Leaders think deeply about how they present themselves: President Zelensky wears khaki green shirts to communicate his solidarity with Ukraine’s armed forces; Supreme Court judge Baroness Hale famously wore a giant spider brooch when announcing that the UK government’s decision to suspend Parliament during the Brexit process was unlawful.
This is something that Ann Skidmore CMgr takes note of; she has always had an eye for the best dress code for the moment. When she worked in HR, people would ask her how to put certain looks together – looks that would be professional, but would allow them to express themselves.
Sensing a business opportunity, she set up her consultancy, Ann Skidmore Associates, to put her skills to good use, helping others develop their image and personal brand. In other words, helping managers authentically articulate who they are and what they stand for in the way they present themselves. “Above all, it’s about creating a look that allows you to say, in the way you look and carry yourself, ‘this is who I am’.”
When Ann first started her consultancy, dress codes in businesses were more rigid than they are now. In recent years, the rules have relaxed, particularly post-pandemic with more people working from home offices. There’s much more room for authentic self-expression – which is important in combating self-doubt and creating more inclusive workplaces.
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