What is the definition of executive image? I’d say it’s the right mix of your personal style, business dress, the executive presence you exert and the business etiquette skills with which you conduct yourself. The ability to integrate your competencies with executive presence is critical to business success.
When you stand at the peak of a company, as the CEO, portraying the right executive image is critical to set yourself apart and establish your personal brand but also to uphold the reputation of your company.Today we’ll focus on one important aspect of executive image – business dress.
A recent article in MSNBC states that, “When the book “Dress For Success” came out in 1975, it set rigid rules for executive attire: The “proper” colors for a suit were blue, gray and beige; the most “authoritative” suit was a dark pinstripe; and the “most acceptable” dress shirts were white or solid colors. (No dresses here; “Women’s Dress For Success” didn’t come out until 1977.)”
What are the rules for dressing for success today?
Today, there are no rules, other than being put-together from head to toe, no detail spared. The proper colors are ones that work with your coloring, the most authoritative clothes are ones that fit impeccably, and pretty much any shirt, dress or jacket is acceptable if it projects the right image for your company and industry. Dressing for success means finding the look that works, and sticking to it.
“There’s a power to looking consistent,” said Jon Patrick, creative director of men’s custom clothier J. Hilburn. “It makes you seem focused.”
Here are a few of America’s best-dressed CEO’s:
Despite her many titles (chairwoman of Harpo Inc., co-founder of Oxygen Media); credentials (producer/host of the highest-rated daytime talk show in history); distinctions (richest African-American of the 20th century); and awards (47 Emmys; the George Foster Peabody Individual Achievement Award), the media magnate known throughout the world by her first name only recently became a chief executive. Four months after launching OWN TV Network with Discovery Communications in 2011, she named herself CEO — the company’s fourth since the announcement of its formation in 2008.
Perhaps the most visible woman in the world, Winfrey is an elegant style maker whose use of bold colors reinforces her powerful image, according to image consultants Rath and Sterling.
“She’s not afraid to mix different colors, like chartreuse and magenta. She’s a big personality, and that makes a big statement,” said Rath. Or, as Sterling said: “She is fabulous … and true to herself.”
As head of the world’s largest media company and some of the world’s greatest icons — Mickey, Minnie and company — Iger, 61, knows how important personal style is. And because his kingdom is so vast (Disney, Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC), his own style has to take him everywhere, from the red carpet to Space Mountain.
“He does a nice job of balancing; he always looks pulled together,” said Julie Rath, founder of Rath & Co. in New York, an image and style consulting company specializing in men.
The country’s seventh-highest-paid CEO (according to The New York Times ) favors gray and silver, which work with his coloring.
“He’s classy, sharp, confident — decisive. It looks powerful,” said Rath.
While many 8-year-olds have obsessions, most aren’t fixated on city maps, police cars and taxis. But a fascination with urban life, plus a gift for software programming, led Dorsey, 35, to create Twitter , the social media platform that has shaped everything from presidential campaigning to political uprisings since it launched in 2006. In 2008, Dorsey created another digital service called Square, which allows anyone to accept credit card payment. (By then, he was named one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35 by the MIT Technology Review.) Dorsey keeps a low profile, but when he does make an appearance, his dress reflects his success.
“He keeps it simple, modern and impeccably tailored,” said Rath. “He looks youthful, without being a fashion victim.”
With Dorsey’s tendency toward black and white, “he creates a high-contrast look, which is an authoritative look,” added Rath.
If you’d like to see all the other CEO’s on the list click here.
If you want to grow in the ranks, developing your executive image is critical to your success. At Corporate Class Inc. we’ve helped everyone from politicians, to CEOs, to leading executives develop their personal brand and secure their reputation.
Get in touch with us to see how we can help you build your executive image today!