The Art of Personal Packaging – The Essential Concepts


By Ree van Dijk , Fashion & Personal Stylist

Whether you consciously acknowledge it or not, image is important. You visually telegraph messages about yourself to others through your overall image and personal style. So it is no surprise that proponents and practitioners of personal branding advocate purposeful personal packaging.

Your image is intrinsic to how others perceive you, and thus how they treat you. Therefore, control-ling the impact of your appearance on others can be a powerful tool in achieving your goals. Whether you are a professional seeking an effective career-marketing tool, or simply an individual who wants to shine, the art of personal packaging is an authentic method to get you noticed for all the right reasons.

To become proficient in this art you must subscribe to these essential concepts:

There’s No Image Without Looks

It can be quite easy to dismiss your physical appearance as a superficial strand when contemplat-ing a profound response to the question of ‘Who am I?’. Yet it is your physical characteristics cou-pled with your choice of personal adornment that make you identifiable to others. So essentially, in the eyes of the others, your packaging is you.

A common misconception is that image and looks are one and the same. Your image is others’ mental perception of you and your looks or physical appearance is one of several factors that influence that perception. Effective personal packaging marries your physical appearance with other important aspects such as your personality, lifestyle, convictions, and goals. So to project a favourable image you must develop and maintain the look that is right for you.

Your Clothes are Talking About You

Because others view your personal packaging as an expression of who you are, how you look and present yourself speaks volumes about you. You send an abundance of nonverbal messages via the silent language of clothes, body language, and overall appearance. Others receive these mes-sages and use them to make visceral assumptions about you; your health, wealth, credibility, trustworthiness etc.

They’re Also Talking to You

More often than not when you look good you feel good. You feel more confident and inspired, and may even experience improved performance. The reverse is also true; if you feel your appearance is not appropriate to context then your confidence falters. This happens because you are also re-ceiving those nonverbal cues sent out by your appearance. Science refers to this as ‘enclothed cognition’; a term coined by Adam D. Galinsky, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

A Dress Code is Required

A personal dress code is a fixed requirement of personal packaging. You have to decide what you want your appearance to say about you and then develop guidelines to help you make the right self-packaging choices. Your personal code will guide your choices in all aspects of life; from pro-fessional to leisure wear. Eventually, you will find your signature style; a particular look that people readily associate with you.

It is important to note that there is no single best style; if it was that simply a generic do’s and don’t list would suffice for everyone. The best style for you is purely dependent on you; your preferences and your goals. Your objective should be to align your appearance with who you are on the inside. Of course, you can look to others with similar professions or interests to inspire your choices, but ultimately your choice in personal packaging should present a genuine image of you.