EP: 148 Embrace The Magic Of The Fabric: Building A Personal Brand Through The Clothes You Wear With Angela Foster

BWW 148 | Personal Brand

 

“The way you dress is an expression of your personality.” – Alessandro Michele.

In this episode, Angela Foster brings her magic in building your personal brand through your style, including the clothes you wear, how you put them together to flatter your height, your natural waist, and more. Angela’s area of expertise is working with petite women, but fear not, women over 5’4”, because Angela and I covered topics that will apply to you! Aside from raising awareness about height equity, Angela also reveals her shopping and styling strategies. Knowing your favorite feature allows you to accentuate it, and creating an illusion of balance on your body shape will help you position yourself with what to wear. So why don’t yo u tune in to this episode to witness the power of looking sleek and embracing the magic of the fabric?

During my chat with Angela, we discussed:

  • What personal brand means, and why it’s more than simply the color you wear?
  • How many things do people notice about you in the first 7 seconds?
  • Why we are not a fruit salad, I’m not a pear, apple, or kumquat
  • What is the 1/3 2/3 rule and find our visible waist
  • What are shopping and styling strategies for petite women?
  • What’s in style this year, fall 2023?
  • And bonus, Angela shares a freebie for our group at the end.

Listen to the podcast here

 

Embrace The Magic Of The Fabric: Building A Personal Brand Through The Clothes You Wear With Angela Foster

How are you doing out there? I’m going to give you guys a personal update. We went on a small weekend getaway to the Wisconsin Dells because I’m in the Chicago area. The Wisconsin Dells is the waterpark capital of the world. If you’re a working mom and you love waterparks, then that is definitely for you. On the other hand, I’m not a waterpark lover. It was fun for my kids. It was a little bit of an exhausting weekend for me, but it was still fun nonetheless.

While we were there, we went to the outlet mall for my kids. It coincides with the time that I recorded this show. I wanted to share a little bit about shopping and the relationship between me and shopping. The fact about me is that I don’t love shopping. It’s weird. I said it. I am what I call a self-proclaimed end-cap shopper.

What is that? If you’re at the ends of the aisles or you’re by the mannequins and you see the way that they’re dressed, I’m going to be more zoomed in on that because I don’t want to browse the racks. I don’t want to do the thrill of the hunt for deals. It’s not because I have more money than anyone else. It’s just that I don’t enjoy it. I don’t love the thrill of the still and searching for hours. I like to go in on a shopping mission, and then leave. That’s a novel concept.

Because it’s not my cup of tea, as they say, I haven’t been shopping in some time with the exception of Amazon. I love me some Amazon. I love they have this whole try-before-you-buy thing. Anyway, this isn’t about Amazon, but I do a lot of Amazon. Lately, I haven’t shopped for myself. It’s been more about the kids. When we were at the Wisconsin Dells, it was all about the kids. It was all about their shoes and how all their pants were too short and all of the things before school here. I didn’t buy anything for myself. My clothes are starting to feel a little bit like a uniform.

I needed to talk to my guest and why I was so excited that I was introduced to Angela Foster. Angela is an expert in building your brand through your style, including the colors and clothes you wear, how you put them together to flatter your height, your natural waist, and more. Angela’s area of expertise is working with petite women, which is women 5’4 or under. Fear not women that are over 5’4 or you’re 5’5 or 5’10, it does not matter. Angela and I covered topics that will apply to women of all shapes, sizes, and heights. You will get something from this show.

 

BWW 148 | Personal Brand

 

During my chat with Angela, we discussed what personal brand means and why it’s more than simply the color that you wear, how many things people notice about you, how it happens in seven seconds, and why we are not a fruit salad. That means that I am not a pear, I’m not an apple, I’m not an orange, I’m not a kumquat. If you have read or seen anything as a woman, you probably know that women’s bodies are compared to apples, pears, oranges, or rulers. We’re not a fruit salad. What is the 1/3 – 2/3 rule and how we can find our visible waist? What are shopping and styling strategies for petite women? What’s in style in 2023? As we’re recording it, it’s the fall of 2023. Spoiler alert, the ‘90s are back, for those Gen X-ers. Bonus, Angela shares a freebie for our group at the end of our conversation.

Here is more about Angela. After twenty years as an executive in the fashion and beauty space, Angela Foster now helps high-achieving petite women feel more confident by creating a closet they love. Her clients show up prepared and confident to brand photo shoots, keynote presentations, and everyday life because they enjoy a wardrobe filled with clothes that fit their height, flatter their body shape, and that they love to wear.

Before we get started, if you’re enjoying Brave Women at Work, please make sure to leave a rating and review in Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify. If you’ve already left a rating and review, I thank you so much. Your support of this show means the absolute world to me. Thank you. One more reminder, If you haven’t yet gone over to my website to grab one of my freebies, go over there. I created them a few months back. Go to BraveWomenAtWork.com. The three freebies are Get Paid: 10 Negotiation Tips, 24 Career and Leadership Affirmations, and the 5 Steps to Managing Your Imposter Syndrome. All of them are free. You can use them and work with them on your own time. Let’s welcome Angela to the show.

Angela, welcome to the show. How are you?

I’m doing terrific. Thank you for asking and thank you for having me on your show. I’m a huge fan.

Thank you. Everybody, we were fangirling about each other’s work before this. We’re all pumped and ready to share with you. Angela, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate you and what you do.

Thank you.

If you’re a longtime audience, I love women’s stories. That’s one of the big reasons I do what I do. Angela, I would love to hear more about you, your backstory, and how you’ve gotten to where you are now. You can start anywhere you want because it’s a big question. You can start anywhere in your history you’d like. Some people go short on this answer and some people give me the whole history, totally fine.

I was an executive for various fashion and beauty companies for over twenty years. I was happy. It was a great job. Honestly, I would probably still be there now if a girlfriend of mine hadn’t asked me for help. She had her second baby and her husband had asked her for a divorce. We were having cocktails one night and she was not in a great mind space.

She’s like, “I don’t recognize my body anymore. Nothing in my closet fits. I used to be so confident. I used to feel powerful. None of that anymore.” It was heartbreaking to see a woman who I admired and loved so much be in that place. She goes, “Would you mind helping me put together some clothes? You always make it look easy, you look great, and all of that.” I was like, “100%.”

We worked together. I have to laugh when I say work together because this was before I had even started the company. It was very organic. I would take pictures of clothes, pop them over, and like, “This would look amazing on you. Wear it with this, that, and the other thing.” We were working together for probably 4 or 6 weeks. She lived in a community and a lot of the women there hung out together. She was there and they were like, “What have you done? You are handling this so well. You look amazing. You seem so happy. What’s going on?” She calls me up, “I hope you don’t mind, but I gave them your number.” I was like, “Sure. That’ll work.”

One client rolled into 5, rolled into 10, and it took off from there. During that process, I came up with my five-step system of taking where the majority of clients are when they come to me. It’s a closet packed with clothes and nothing to wear, to a closet that they can go in there, grab anything, it fits, and they feel confident in it. Probably the best compliment that I ever get is when a woman says, “I’m excited to get up and get dressed in the morning.” The majority of my clients are executives and entrepreneurs, and they have a lot on their plate. When they say, “It’s so fast and easy,” I’m like, “Tie a bow on it. We are done. Mission accomplished.”

You dress entrepreneurs and executive women. Can you help women all over the country? Can you do it virtually as well or is it only in person?

No. That’s one of the best things that came out of the whole COVID lockdown and all of that. Before that, I’m going to say maybe 70% was in-person, 30% was virtual. Now, it’s 100% virtual. Instead of meeting the client in the store or whatever, now we have this phenomenal app that has all the outfits already put together, and all they have to do is click to buy. It’s so easy.

I wanted to make sure that everyone knows that you specialize in dressing and styling petite women, correct?

Yes.

You are petite, so you know what you’re talking about.

It’s funny because when I first started, I helped everybody. I do still have a few clients who are not considered petite, but the majority are short girls. Partly, petite women have different challenges, more challenges. To your point, when they know that it’s a petite giving petite advice, it brings a level of trust and security that you don’t get otherwise.

I’m sure most women tuning in can say, ” I’m petite. I’m this height.” I’m not petite. I’m 5’7. On a good day, I am getting old and I think I’m shrinking. My daughter is almost as tall as I am, which makes me sad. I don’t know. Who knows? If it continues, I might be calling you for styling support if I keep shrinking, but what is considered a petite or a shorter woman?

It’s considered 5’4 and under, and 44% of the women in America are considered petite.

One of the things we’ve talked about way back on the show is about the brand and why it’s important. As a working woman, you’ve got to have that personal brand. I wanted to get your thoughts on what that means and why you believe it’s important for all women.

Speaking about style and branding is my love language, so I’m so glad that you asked. I put it into two different categories. There is dressing your personal brand, and then there is dressing your business brand. From a personal branding standpoint and I’ve heard you talk about it before, it’s everything that people will see about you. Your visual image, everything they see about you online, everything they hear when you’re in person, and all of that. The thing is that when a stranger meets us for the very first time, they make 11 decisions about us in 7 seconds.

That’s such an incredibly fast amount of time. I think about it and I’ve never timed it, but that’s barely time to get out, “Hi, my name is.” Let alone express how amazing and brilliant you are in your field of expertise. That visual message is crucial when you are looking to get a promotion or looking to get a job. Make sure that your visual representation is sending exactly the perfect message that you want, a potential new boss or client to have.

That’s what I saw on your site. That is the 7/11 rule. It’s 11 things in 7 seconds. That shows the power of the human brain, but it also is scary because it’s like, “What are they saying about me in seven seconds?”

As an entrepreneur or as an executive, you have to think, “Do I like her? Do I trust her? Do I think she’s worth that much money? Do I want to hire her?” All sorts of things. It happens in an instant. That’s why it’s so powerful.

When we talk about brands, you have also on your site, “Why is dressing your brand more than color?” Can you explain what is involved? I’m a marketer by day. For me, the brand is part of the love language. I’m like, “Let’s talk brand,” but not geek out like you and me on this. Talk a little bit more about how it’s more than just color.

When I first start working with women entrepreneurs and business owners, they’ll be like, “Here are my brand colors, it’s blue and a bright bold yellow. I always make sure to wear those. That’s a great place to start. It is. However, imagine that you have two women standing next to each other. One of them has on a black knee-length pencil skirt, a black blazer, and then a black shell underneath. The woman standing right next to her has on black skinny pants, a black graphic tee, and a black moto jacket. Those two women dressed in black, both. That’s more than your brand, but they send very different messages. The woman in the pencil skirt, you’re going to get a very different impression of her than you are of the girl in the moto jacket.

While starting with dressing your brand colors is a great place to start, it moves into the next step, which I always work with clients on. It’s what I call your brand style thesaurus. What are the three words that you want to subconsciously send to strangers, potential clients, or customers about you, and what the experience of working with you is going to be like? That’s why color is a great place to start, but it goes deeper than that. When it’s from a personal branding standpoint, I work with women who are building their personal brand on the color psychology of it. What does that color say or the message send about you and what you’re all about?

There’s a couple of things in there. You are in this. This is what you do. For everyone, you can’t see, but I have a green top on. I didn’t put a lot of thought into it, but I love the thought that you put into it. You’re saying, “Find out what colors work for you,” which I’m assuming that you can help women with. To say, “What is your color palette? What are your strongest colors based on skin tone?”

Also, I love the idea of the brand thesaurus because you’re like, “What are the three words?” I’ve never thought of that. “How do I want to come off with my visual brand? What do I want people to think about when I interact with them or when I’m in a meeting?” I coach and talk about all of the other things verbally, but this is a whole other piece of it that I may be omitting. Thank you for sharing that.

To be quite honest, to your point, you’re busy and you have a lot going on. Same thing with the clients that I work with. That’s why it’s nice for them to be able to delegate it and have somebody else worry about that because you’re busy changing the world. Getting dressed should be easy for you.

Do you have any references? We’re talking about you, but maybe offline, do you have any sisters in the fashion space that deal with 5’7 or taller? I’m sure there are people. If anybody is interested in that, send me a DM or send me an email at Hello@BraveWomenAtWork.com.

I will hook you up. One thing I did want to add about the brand is three words. I encourage, if a woman hasn’t thought about it before, this is where doing a brain dump is incredibly helpful. Like any other brainstorm, when you start, you’ll get very cliché, and I don’t want to say shallow, but almost meaningless throwaway words. The deeper that you dig and the more specific your words become, the easier it’ll be to translate that into a brand style.

The deeper you dig and the more specific your words become, the easier it will be to translate them into a brand style. Click To Tweet

Everybody, we’ve got some new lexicon and new stuff to think about. I love that. It stimulates my brain. It’s always fun. I’ve never heard of this and I’ve never thought of it. This shows that I’m not thinking about it because I am not 5’4 or shorter. You talk about something called height equity. I wanted you to talk about height equity and how it plays into a woman walking into a meeting or coming from a place of power. Talk to me about that.

This doesn’t only apply to short girls. Somebody could be 5’5 or 5’6 walk into a boardroom, have 70% of the population male, and the majority of them are going to be taller than her. I look at the whole idea of height equity as raising awareness. In all honesty, it’s all I do. It’s to raise my client’s awareness so then they can make more strategic decisions when it comes to their style. Say somebody is 5’4. She walks into the boardroom and she wants to feel powerful, she wants to feel like she’s in control of the situation, and that she’s got this. It’s difficult to do that when you walk in and you have flats on and everybody is looking down on you.

There’s also an unconsciousness with men that short girls are cute. Cute is typically not the message that we want to send when we walk into that situation where we’re trying to convince them or persuade them to buy our product or convince them to hire us, or that we are the most capable person for that position. When women are in that power position, I like to raise the awareness that this might be a good time to bump it up, have the heels on, and wear a column of color so that we look longer and more stately. It gives them that subconscious feeling of, “I’m in control and I can rule the room.”

A column of color and the heels will bring some height in there. I’m thinking of not talking about any political party, but you think about the first ladies. How many times they’re often in a column of color? They have a sheath dressed in red or blue. I’m like, “It’s because they want to be coming from a place of power.” Correct?

Yes, and confidence. The thing about it is the clothes are all about how they make you feel. When I raise this awareness with my clients, it makes them feel confident and that’s where the power comes from. It’s not the dress. It’s how she feels.

I was thinking that height equity was for shorter women. Let’s say, I’m 5’6 or 5’7, but all of my male colleagues are super tall. They’re 6’1 or 6’2. It’s an anomaly. I could be perceived as the short girl in that conversation or in that situation. We all can learn from this height equity concept. This is a little out of the box, but I want to talk about height equity among women. Let’s say I come in and you come in. I don’t know your official height. Let’s say you’re 5’4 and I’m 5’9. I’m not, but let’s say I am. Does that mean if we’re coming in a meeting together, am I coming from a different place of power than you because the way that God made me, I am taller?

It all comes down to how you feel about it. The woman who’s 5’9 walks into a room isn’t confident and doesn’t feel like she deserves to be there and has earned her place. It doesn’t matter how tall or how short she is. She’s not going to be coming from a place that we would want for her. For example, I’m almost 5’2. Somebody who’s 5’2 and feels like I am here for a reason, I look great, I have heels on, I have my column of color, and I know I deserve to be here. The short girl is going to be more powerful in that situation. It is saying, “How do I feel?” More importantly, “How do I want to feel when I walk up on stage to give that keynote address? How do I want to feel when I’m walking into the boardroom or going to that interview and knowing what clothes are going to support that mindset?”

What’s beautiful about it is the direct mindset connection, because you said you can be in killer clothes, but if the mindset isn’t there, it doesn’t matter. You could be 5’2 or 5’10. It doesn’t matter. You’re just helping your petite clients know how to work within their body types so that confidence and that mental mindset is strong. I’m trying to differentiate between our tall girls and our petite women friends. You have some other terms that I wanted to define because I didn’t find them on the site. I was like, “What are these? What do these mean?” What do you mean that you are not a fruit salad?

BWW 148 | Personal Brand
Personal Brand: You can be in killer clothes, but if the direct mindset connection isn’t there, clothes won’t matter.

 

If you google, “How to dress for my body shape?” I can’t even remember, it’s been a while since I’ve done it. There were almost 1 billion articles online about it. 99.9% of them say, “If your hips and bum are wider, you’re a pear. If your shoulders and bust are bigger, then you’re an apple.” I bought into that for a little bit. After working with several clients, because that’s the body shape and knowing how to dress for yours is the first step in my five steps. We would start there and I would say, “Tell me about your body shape.” The answer I always got back was, “I’m an apple and my boobs are too big or my shoulders are too wide. I’m a pear and my bum is too big. My thighs are too fat.” It was always, “This is what I am and this is why it’s bad.”

I’m a firm believer in, “You cannot stand in your closet, pick yourself apart with all that negative mind chatter, and then find something to put on, walk out of the door, and have the confidence and the mindset needed to accomplish your goals.” We don’t talk about apples or oranges or anything like that. The very first thing that we do is to say, “What is your favorite feature? What do you love about yourself? Is it your bust? Is it your waist?” Whatever it is, and then we find styles that accentuate that feature first.

That’s not to say that we don’t ever talk about areas that we don’t like. We all have them. We do talk about how to camouflage those. It’s just not the first thing that we think about. When we’re looking at a dress in the store or online, that’s not the first thing that we think about. We train our minds to say, “I love my legs, so this is going to accentuate it. This isn’t. This is what I’m going to buy. I’m going to avoid that because it’s not going to accentuate what makes me feel good about myself.”

That helps. It’s so funny. I have an 11-year-old and a 5-year-old this 2023. The five-year-old wouldn’t know, but it’s amazing how I’m a Gen X. My generation, I don’t know if you fit in that or not, either way, isn’t it amazing that we were taught? Now that I know where you’re coming from, I know what an apple is if a woman says they’re a pear or a ruler. When a woman comes in and says, “I’m a pear. My hips are too big. My butt’s too fat.” How do you reset that? Part of it is starting with the mindset. How do you get them to stop saying, “My butt’s fat, or whatever?”

Before we talk about body shape, the first thing I go to is, “Tell me about your favorite feature. Is it your bust? Is it your waist?” Before we ever talk about any kind of other shape, “What is your favorite feature? Fantastic. Here are different ways that you and I can work together to accentuate it.” We have a list that we can use. Which of those resonates best with you? We then talk about balance, because the clothes, the styles, and the silhouettes that you pick are just creating the illusion of balance in your shape.

Clothes are just creating the illusion of balance in your shape. Click To Tweet

After we talked about what’s your favorite feature, we got that. We’ve decided how we’re going to accentuate it that makes you feel comfortable and that speaks to you and all of that. Now, we’re going to figure out where your balance is. Are you a balanced body shape? Meaning, your bust and shoulders, the measurement is similar to your hip and bum. We then need to keep the balance because you’re already perfection.

If somebody has a more delicate bust and shoulder area and a more voluptuous bum and hip area, then we can use clothes, style, and silhouettes to add volume up on top so it creates that balanced body shake or vice versa. It’s creating the illusion and knowing where to add volume and where you have volume naturally, so we don’t need to add any additional volume with our styles.

I’m going to need you to hook me up after this because my mom, to her dismay, loves to shop. I’m going to give her so much credit. She’s a Baby Boomer, so she didn’t have the career choice that we all women have. Hallelujah that we have that. She probably would have done what you’re doing. She loves clothes and dressing women. She does all that and does a beautiful job. She’s in her golden years and she looks fabulous. I am not. I am more of an end-cap shopper. I’m annoyed when I go into stores, so the gene does not get passed. You’re going to have to hook me up after this.

I love that and I am hiring. Make sure that you give my information to your mom because we have room for her. I love that so much because I do have clients who fall into 1 of 2 categories. They either love to shop but don’t think they’re good at it, or they hate to shop. I oftentimes think they hate to shop because subconsciously, they don’t think they’re good at it. The thing about it is that there is no other skill that we expect people to pop out of the womb and be good at. There is a technique to it. If nobody ever taught you how to shop, then of course you’re not good at it. I have never taken piano lessons, so I’m not bad at piano, I just have never learned. Once you learn some easy techniques to shop, it does make it so much easier.

Something to know. The average mannequin is 5 feet tall and a size 0. To your point, end-cap shoppers or I call them aisle shoppers, you walk through the main aisle and say, “These are the things I’ll take.” They don’t realize that and then they try them on and it’s frustrating because then they’re like, “This doesn’t look on me the way it does on the mannequin.” That’s a big reason. It’s not your fault.

That’s not real. That’s another thing that’s façade.

Thinking or being surprised when it doesn’t look awesome on us, of course it doesn’t.

You have another rule that I wanted to have you define for us. What is the 1/3 – 2/3 rule?

No matter how tall or not tall a woman is, finding that perfect flattering outfit is all about proportion. After the outfit is created, what we want to do is make it look like this. 2/3 of our height comes from our visible waistline down to the ground, and then 1/3 of our height comes from our visible waistline to the top of our head. I’m sure that some of the readers are thinking, “I’m long wasted. I’m short wasted.” That’s where their head’s at right now. It’s not about where your real waist is. It’s about creating the illusion of where you want your waist to be. That’s going to be the most powerful and flattering proportion in the final outfit.

No matter your height, finding that perfect flattering outfit is all about proportion. Click To Tweet

This helps a lot with women who wear separates. They’re always trying to put the skirt and the top together. What I love about this is that it helps women when they’re standing in the mirror and they’re like, “There’s something not right or not working about this outfit.” If they circle back to this proportion, they’ll be able to fix it or tweak it a little bit, so it gives them the effect that they want. If you stand up and then put your arm near the side of your body. Where your elbow hits is your visible waistline.

I’m not standing, but in my chair, I’m going, “I got to check this out.” Everybody, you’re going to stand up. Are you going to put your arms down? Do you put them down naturally? Is that how you find it?

Create an L with your arm.

This is why we all don’t like low-rise jeans. I don’t love high-waisted jeans either. I’m not a huge fan either, because my visible waist is not under my bra. It’s wrong.

Low-rise jeans, if you have an ounce of extra in your middle, will give you the muffin top. That’s when we started talking about muffin tops when low-rise jeans happened. High-rise jeans, it was probably two years ago when mom jeans came back in. I was like, “They weren’t flattering the first time around. They’re not flattering now.” This season, they’re still high, but they’re flat and they don’t have the pleats in front, which is a little bit better.

The most universally flattering rise for women is a mid-rise. That hits above your hip bones, but underneath your belly button. In that space right there. It depends, but it’s usually in the 8-inch to 10-inch rise area. What’s nice is now when you go online, they tell you all the measurements. They’ll say, “This is the rise. This is the inseam.” It makes our lives so much easier when online shopping.

Now, I also feel validated because my daughter, the pre-teen is like, “High-rise.” I’m like, “Terrible.” They were terrible whenever they were popular. I want them to go away again.

I had a client. Her daughter said the same thing. She goes, “Take a picture of yourself and look at it.” It was a little harsh, but okay.

Let’s be real people. We’re all about being real here. You had talked about columns of color. You’ve talked about heels. Are there any other tips that you would have for our shorter women who are tuning in and dressing to feel powerful and taller? Are there any other tips you want to share?

The big thing is, once you know the styles and shapes that flatter your body shape best, you are going to feel more confident because the things that you love are going to be emphasized and the things that you’re not crazy about won’t be. That will give you an immensely powerful place to go to. The other thing is the less struggle that you have to do in the morning. You see it on TV all the time. There’s a woman getting dressed and there are 36 articles of clothing on the floor. That’s crazy pants. That’s not a good spot to be in. The fewer clothes you can have in your closet that don’t work and don’t fit, you’ll be left with fewer pieces that fit you better and make you feel better. That’s the goal.

BWW 148 | Personal Brand
Personal Brand: Once you know the styles and shapes that flatter your body shape best, you will feel more confident because the things you love will be emphasized.

 

In the last couple of years, maybe my lifestyle become more of a minimalist. I don’t know if your clients are like this, where I’d rather have lesser clothes, higher quality, things I love that I’ll repeat season after season, more universal, or can translate to other things like day and night conversion. I shop at some fast fashion or lower-cost places, especially for my children as they grow like weeds. I didn’t know if you had any comments on that because I would rather have less visual clutter in my closet than have a ton of stuff because it becomes decision fatigue where in the morning, I’m like, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Steve Jobs, that’s why he wore the same thing every day. That was one less decision that he had to make so he could focus on the decisions that mattered when he was alive and running Apple. It’s completely universal with my clients. They’re not about going shopping and buying twelve new dresses. They’re very specific about what they need and what holes and gaps that they have. The one thing that I will say about that is, when you have a few pieces, they need to go together.

You need to have some mixing and matching opportunities so you don’t feel like you’re bored with yourself in the morning. One of the things I have found is that when that breaks down, it’s typically a result of women not having enough basics. That long-sleeve tea that goes under every sweater or whatever. Make sure that you have enough basics in a variety of colors to mix it up so it feels fresh.

If I have a top that I like, but it’s sitting in my closet over and over, I look at it, but I don’t go for it, you’re saying, “You may not have the right pants to go with it or something general or something basic is not connecting.”

Well said. The last step in the process for my clients and I, when we work together, is purging their closets. Many women will say, “I haven’t worn this in nine months.” Maybe not, but why haven’t you worn it in nine months? Does it not fit? If it doesn’t fit, then get rid of it. If it’s because you don’t have anything to wear with it, that’s easily solved. Let’s figure out what’s going to go with it and get that, and then you can wear that blouse again.

We’ve talked about dressing to feel powerful, more confident, and taller. Are there any style or shopping strategies that you want to share for petite women tuning in?

This might go across the board. Many times, when we hit a speed bump, we don’t know our sizes and we expect our sizes to translate from brand to brand or store to store. What makes shopping easier is knowing your sizes. If you are petite, many short girls think the only difference between petite and regular is it’s just shorter. There are seven different measurements between a petite top and bottom and a regular. Not everybody, just because you’re short, are you a true petite. Meaning you might be petite on top and regular on the bottom, or vice versa. You have to know where you’re petite and where you’re not. There are also women who aren’t petite technically, but they can get by with a petite top because they’re short-waisted and they’re smaller framed on top.

The other thing is we’re doing so much shopping online right now. The majority of online retailers are adding this feature, which is brilliant. Partly because they’re so tired of getting returns because it costs them, as a company, so much money. They’re giving us a lot more information to work with, which is great. On most sites, you can find a spec or measurement tab and it’ll tell you exactly the measurements. Once a woman knows her numbers, whatever those are, then she can look at them and say, “That top will not work for me because the bust isn’t big enough.”

The other piece is that they’ll have the model specs. When you look at that dress, pair of pants, or whatever, and it says, “The model’s 5’10.” You’re like, “It looks amazing on her. She’s 5’10 and she’s wearing a size 2.” Putting into perspective and saying, “I happen to be 5’2 and I’m a size 6, so those pants are going to look very different on me.”

There is a lot in here that I wouldn’t think about. I’m looking at being busy. This is where you come in and all of the work that you do for women. I’m looking at the art of it, “That’s pretty.” You’re looking at the science of it too. You’re going, “Here are the numbers and this is how the numbers work, or they don’t work.” It is art and science, it sounds like.

It’s such a great way of looking at it. Many women think, “I wasn’t born with style.” They see a stylish woman and they’re like, “She has amazing style. She must have been born with it or her mom gave it.” It’s not about that. To your point, it is science and it’s creating that illusion that we want to create. Once you know how to do that, it doesn’t matter if you lose weight, gain weight, have a baby, or go through menopause.

Your body changes because as a woman, it will at some point in time. Once you know how to deal with those changes, you’re like, “It’s easier to not focus on the 5 pounds that I gained.” It’s easier to say, “I just need to change my top a little bit. I need to add a belt.” Whatever the solution to that challenge is. It becomes a lot less painful and we beat ourselves up less when we know how to deal with those changes.

I like that because it makes you feel like, “I’m going to switch this up a little bit.” I’m not like, “This looks terrible on me. I’m fat. I’m this.” I’m critiquing myself. It’s not even necessary because you’re giving your clients tips and strategies to overcome life. Life’s going to happen. You’re going to gain weight, you’re going to lose weight, you’re going to have a baby, you’re going to go through menopause. I like that you’re giving them those workarounds that work for them.

For anyone who’s probably like me who is like, “I don’t even know what’s in style right now.” Maybe you can give a general statement on what are the trends right now. I don’t know if you would comment on petites or in general. I’m sure that it can go to no matter what your size, body shape, or whatever because I’m so removed. What’s in for the fall? As we’re recording this, we’re getting into the fall of 2023. What’s in style right now?

You are going to love this being a fellow Gen X-er, the ‘90s are back. All of the best trends that we loved from the ‘90s and they are done so much better than the first time around. Better fabrics, less over the top, and more wearable. Almost every trend from the ‘90s. There are a couple of trends we could have skipped, like the biker shorts, which unfortunately are going to be coming back. The fanny pack, which I hated the first time, is coming back too. Some of the fun things that we had a great time with like slip dresses, 100%, maxi skirts, denim, you’ll be seeing those everywhere, cargo pants, overalls.

Back to the cargo pants, remember how bulky they were? The skinny miniest little toothpick looked ginormous in them the first time around. As much as technology has changed, it’s changed fabric and all of that too. There’s so much more flattering now. So are overalls. There are more color choices and sexier more feminine cuts. All of the stuff that we love from back then is back. If you’re not a Gen X-er like we are and you’re tuning in to this, then this will be the first time around and you can love them the first time. They’ll be all new to you.

I’m so excited. I have to share this with you. Unrelated to style, but just because it’s ‘90s and it’s fun as we’re coming to a close here. I’m taking my daughter to her first concert. Everyone’s thinking, “You’re taking her to Taylor Swift.” I love me some Swiftie. Love us some Taylor Swift, but no, we’re not going there. We’re going to see Pearl Jam. I am taking her to Pearl Jam in September. Everybody, I’m pumped. I never saw them in the ‘90s or the 2000s and they’ve been around forever now. Everyone who knows me is like, “You understand that you’re taking her with you.” I’m like, “Yes, I am. I’m going to see Eddie Vetter and she’s coming with me.” Next generation. I’m excited about it.

I’m excited for you guys. You’re going to have a great time. Now you know exactly what to wear to the concert.

I might throw out some flannel and maybe get the Dr. Martens out. It’ll be funny. I ask everyone this. I would love your feedback. From your perspective in the work you do with women, what are 1 to 2 ways that you believe women can be braver at work now?

When I tune into your episodes, this is always my favorite part, reading what all these women have to share about this. I thought about it and it’s two-fold. The first one is being brave, and then also supporting other women to help them be braver. On that thought, I would love to encourage women when they have a great thought about a woman that they run into. Her hair looks great, you love her earrings, you love her outfit, she gave a great presentation, or whatever it is. Vocalize that and give her authentic compliments when it comes to mind. Don’t hold back on that. A lot of women think great things, but then we don’t go that extra step to vocalize it to the recipient.

Part of the reason is because quite honestly, we stink at accepting compliments. When somebody is brave and gives you a compliment, say thank you and that’s great. Stop it there. No explaining, no rationalizing. Just say, “Thank you so much. That means a lot.” When we give compliments, we’re helping build other women’s confidence and that’s going to help her be braver in whatever she decides to do.

We help build other women's confidence when we give them compliments. We help her be braver in whatever she decides to do. Click To Tweet

Accepting compliments, but also giving them and understanding how to give them too. Not say, “She probably already knows.” She doesn’t know. We’re telling you. She doesn’t know that her blouse is awesome or her hair’s awesome. She probably is having a rough day. Let’s be real. Let’s be liberal with the compliments. I like that.

When we see an amazing woman, we assume she knows she’s amazing and that’s not necessarily the case.

How can women find you and your work online?

I’m super excited. I just did a brand-new training for your audience. It’s three simple steps to make a brilliant first impression. They can access it by going to AngelaStyleCoach.com/Jen.

Thank you so much for giving us that freebie. Angela’s going to hook me up offline with other people, for our mid or taller friends. I will put it in the future. Here’s my teaser for you as we’re ending. If you haven’t joined the Brave Women at Work private Facebook group, join us over there. It’s free. I’ll let you in and I’ll put the resources there. If you’re looking for some style support, tips, or whatever, I’ll put that in that place. You can come and join us there. Angela, thank you so much for being on the show. It’s been so fun to learn about style. Again, I’m an end-cap shopper, so I’m not doing it, but it’s important. Thank you for highlighting that for me. It’s been fun.

Jen, thank you so much for having me. It has been a blast. I’ve enjoyed it.

That’s a wrap of my discussion with Angela. I hope you found our conversation both valuable and inspiring. As a reminder, please rate, review, and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The show is also available on Google Podcasts or any other platform you enjoy. Until next time, show up, dress for your success, and be brave.

 

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About Angela Foster

BWW 148 | Personal BrandAfter 20 years as an executive in the fashion and beauty space, Angela Foster now helps high-achieving petite women feel more confident by creating a closet they love. Her clients show up prepared and confident to brand photoshoots, keynote presentations, and everyday life because they enjoy a wardrobe filled with clothes that fit their height, flatter their body shape, and that they love to wear.

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