Dressing for Confidence and Success: The Power of a Strategic Wardrobe
Have you heard the myths about dressing for confidence and success? Maybe you’ve heard that you need expensive designer clothes, that you have to wear a suit every day or that you have to dress in one specific style. The truth of dressing for confidence is far more complex. Listen to this episode of the podcast as Toi Sweeney shares the truth and debunks the myths about dressing for confidence and success.
A TEDx speaker, entrepreneur, and host of the Well Dressed Brand TV show, Toi Sweeney has a unique perspective on how dressing for confidence can lead to success in both personal and professional life. When Toi ventured into the fashion and design industry, she had no idea her journey would lead her through a devastating business setback, a crushing personal tragedy, and an unexpected use of color and wardrobe as a business strategy.
In this episode you'll learn:
How do you make sure you’re dressing for confidence and success?
Imagine walking into a room and immediately capturing everyone’s attention – not just because of what you’re wearing, but because of the confidence you exude. That’s the kind of impact you can create when you master dressing for confidence and success. And we’ve got just the expert to show you how: Toi Sweeney.
As a successful fashion and branding strategist, Toi has faced and conquered numerous challenges, from personal setbacks to a competitive industry landscape, all by staying true to herself and using her wardrobe as a strategic tool. In this episode of the podcast, we delved into Toi’s journey and the steps you can follow to make a bold, confident statement with your wardrobe that sets you apart and elevates your personal brand to new heights.
Creating a Personal Brand
Developing a strong personal brand is crucial for women who want to stand out in the crowded market and showcase their unique value to their company. A personal brand reflects your personality, values, and career goals, and serves as a way to attract opportunities and build connections with like-minded individuals. By intentionally crafting a personal brand, you can better communicate your skills and expertise, making it easier for others to understand how they can support your journey.
Toi Sweeney emphasized the importance of authenticity and self-awareness in building a personal brand. She believes that by understanding one’s own communication style and leveraging it as part of their branding strategy, women can create a more genuine and compelling image. This includes paying attention to fashion choices, as the way one dresses can significantly impact the perception of their brand. Throughout the conversation, Sweeney shared practical tips on incorporating personal style into branding, encouraging listeners to experiment with different looks and find authentic ways to express themselves.
Making the Right Impression
A strategic wardrobe can help you make the right impression. Many of us were taught that we had to make a GOOD first impression, but that’s not true. Throw that out because it’s an impossible measurement. Good compared to what? Good compared to whom? What are you really talking about? Instead, you need to focus on making the RIGHT impression.
The key to making the right impression lies in understanding the context of each interaction and knowing what message you want to send. This requires understanding your goals, values, and intended audience, as well as careful wardrobe choices that align with these things.
During the podcast, Toi Sweeney shared her insights on how fashion plays a vital role in making the right impression. She explained that clothing can act as a visual representation of one’s personal brand, and by dressing strategically, women can project an image that supports their goals and core beliefs. Sweeney underscored that you should work to create an impression that is not only favorable but also true to who you are, which comes from genuinely understanding your unique qualities and staying true to them.
"There was something about starting with a blank sheet of paper and sketching until there was a callous on your fingers. And touching every piece of fabric and thread and making sure the buttons and the hem made all of your wildest dreams come to life."
How to Build a Strategic Wardrobe
In order to build a strategic wardrobe you have to figure out what you’re trying to accomplish with your career so your wardrobe can support that goal. The other thing is to know what you’re trying to accomplish with your career and then work to have your personal brand support that. How? Who are you meeting with? What are your goals? What’s your mission, your vision? What parts of your personality can you infuse into your wardrobe? What are your core values? What are the things that you can’t compromise? And then you want to infuse those things into your personal style.
Building a Brand Right Closet
A well-built wardrobe can have a significant impact on your confidence, self-esteem, and professional success. By investing in clothing that reflect your personal brand, you can create a consistent and cohesive image that reinforces your desired message. The key to building a brand-right closet involves selecting items that showcase your unique personality, style preferences, and career objectives while avoiding excessively trendy or distracting pieces.
Toi Sweeney discussed the importance of creating a wardrobe that supports your personal branding goals. She advised listeners to concentrate on finding pieces that communicate their values and individuality, rather than falling victim to fleeting trends that may not represent them accurately. Sweeney also mentioned the importance of infusing one’s personality into their clothing choices, creating a sense of authenticity and coherence within their brand. By maintaining an intentional collection of clothes that genuinely represents your identity, you can approach personal branding with greater confidence and less stress.
If you haven’t listened to the podcast episode yet, click the player above so you can learn about a brand-right closet vs. wardrobe shenanigans. If you have a brand right, closet, then you don’t have to think so much about what to put on because you can be confident that anything in your closet will work and is going to make you feel like your best self and super confident.
Be Different, not Just Better
However, as important as it is to have a strategic wardrobe and brand-right closet that makes you feel comfortable and confident, it’s also important to recognize that being different is better than being better. This is something that Sally Hogshead, creator of the Fascination Advantage system, understands. Her system is the only assessment test in the world that tells you how the world sees you, as opposed to other tests that tell you how you see the world.
The Fascination Advantage system is based on the idea that there are seven ways in which people communicate, and that two of those ways make you fascinating. It also provides a report that outlines how you add value and gives you the words to explain it to others. This system is especially important for women who don’t have strong talking points about how they add value.
The importance of being different is that it sets you apart from the crowd and makes you stand out. When everyone is trying to fit in and conform, it’s easy to get passed over. But if you’re different, you’ll be noticed. It’s important to recognize that different is better than better, and that you should strive to be unique and express yourself in a way that is true to you.
It’s also important to remember that being different doesn’t mean you have to be outrageous or over-the-top. It simply means that you should embrace the things that make you unique and use them to your advantage. Whether it’s your signature color, your style, or the way you communicate, use these things to create a look and a brand that is truly your own.
How Can Your Wardrobe Hurt Your Career?
Not having a wardrobe strategy is a problem for career development. With a strange you will shop with intention, not just to get the dopamine hit. Shopping with intention saves you time and money. We think with our minds and we think with our bodies. Clothing really impacts what’s happening to you psychologically when you put certain items on. You need the things that are going to make you feel your best when you’re moving through the world, whatever that looks like for you. So you just don’t have time for anything that doesn’t make you feel your best. They should not be in your closet nor should you consider buying them when you’re shopping, just because they’re trendy.
The Power of Clothing
Clothing plays a significant role in shaping one’s self-perception, influencing how one feels and behaves in various situations. Dressing in a way that supports one’s personal brand and embodies their unique qualities can instill a powerful sense of confidence, authenticity, and self-expression, ultimately contributing to greater personal and professional success.
Throughout this conversation, Toi Sweeney shared her experiences in working with clients who have used fashion as a way to overcome challenges and assert their identity. She emphasized the transformative impact that intentional wardrobe choices can have, encouraging listeners to view fashion as an essential tool in establishing their personal brand and creating a positive self-image.
By dressing with purpose and embracing their individual style, we can effectively harness the power of clothing to boost our confidence and chart a path toward success. Infusing your wardrobe with your individual personality affects your bottom line and your money!
Don’t Underestimate Color Psychology
Color has the power to evoke emotions, shape perceptions, and even influence decision-making. When it comes to personal branding and fashion, utilizing color psychology can help individuals create desired impressions, project specific messages, and bring coherence to their overall image. By understanding the effects of different colors and incorporating them intentionally into one’s wardrobe, professionals can enhance their personal brand and communicate their value more effectively.
In the podcast, Toi Sweeney touched upon the importance of color in fashion and personal branding. She shares her Color of the Month newsletter, which aims to help women learn how to incorporate different colors into their wardrobe to enhance their personal style and align with their brand message. Sweeney encouraged listeners to be bold with color choices and not shy away from shades that make them feel empowered, regardless of conventional expectations or norms. By strategically selecting colors that complement your personality and goals, you can elevate your personal brand and make a lasting impact.
In today’s image-driven world, cultivating a powerful personal brand through intentional fashion choices is more critical than ever for fashion-conscious professionals. Following Allegra and Toi’s expert advice in identifying your unique personal style and values will not only help you elevate your brand, but also instill confidence in your ability to make an impact. After all, fashion is not just about looking good; it’s about daring to be bold and authentic in expressing who you are. So, get out there and create a wardrobe that leaves a lasting impression, empowering you to conquer any professional challenge that comes your way.
Are you going to try any of these tactics and strategies for dressing with confidence? Share your successes and challenges with us in the comments.
Who is Toi Sweeney?
Toi Sweeney is a powerhouse in the fashion industry. From founding her own design firm, Her Majesty the Queen, to managing the image of almost 30 TV personalities at the leading home shopping network, she uses her background to tell original stories through fashion.
Toi is an award-winning award-winning fashion stylist, brand image strategist, TEDX speaker, entrepreneur, host of The Well Dressed Brand TV Show, certified Fascination Advantage™ coach, and best-selling author of Secrets of a Well Dressed Brand.
Toi’s passion and talent has earned her a variety of honors and accomplishments, including the prestigious Telly Award, as well as The Icon Of The Year Award . Toi has been featured on over 30 podcasts, Forbes.com, BBC News.com and Where Women Work magazine. Toi lends her style and branding expertise with an innovative approach to high-performers as well as high-profile corporations.
There is a direct connection between how you feel about yourself and how you show up in the world. ~ Allegra M. Sinclair
"Everyone cares what someone thinks. We just shouldn't care what everyone thinks." @Sweeneytoi
"I was never one to subscribe to the whole princess thing. Even as a child, I never wanted to be called a princess, I wanted to be the queen." ~ Toi Sweeney
"Different is better than better. Being different is better than being better."
"It's very important to infuse what makes you fascinating into your personal brand and your wardrobe." ~ Toi Sweeney
"What's the American version of being a queen? How do we get up every day and put our crowns on?" - Toi Sweeney
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- Consider reading Toi Sweeney's book, Secrets of a Well Dressed Brand, for more insights on building your personal brand and image
- Tune in to the Well Dressed Brand TV show to learn more about style, confidence, and personal branding from Toi Sweeney
- Visit Toi Sweeney's website, ToiSweeney.com, to explore her services, resources, and offerings
- Watch Toi Sweeney's TEDx talk on rejecting your story and embracing your adventure
- Visit Well Dressed Brand TV on Facebook
Allegra Sinclair: Welcome to Your Confident Self with Allegra Sinclair. Get ready to punch fear in the throat and gain confidence like never before. I help corporate women get the confidence to ask for the job they want and do the work they love. Isn't it time you've got unstuck and showed the world how fabulous bless you are? Hey. Welcome to this week's episode of the podcast. You guys. Whoo. Get ready, get ready. Get ready. My new best friend, Toi Sweeney is joining us today, and there is so much fire and so much intention and so much delicious stuff coming your way. I cannot wait. So I'm going to cut my intro short so you can quickly get to the good stuff, but I will let you know how bad Toi is. She's the founder and chief style officer of the well dressed Brand. She's an award winning, fashion stylist brand image strategist, TEDx speaker, entrepreneur, the host of the Well Dressed Brand TV show. She's a certified fashion advantage. Do I need to keep going, y'all? She is everything and more. She's also the best selling author of Secrets of a Well Dressed Brand. In our conversation today, we are going to cover the magic that is hiding in your closet. Or not. We're going to talk about how an intentional strategy towards your wardrobe can help you move forward in your career. And we're also going to talk about the power of color. Let's get into it. Everybody, please help me. Welcome Toi Sweeney.
Toi Sweeney: Hey, girl. Hey.
Allegra Sinclair: Hi.
Toi Sweeney: Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited to be here, and I do love you, and you are my best friend. I volunteer. Told you I didn't really give you a chance. You didn't have to answer. I was like, oh, I will stalk you. I am in your life, period.
Allegra Sinclair: And I was here for it five minutes into the conversation. Now, you know, I grew up in Jersey. I don't like everybody, but when I met Toi, I was like, oh, yeah, this is home. I liked her. So we were off and running, and I could not wait to bring her to the show. Now, you know, around here, we talk a lot about punch and fear in the throat. We talk about confidence. But most importantly, what we talk about is being more of who you are. And if you're not sure who that is, then your work is to figure out who you are so you can be more of that person. So my first question for Toi is, tell me what spawned her majesty the queen? How did you go from whatever you were doing, drinking, slurpees, hanging out at the pool, whatever was happening in your life? How did you go from that to founding your own design firm? Because that is a boss career move.
Toi Sweeney: Oh, not the drinking slurpee. I feel so seen. How did you know?
Allegra Sinclair: Because you told me you were from jersey. Girl I know.
Toi Sweeney: Exit 13 a right.
Allegra Sinclair: When someone says they're from Jersey, which exit?
Toi Sweeney: Not the 711.
Allegra Sinclair: Yes. Girl 711 is life.
Toi Sweeney: Oh, my gosh. I don't think that I'm going to be able to get through this. Thank you for asking that question, because I have not been asked about her Majesty the queen in so long. And so during my time, I went to college in Philadelphia, and so during my time in college, we had an opportunity to go to London in Paris, and I really enjoyed London, and it was my first time there. And I was just like, oh, my gosh. I kept seeing these signs all over the place on buildings and banks and stores, and this is for Her Majesty the Queen. And this, this everything was like, her Majesty the Queen. Her Majesty the Queen. And so at that time and this was like in the 90s, I'm trying to figure out we went to go visit the crown jewels, and I'm looking at all of the tiaras that she could have her choice to put on every day. And so as I started to think about that and I was near graduating design school, I was like, what's the American version of that? How do we get up every day and we put our crowns on? And I was never one to subscribe to the whole princess thing, right? Even as a child, I never wanted to be called a princess. And people would say, why? And I was like, well, because she's just waiting for the queen to die so that she could be queen anyway. Everybody just wants to be queen.
Allegra Sinclair: Who wants to be a princess? Yes.
Toi Sweeney: I was that kid. And so that was really how it was born, just out of this whole, like, leaning into who you were created to be. And it was before everything was like, yes, queen. And everything was like, queen, queen, queen, you're a queen. So at that time, it was like fresh language as opposed to now it's diluted language, I guess, or language that has been used a lot to become a commodity, to call someone a queen. But that was really it. And so I was doing these very couture level bridal gowns and evening gowns, and that was really what I wanted it I wanted to give that experience as if you were royalty and your silk gown had been laid out for you and custom made for you, and you are her Majesty the queen. And so that was how I would address gowns as I delivered them. Her Majesty the Queen. Allegra Sinclair thank you for the opportunity for me to create such a magnificent piece for you and things like that that we wouldn't typically get on the everyday.
Allegra Sinclair: Awesome. Now, I don't know a ton about design firms, but I do know that there aren't often people who are chocolate or young or not connected, right? When I think, yeah, I remember. Is it Leon Tally? Yes. When he dressed Jennifer Lopez? Not Jennifer Lopez. Jennifer Hudson for the Oscars. And everybody was like, Leon Tally. And I was like, oh, people just don't know, because I did know that name. So tell me a little bit about how you as a young woman of color who might not have had the legacy and connections.
What was that like for you, stepping out into an area that most of the folks who were doing that well didn't look like you?
Toi Sweeney: Oh, gosh, it was so difficult. Like anything even it really isn't any different than running a business today. Correct. We don't get the funding unless you have mommy and Daddy's money. And some of the designers that have made it, they do have that, or they were able to do that. I was too young and too naive to know that I couldn't. I didn't know that I shouldn't. I didn't know that I couldn't. I just did it. And so everything that I had, I was working full time and designing in between that time and going to New York and finding pattern makers that could help me do a collection. And I hired a veteran pattern maker to help me with fits and things like that because I was like, why should I try to do this? And I've been doing it for the few years that I've been in school, and she's been doing this for three and four decades. Right?
Allegra Sinclair: Right.
Toi Sweeney: I source all the fabric myself. I design everything, sketch it and everything. And then as I got clients, I would just go, okay, we're going to have a fitting, and then I hand deliver their gown to them. But I just didn't know. I mean, I sunk everything that I had into it. And a friend of mine was like, hey, I made this connection. I think it'll be a good connection for you. And it was this high end boutique on the Main Line in Philadelphia, and they allowed me to put my gap. She's like, oh, we love these. We're going to have them in there in her shop. And that was really kind of the beginning. And then I was featured in Philadelphia Inquirer on the business section, as well as the section that was like, hey, this new hot designer.
Allegra Sinclair: It was really cool.
Toi Sweeney: It was really a wonderful time. And then when the map market crashed in 2008 or nine and everything went down, so did that business. And I was devastated. I was so devastating because design made me feel really beautiful. It just was something about starting with a blank sheet of paper and sketching until there's a callous on your fingers and touching every piece of fabric and the thread and making sure the buttons and the hem and all of your wildest dreams come to life. And when you see it on a person. And so it was very devastating.
Allegra Sinclair: There was so much in that. I don't want to add to trauma, but it's beautiful the way you said design made you feel beautiful. So not just that you were designing things that made you personally feel beautiful, but you bringing a design to life on someone else made you feel beautiful.
Toi Sweeney: Yeah, I felt really smart. That was the first time in my life that I could say that I was not getting dressed to put on something, but it was something that was God given or created in me that I was pouring out into the world. And that was like, the journey to really know what true beauty is.
Allegra Sinclair: For me, that is awesome. If I was still playing on Twitter, that's tweetable. We know the cray that's happening there right now. Come on. I'm not the only person who knows about that. But that was tweetable. I love that. It's kind of like we talk about being more of who you are in that moment, and it's so wonderful. The confidence that took. I call it like the confidence of a seven year old. You ask a seven year old what they're going to be when they grow up, they don't think, oh, well, I don't know if I have the right money or if I don't know if I came from the right place or I don't know if I have the right education. Seven year old, what are you going to be when you grow up? I'm going to be a ballerina. And everything in them tells them that that is possible for them. I love that. You were like, yeah, I started this business that shouldn't have happened because nobody told me I shouldn't have. It didn't occur to me that I couldn't do it, so I just went on and did the thing. I love that.
Toi Sweeney: Yeah, I think that it's one of the greatest gifts that my mom gave me. She left me, like, a couple of good nuggets before she left this world. And I love her and appreciate her. So I'm not saying that, but I'm just saying those kind of jaw dropping, life changing things that I know for sure that she just left me. And one of them was I kind of grew up thinking, like, oh, my gosh, she has no expectation of me, right? Because it was like, don't get pregnant and just make sure that she graduates high school. That was literally all that she that was it. You had to go to college. It wasn't like any of that stuff. It was like the bar was right.
Allegra Sinclair: Don't get pregnant and graduate from high school?
Toi Sweeney: Yes, and so for such a long time, that really bothered me. And then as I got older and by the time she left this world six years ago, she left as one of my best friends. And I realized what a gift that was because that was why I didn't know that I couldn't because no one ever told me that I couldn't. And so that intrinsic motivation that was in me, she didn't know to try to distinguish that fire, that specific one. She never distinguished that fire because there was just no expectation there. It was like, okay, I didn't get pregnant. I've graduated high school. And then I decided, like, okay, I'm going to go to Fit. And then I had this whole plan, and I had to pivot so many times, but I got it done. And I remember graduating from the Art Institute in Philadelphia, and I won oh, gosh, I won an award. This is terrible. I can't remember what it'll come to me. I can't remember what the award is called. And I got this award, and I just remember her just being like, just see the shock and awe on her face. You know what I mean? And even then, later, the night that I won the Icon of the Year Award from the Art Institute of Philadelphia, a decade later, my mom's last text to me was, I'm so proud of you. I'm just proud of you. And so there's something in that, like, who you listen to, who you allow to write your story.
Allegra Sinclair: That's deep. That is deep. There's two deep things. There a who you listen to, right? Because everybody's opinion doesn't carry the same weight. I was talking about that with a client this morning. She's like, oh, well, I'm worried if I do X that people might talk about me. And I was like, well, are they people who you care about talking about you? Because it's different if someone in my circle talks about me versus a stranger talks about me, because I really could care less if a stranger talks 100%, right? I don't care. But if someone in my circle is like, hey, let me just talk to you for a minute. Step over here to the side. That is loving counsel versus a stranger, judging something they don't even understand 100%.
Toi Sweeney: And the people who are like, I don't care what anybody thinks. Lies. All of us care. It's a lie.
Allegra Sinclair: Stop playing with me.
Toi Sweeney: Why are you trying to play me, right? Why are you trying to play me? Because everyone cares what someone thinks. But exactly what you said. I just don't care what everyone thinks.
Allegra Sinclair: Yes, I love that. I'm very particular about who I care about, what they think. Something that you were starting to touch on, like the confidence to move from your own firm and then going through the economic downturn and kind of letting that business go and then moving and becoming like the I want to say headstylist. You'll have to remind me what your title was at the Leading Home Shopping Network, which is huge, right? Managing 30 different TV personalities and their style is all you tell me a tip that you have, or I'll give you two tips for keeping your confidence high. Because stepping out in the world of work as a woman, it comes with some challenges. Right. I have a conversation I have with myself, or I have a song I listen to that reminds me of who I am and whose I am. Those are a couple of things I do for confidence, but what are a couple of things that you do to remain confident on such a big stage with big responsibilities?
Toi Sweeney: So I'm so Type A that I think that a lot of it it might be my toxic trait. I'm not sure. But I think that there's a like I was saying before, there's a lot of ignorance around. Like, it's almost that whole was it nene for one of the housewives show, which I've not watched really? Any of them, but just the clips. Right. Like, who going to check me boo? I didn't know that. I couldn't. Right. I think that the true answer is that because I'm such a high performer and I'm so Type A that I am so fearful of getting caught with my pants down. That's the truth. What that means is that I've always kind of had these rolling things in motion. So even though I was working on my design firm and I was getting these features in the magazine, I still was working full time. I was at QVC, but I had a different job at that time. I was working in the office that books the models and would train them for runway and just making sure we had the right girl with the right products. Right. And so that was the job that I had at that time. The design firm was really more like my side hustle because it was a lot of sketching and sewing.
Allegra Sinclair: I didn't realize see, I'm not good with the maths. I shouldn't affirm that. No great with math. I didn't realize that you were working on that at the same time that you were working full time.
Toi Sweeney: I was working full time. And so that was how I was funding that, because collections cost a lot of money and I was throwing $20,000. And then I run out as many seasons as I could go and be like, okay, it's been a while. I need to probably create a new collection. And then it was another $20,000. It was crazy. And so in all the while, not that you asked me, I'm going to tell you this was also going on. And then I was also trying to have a baby. And so I was doing infertility stuff at that time as well and pregnant with my first child.
Allegra Sinclair: To add a.
Toi Sweeney: Little extra spice just because I was bored, apparently wow. Through that. So I just kind of want to take you on this ride real quick, just kind of give you this emotional part of my life that was completely nucking futz. Like, it was so crazy. So then all of that is happening. The design firm goes down. I'm working full time still. And in the midst of that, we get pregnant and we're really excited and we're just happy. Oh, gosh, 26. I was six months pregnant. I can't do weeks. Six months into the pregnancy, I have a uterine eruption. And our son Miles, who would have been 14 today, passed away.
Allegra Sinclair: I'm so sorry.
Toi Sweeney: Thank you so much. And so in the midst of that, I can now no longer have children. And so like, okay, so you come back to work, and in that time, I had moved from that position to a backstage styling position. So I was styling the live show and working overnights. So you go to work and you and all of these girls are pregnant. I go out and I have this tragedy. I get back to work and what, everybody has their baby, right? And I don't have mine. And so that was kind of laying like, okay, I'm stuck in this job and there's no upward mobility, so what are you going to do about it? And people were just they would see me in the hallway, then they would burst into tears. I was getting this reputation of that was, again, the story that was being placed upon me was this sad girl.
And so that's when I started to started to really experiment with color because I needed to change their perspective of me. And so I learned that I had been passed up for a styling position. I had moved into a full time styling job at this point, backstage, and I was passed up for a big show. So I was starting to lay the foundation for my company now, the well dressed brand, but I didn't realize it. And so I started just really changing the way that I look, wearing bright colors, and just people would be like, I'm always so happy to see you. You always look so happy. I would never wear black. I would never wear black. Everything was a color clash every day and a smile. And so I learned that I got passed up in the midst of that for a job that I really wanted. And then I started changing things. I noticed this person who the show host that was passing me up for this job. I noticed the day that she noticed me, and it was because I had changed up and started using my wardrobe as a business strategy to get this job. And so then that happened. And so then once I was killing it on those shows, I really started to read and research and understand branding.
And so I was like, okay, I need to create like, a personal brand, and how does this work? And if you use color and infuse a personality, does that contribute to the bottom line? Let me try it. It worked. And so I got a little buzz that the woman who was dressing all of the show hosts. Her name is Maria McCool. Shout out to maria was looking to move away from that position, so they needed someone to fill that position. And so I started just kind of being like, hey, I'm interested. How can we do this? And that was really it. So I started to just kind of put these strategies in place. And so when she started training me and teaching me these things, once she fully moved out of the position, and it was me and another stylist, or she was my boss at the time, but we were doing that. So I had 17 of them that directly reported to me. And so as we were doing that, I started doing the same thing for them. If I infuse their personalities, if I use specific colors, if I do all of these things, does it impact the bottom line? And so that was really it. And so outside of just the normal things that we know to move you through a job, keeping yourself as educated. I believed in automobile university. I listened to podcasts. Yes, right.
Allegra Sinclair: Gosh. I've never met anybody else who did that! I called it Honda University because I was always listening to podcasts or books on tape or something when I was in my car.
Toi Sweeney: Yes, I love that because I had an hour drive there and back. And so I did my automobile university. I was always listening to some sort of an audiobook. I was always reading Forbes articles and different things, all the things to keep up with what I needed to do and to be sharp for my job. I mean, I had 17 personalities that I was responsible for. I'm shopping with them. I'm in their closets. I'm backstage with them. We're going to Italy. We're going to the oh, what is his name? With his cute self.
Allegra Sinclair: Is he on the show still?
Toi Sweeney: Anderson Cooper. We're going to Anderson Cooper. He's so cute. And then we're, like, doing all the.
Toi Sweeney: I could tell you we're just doing all of these things with them. And so anyway, that was just laying the foundation for my company, the Well Dressed Brand. And so when I wrote the book Secrets of a Well Dressed Brand, that was where I laid the groundwork and really just kind of cut my teeth on the principles that I lay out in the book because I had to live it, and then I had to do it for myself and other people simultaneously. So I know what I know what I know.
Allegra Sinclair: So that was all sorts of amazing. And it's weighty, right, the tragedy that kind of was the foundation for all this other good stuff. But it's fascinating that you were passed over for a position. And I'm not quite sure, but I think what you were saying was that you were passed over because you had this story that you were the sad girl and they were looking for someone with a different brand. Is that why you were passed over? So then you intentionally created this, okay. So you didn't get this position, and instead of wallowing and saying, oh, my gosh, I can't believe I got that, I would have been perfect at that. Life sucks. Stuff always happens to me. You said, okay, let me think strategically about this. How can I position myself to be ready for the next time?
Toi Sweeney: Yeah, that was exactly right.
Allegra Sinclair: Now, what's interesting is that you thought about I never thought about wardrobe business strategy. I do think of, like, a couple of little tips. Like, I think we talked in our first meeting about a previous podcast episode I did about how I thought I was everything if I had on a red bra. Or, like, a fancy bra. If it was a big day, girl by if it was a big day, I had a big presentation to do, and I had on, like, my totally buttoned up corporate gear, but underneath, I knew what I was working with. It gave me a whole different attitude right. To step in front of the room more confidently, because I would have this little giggle all day, like, you all don't even know. Right. I understood that. Right. And I remember telling myself that, guess what? How you look impacts how you feel, and how you feel impacts how you show up in the world. Right? So this was back in the day when I think I first discovered lip gloss. And my grandmother was horrified because she thought that if you put Vaseline on your eyelashes, that was about as much as you should do. Anything beyond that was you were doing too much. So when I showed up with, like, lip liner and lip stick with gloss on top, she's doing too much. Okay. She needs to leave college. We don't know what has happened to her out in Michigan, but we need to pray her back home because she has lost her mind.
Toi Sweeney: Where are you going?
Allegra Sinclair: I understood the connection between how I felt about myself and how I showed up in the world.
Toi Sweeney: Yes.
Allegra Sinclair: But I never took it to the stage of thinking about my brand being a strategic advantage in the workplace. So I don't want you to tell us the whole book, obviously, but tell me a little bit more about two things that your wardrobe does that helps you and one thing your wardrobe does that hampers you when you're trying to move in your career.
Toi Sweeney: Well, I think that gone are the days, in my opinion, about making a good impression, because for a long time, bad Girl Riri was bad until Super Bowl, and she was, like, extra good.
Allegra Sinclair: Like, bad as in bad or bad as in good?
Toi Sweeney: Right? Yes. Right. I'm like, which one is those? Exactly. Right? And I'm saying yes. It's like either or. It's like, okay, because I think that it depends on who you're talking to. That's why I'm saying yes, right? Because it's like, sometimes it's bad because it's bad, and sometimes it's bad meaning good. And so for me, it's the same as people saying you want to make a good impression, right? Because I just throw that term completely out because good to whom? Good compared to what? Good compared to whom? What are you talking about?
And so what I encourage my clients to do, what I volunteered them that they're going to do, is make the right we're going to make the right impression. You want to make the right impression. You don't want to make a good impression or a bad impression. You need to make the right impression. Right? And so even when I was talking about I got passed up for that job because this person didn't view me as a stylist. Like, in her mind, she had a very specific ingredient in her mind of what a stylist was. And so anyway, the answer to the question is that you want to make sure that you're making the right impression is that and so the way that you make the right impression is that you have to consider what you're trying to accomplish.
Who are you meeting with? And that's, like, a long term thing, right? What are your goals? What's your mission, your vision? What parts of your personality can you infuse into your wardrobe? What are your core values? What are the things that you can't compromise? Right? All of those things. And then you want to infuse those things into your personal style. Then you want to make sure that you have a brand right closet, because you don't want a bunch of shenanigans in there. You don't want it to be trend, trend, trend, trend, trend.
Allegra Sinclair: Oh, my gosh. I'm sorry. What is wardrobe shenanigans?
Toi Sweeney: Oh, my gosh. We have all seen the people when you're like, here she comes. Here he comes with the wardrobe shenanigans, where they have on every trend known to man. And then other people are telling them of how fierce fire hot they are, and it looks like a bunch of shenanigans. It's so distracting. They got on the smoky the bear influencer hat with the latest wedges, with the fringe, with the crop top, with the hood. Like, enough, okay?
Allegra Sinclair: I was like, wardrobe shenanigans? Is that like leather? Leather can be great. I just wanted to make sure that. I didn't have it, whatever it was, I just wanted to know.
Toi Sweeney: And that could be a part of your personality, but no one's personality is like the all ten trends for the year on your body. You know what I mean?
Allegra Sinclair: Got you.
Toi Sweeney: It's like, pick two.
Allegra Sinclair: Pick two. So you call it a brand right closet.
Toi Sweeney: So you want to make sure that you have a brand right closet. So at a certain stage and age in your life, you've probably worked with someone who. Can tell you what colors look good on you, right? And so they're like, you're a winter. You are hourglass shape. You are a blah, blah, blah. Right? And so you can go onto Pinterest and look up color analysis and find a celebrity that matches your skin tone. And you can pay someone to do that, but you can also go on Pinterest, right? So I would be considered a Winter, for example. So you can go, oh, Lapita is a winter. I'm a winter. Like, if you have dark eyes and darker skin or I think it's dark. It's basically dark eyes and maybe even fair skin, you could be considered like a winter, right? So anyway, you get all these colors that you can wear. Pick six of those colors. And to start off so you want to make sure that you have two or three neutrals. And then the rest can be colors that you just love. If you have brand colors, that's probably a clue of what colors you love. You can make sure you have enough of those. And then you start to segment your closet off. So this is what I'm going to look like and wear for Zoom meetings. This is how I show up to work when I work out. And all needs to make sense for your brand. Don't just have it in there. Every piece of clothing in your closet needs to be there with intention. They all need a job. And so if they don't have a job, then you probably need to get rid of them. Like, this is for sexy time. This is for date night. This is for girls brunch. All of them have to have a job.
Allegra Sinclair: Okay? So the first thing out your mouth I didn't think was going to be this is the sexy time when you went to closet, but sexy time. So the thing that is fascinating about that is I have for many years had a closet that had like several sections. There was I'm feeling myself section. There was I just haven't decided to get rid of it section. That I'm thinking right now. If you were here with me, you'd be like, SIS, what is this? What is happening? Yes, this is Shenanigans over here. You I'm just going to tell you right now. Stop it. But it's interesting to think if I have a brand right, closet, then I don't have to think so much about what I put on because I know anything I pull out is going to work, and it's going to make me feel my best me and make me feel more confident. What is the thing that we do with our wardrobe that is a hindrance to us developing our brand and style? Is it the Shenanigans or is there a different mistake we make with our wardrobe?
Toi Sweeney: I think that really just not having a strategy. You know what I mean? I think that we're so beyond you should be just at the point where we're just shopping to shop, right? And I get it, because when you go shopping, you get such a dopamine hit and it's a feel good thing, especially if you just have a day where you're a little bummed out, it makes you feel good. And so I get that. But you need to shop with intention, because when you have a brand, right, closet, when you become a well dressed brand, where you're living well and you're dressing well, it's saving you time and it's saving you money, and then what happens to you when you put on certain clothes? And so I cite this study in my book, and I'll go through it really quickly. But basically what came from the study from Northwestern University was that we think when we get dressed, we think with our minds and we think with our bodies. And so that's where the hindered influence can come from, or powerful influence. So it's the meaning that you are giving the clothing, like your red bra, right? Some people may see that and think one thing, but for you it incited something very powerful. And so you gave that the meaning, but that makes you more product. When you read the study, it talks about how they were able to focus more and they made less mistakes as they were running through these different tests that they were giving them. And so that's really what's happening. And so even though for those of us who are on Instagram, right, and everything is like, tell us about the fit.
Allegra Sinclair: The fit.
Toi Sweeney: To fit. The fit, I could care less about the look of the day or the fit. It's what's happening to you psychologically, what's happening to you mentally when you put those things on, because we have so much to do. Even if it's just self care, you have to do those, too. You need an outfit for that. You need a plushy robe or a satin gown. Like you need the things that are going to make you feel your best when you're moving through the world and whatever that looks like for you. So we just don't have time for all of these things that don't make you feel your best. They should not be in your closet. You shouldn't even consider them when you're shopping.
Allegra Sinclair: You had me when you said save time and save money. Because I remember when I was first getting started in my real professional career, because I worked full time the whole time I was going through college. But when I graduated and went and got the quote, unquote, real job, I remember just dressing always in black and white. Maybe every now and then I'd throw in some tan to spice it up. And in New Jersey in the 90s, everybody was dressing like that, right? So that was no big deal, right?
Toi Sweeney: Right.
Allegra Sinclair: But I remember I moved to Arizona. I can't remember when I moved. I think like 92, 93. And people didn't know what to do with me. They were like, who is this ghoul she wears black all the time? I'm like, y'all don't understand. On the streets of Philadelphia. Thank you. You all just need to back up before you get burned while you're busy talking about how I'm some sort of ghoul.
Toi Sweeney: Cool.
Allegra Sinclair: Out here in Arizona, right? But to me, it was easy. I knew everything went with everything. I had gone to, I don't know, some high end department store and been like, okay, yes, I just need the wardrobe. Just bring me stuff in here that all works together. Whatever you put on me, I'm going to buy it, right? And I just continued because it worked. Everything worked together, saved so much time, saved so much money. Because I don't enjoy shopping. I'm going to be that rare person who says I don't like shopping for clothes and shoes. I don't like it. I just want somebody else to help me figure some stuff out. It takes time. Well, that's because you're good at hard time figuring out. Thank you. I'm like, I stand in my freezer every morning going, okay, which daily harvest shake am I rolling with today? Smoothies talk to me. One of you leap out the freezer. Too many decisions to make in the course of a day. I don't want to have to think too much about those things because I want to think about other things. But I love that. So the things that we can do with our wardrobe to help ourselves or have a brand, right? Closet have a strategy because that relates to the thing that we do that doesn't service shopping unintentionally, what did you call it? Just gambling, about to get that dopamine buzz. We don't want to do that. We want to get things that work together and make us our best self. I don't believe clothes make a person. Yes, you can absolutely do that.
Toi Sweeney: I'm sorry. Say that again.
Allegra Sinclair: Come on.
Toi Sweeney: I cut you off. I apologize.
Allegra Sinclair: I just don't think clothes make the person. So I want to be very careful with our language, which is why I loved you saying doing something that's intentional, that supports your brand because if who you are showing up as is raggedy. What you wear isn't as important as your raggedy spirit. However, if you are showing up, powerfully shenanigans can detract from your powerful.
Toi Sweeney: Yeah, okay. And the third thing if I could add would be do not underestimate the psychology of color. That's the thing. That's one of the things obviously, I'm working with clients and we're laying a foundation for their brand, and I'm giving them a style test so that we're not making these kinds of mistakes that we're talking about when you work with me. But the other thing that I infused into that is really the psychology of color. And so you can't underestimate that because when you think about it, even when you were saying with the black and white, it's very striking. Those are like two colors that just kind of get your attention and it's instantly chic, to be honest. But really quickly, if you think about Apple, when they started with all their white packaging, right, in this sea of black headphones, and you're all of a sudden walking down the street with these white earphones and earbuds and the packaging, that's for a reason. And when you think about their slogan, think different. And white is the color of new beginnings and fresh starts. And even when you look at political people who are when Hillary was running and Kamala the white suits, right? Think different. Lean in my direction, try something new. So you can't underestimate the color of psychology. When you look at the Super Bowl, Rihanna, and with the red, red is the color of ambition and determination. I'm sorry, she's running how many billion dollar Fenty brand, right? And so that's the one thing that I think that people really underestimate is just understanding the powerfulness of color. And it could just be all black, like, whatever. You pick a signature color, I don't care what it is, but make sure that it's something that speaks to you, is what I'm trying to say.
Allegra Sinclair: So let me tell you about some homework that I did because I knew that you and I were talking. So a couple of weeks ago, what? I'll own it. I thought, well, I don't think about wardrobe, I don't think about personality. I don't think about design as a brand. And when I was doing my homework, I was like, oh, who do I think is doing this? Who do I think has, like, a strong brand? And I looked at people in entertainment, I looked at people in the business world. I didn't think politics, which is fascinating, but I looked at Zendaya and how intentional she got. I don't know if she was always working with Law. Is it Law Roach? I don't know if she was always working with him, but I can tell if I go back and look at pictures, the point at which she started to work with him and I was like, okay, her brand is it is so intentional and it is just fire. Love what she's doing. But then I thought, okay, Rihanna. And she had some I think they were fashion shows when she was introducing her lines. Because I hear about Fenty beauty, like the cosmetic stuff, because I'm all about finding the best concealer to hide the luggage under my eye. I think it must be allergy related because they just won't leave me. But my dream continues for the right concealer. But I didn't realize that she had these whole lines of fashions. And she actually did like, concept concert fashion shows, and they were on Amazon Prime. So I watched them all and I was like, oh, I can't wait to talk to Toi.
She's going to be so proud of me that I went from zero. I went from wearing black and white and don't talk about me because I don't own any crocs to girls. I watched all of the Fenty shows, but the thing that struck me was the power in those shows, right? So they were visually interesting and she had such a diverse group of people, but you could turn any of those shows on in the middle of it, watch two and a half seconds, and you knew who it was, who was behind it. And I thought, yes, the color. She was not afraid of color. I don't watch a lot of fashion shows, I won't pretend that I do. But I was overwhelmed. My half Jamaican behind was overwhelmed with all of the different her complete adoption. I mean, I can't think of a color she didn't touch, right? And not just touch, but stomp all over. She didn't like Timidly walk up to the color and say, excuse me, color, would you please be part of my show? She snatched it up around the throat and wrangled it. I loved that. So I think that's a great point about not underestimating the power of any color, but more specifically your color, the color that speaks to you, because I won't necessarily think that, oh, black and white was just magic for me as a person. It was just easy and it was what people were doing. If I had to pick a signature color for myself, that probably would not be it. So I loved the encouragement to figure out, hey, what's your color? And then use it because it works for you.
Toi Sweeney: Yeah.
Allegra Sinclair: So tell me a little bit about you said in your bio that you are a Fascination advantage coach. And as a coach who had never heard of fascination advantage, I want to know more about that.
Toi Sweeney: What is that? So the fascination advantage is a system that was created by a woman named Sally Hogshead. The correlating book is called how the World Sees you is through the website. And so basically it is the only assessment test in the entire world that tells you how the world sees you, as opposed to Myers, Briggs and all the other ones that are like, hi, allegra this is how you see the world and this is what you think about this. This is, hey, here is how the world sees you. Here's what you're doing right already here is like the jobs that you should stay away from because you're probably not going to do a really good job in those. But here are the things that are going to be in your well, spring. And so it gives you this whole report. And I use that report because, number one, it separates me from other fashion stylists. Number two, I use it to lay the foundation of the brand for my clients. And then I couple that with my style test, and then we create a lookbook for them so that you look right for every turn of your life. So I love this report also because it's the only thing that I found that gave me the verbiage to explain how I added value. So I found this while I was working in corporate. I would use it for review time to talk about how I added value to the team. And I just heard Rihanna in my head, you better have my money.
Allegra Sinclair: She started the Super Bowl show with that, did she not?
Toi Sweeney: Yes, because she was letting you know what was about to go down. And I think a lot of women specifically sometimes don't have the verbiage to talk about how they add value. And so I love the fascination that they can louder for the people, they can't explain it. Right? And so that's why these things are so important and that's why my first order of business when I left my corporate job, I think that I got my LLC and then I was like, Anne, I'm going to get certified in becoming a fascination advantage coach. And so that was my first order of business because I just believed in the program so much. I love that. Part of the other part of the test that I love is that you get this section where it gives you if you look at my test, it gives you an archetype like most tests, right? So I would be considered the connoisseur. The reason that this test again is so important is because it's all about communication. So I'm just going to go back for a second. It's all about communication. It's how you communicate. There are seven ways that all of us communicate. One is the primary way that you communicate and then we have a secondary way that we communicate. And so we go through the seven ways that you communicate. And those top two are the two that makes you fascinating. So mine would be prestige, which is the language of excellence, and then passion, which is the language of relationships. And so I think that even when we were talking about in the beginning, that's the first thing that was your experience with me, right? We talked about your background. We talked about my background. You can see that there was a level of excellence there and that I'm very much a passion personality. And so that made perfect sense. So I was like, oh, this test might be onto something. And then it goes deeper and it gives you this little paragraph of just what I use it for is to like, this is how you should run your brand through these things. So mine says something to the effect of like, I'm warm hearted, I'm knowledgeable, I'm respected by my colleagues, like all of these different things.
And so I encourage people for every email that you send out, make sure that it's being sifted through that so that your brand stays in alignment. When you're shopping for something, does this come across as knowledgeable and warm hearted with what you're doing? Like whatever your test would say? Does that make sense for you? You want to filter through that because that's the foundation of your personal brand. That's really what it is. It's really teaching people what makes them fascinating and then leaning into that so that we can be really powerful and stand in our power in that way. And you can't even try. Once you understand what sets you apart and what makes you fascinating, you can't even try to be like somebody else.
Because Sally says different is better than better. Being different is better than being better. And so when you think about that, you think about the fact that all of our lives, right, we're told, fit in, fit in, fit in, conform. Conform, fit in. And then what happens? You finally arrive. Lucky you. You fit in. You've conformed just so that the world can ignore you because they own, right?
Allegra Sinclair: Yes.
Toi Sweeney: Right?
Allegra Sinclair: It makes you easily passed over.
Toi Sweeney: Enables people not to see you preach, right? So that's what it is. And so you have to be fascinating. You have to be different. Because different would be better than being better anytime. You're always going to have that person. Like, Kimberly is great, jennifer is wonderful, right? You look in your phone, how many Kimberly, Jennifers and Sarah's like, do we all know, right? What we do is a commodity. Our names sometimes can be a commodity, but who you are is not. So that's why you have to infuse what makes you fascinating. Your personality into your personal brand, into your wardrobe. Because you showing up different is better than you showing up better. Just saying.
Allegra Sinclair: Yes, that's like saying amen on it. I'm just saying because people don't get.
Toi Sweeney: That every time someone comes to me and they're like, I don't want to be like everybody else. And then we start looking through different things. Or what about this and that? Oh, I could never wear that.
Allegra Sinclair: Why?
Toi Sweeney: Because you want to conform. Look at those influencer Smokey to Bear hats that everybody was wearing. If I saw one more of those hats, Lord have mercy. I'm like, can we stop wearing the zoro hats? Enough of the smokey the bear.
Allegra Sinclair: I did see Florence Pugh with a red one on, but it had a veil attached to it.
Toi Sweeney: And did you see that was it?
Allegra Sinclair: She was at some British awards show and I was like, this child, she's another one. Really strong brand that it was different.
Toi Sweeney: Because it was the same, but it was different. You know what I'm saying?
Allegra Sinclair: It was different.
Toi Sweeney: Yeah. And so that's what I'm saying, is that you can do it again because there's 1000 people, millions of people sometimes in the world who's doing probably whatever it is that you do. We all know them. You know all the people who are doing what you do, but you are the differentiator. So do it. Just do it differently. Do it like you.
Allegra Sinclair: I think that a lot of the women who I work with who have reached a certain level of success in their career and are trying to figure out, okay, so how do I get to that next thing? And they are very focused on what other people did to get to that spot and can't figure out why doing what everybody else did isn't working for them. First of all, is it who you are as a person or you like putting on other people's behaviors as a jacket? Because we feel that when you're faking the funk, right, if it doesn't fit you, we feel that when we're around you. But two, if everybody else did it, it has already been seen. So why would you expect to get the same results they did when we've already seen that?
Okay, when everybody falls in love with you, as I know they will, how do they get more of you? First, I know is the book, Secrets of a Well Dressed Brand which you all go get it on Amazon because there's deliciousness inside. Not just the book deliciousness, but the fascination advantage test that we were talking about. Inside the book is a QR code. So you can take that test. So run right now to Amazon and get you the five year anniversary version of that book. Now, how else can they get more?
Toi Sweeney: Toi, please, let's be friends on all the social spaces.
Allegra Sinclair: What's your favorite social space?
Toi Sweeney: Oh, my gosh. Right now I'm spending a lot of time on Instagram and LinkedIn because I am doing something that's called the color of the month. And so in order, I would love for you to get the full color of the month experience. And so what that is, is that each month, as we were talking about color earlier, we're taking a deeper dive into each color to help you be able to choose your signature color. And so for January, we talked about the color pink. February, we're talking about the color blue. So each month it's a different color. You sign up to my newsletter, and then you get an email telling you about those color, plus all my favorite finds on Instagram in that color. And then every Tuesday at 01:00 P.m., I go live on Instagram to take an even deeper dive into that color. We are having so much fun. Instagram is lit. You can go and just scroll and you can catch up to all the colors. It's so much fun.
Allegra Sinclair: So are you Toi Sweeney on instagram?
Toi Sweeney: I am. I'm Toi Sweeney everywhere except for Twitter, which I am sweeney Toi. Don't ask me why. It's a long story.
Allegra Sinclair: Thank you. So they can go get the book. You said get on your email list and then they get the color of monthly email. So how do they get on your email list? Everybody go to. Allegrativity.com/toi. I. Just in case you all got it twisted. It is not T-O-Y it's T-O-I allegrativity.com/toi. And you can find all the show notes, so we'll include a link there for where you get on the email list so you can start getting the color of the month. We have the book. Is there anything else that you wanted to make sure to pour into my audience today that I haven't yet asked you that you want to share?
Toi Sweeney: I just think that we're in a time where we're all seeking wholeness and that's something odd to think about that you can accomplish through your wardrobe. But that is part of it because like we were talking about, it impacts the way that you feel and your mood. So it's very important. So just this is the year that you're going to live well and dress well.
Allegra Sinclair: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here. I know everybody's going to love this episode. Like, again, go to electrativity.com/toi to get the full show notes.
Toi Sweeney: Thank you.
Allegra Sinclair: Toi, you stay right there.
Toi Sweeney: Thank you for having me.
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