process to clean out my wardrobe.  I tied a piece of yarn around every hanger in my closet.  When I wore a garment, I took off the yarn.  At the end of the year, the initial plan was to get rid of everything that still had a piece of yarn on it.  This plan was based on the idea that if I had not worn something in a year, I’m never going to wear it, so I might as well get rid of it.

Initially, I was going to wait until the end of the year before I threw anything out, but as I started putting yarn on my hangers, I saw items that I knew I had not worn in a while and was never going to wear again so by the end of setting up my closet, I had at least 10 items that were already eliminated from my wardrobe.  Some of it went to charity and the rest went in the trash.  I did another similar wardrobe purge in June when I evaluated what I hadn’t worn yet.

On New Year’s Day, I pulled everything out of my closet that still had a piece of yarn on it. There were about 30 things.  I spent a few hours trying each garment on, remembering why I bought it in the first place, and asking why I hadn’t worn it during the last year.

There were two items that I did not wear in the last year that are wardrobe staples – my white oxford shirt and my black pullover sweater.  These are the type of thing that everyone should have in their wardrobe, and the fact that I did not wear them does mean that they do not have value in my wardrobe.  They could stay.

I also realized that owning wrinkle resistant shirts has made me spoiled and so I did not take the time to iron my other shirts, and thus I did not wear my other shirts for a year.  The ones that I thought I would wear if I did my ironing could stay.  I had a few pieces that I didn’t wear because I assumed that they too big after I lost weight.  After trying them on, I saw that they still fit.  They could stay too.

This project brought a personal issue to the surface that a lot of people have – I sweat regardless of the temperature.  This means I’m more likely to stain my clothes.  (It’s also one of the reasons why I didn’t wear my white oxford during the last year.)  I am one of those people who should never own a silk blouse because I will stain it the first time I wear it.  If I wanted to stop this from happening, I could pay a lot of money to have my armpits botoxed, or I can periodically throw out whatever I stain.  I’ll stick with the latter for now.

I’m glad I did this project.  I feel like I decluttered my closet and have a clearer idea of my personal style.  The garments that I decided to keep despite not wearing them for a year still have their strings on them as a reminder that I should consider donating them if I continue to not wear them.

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