When planning your business finances, what do you have in your budget?
Accountant fees, insurance, training courses, professional memberships.
You’ve probably also got costs for your website, a graphic designer, a copywriter, and your business cards in there as well.
But what about your image? How much do you intend to spend to ensure that you present yourself – and by extension your business – in the very best way?
In my last blog , I explained the importance of your personal brand, and why you need to invest in it. However, as with any business expense, you expect a good return on investment.
Read on to discover how to design your perfect style budget…
STEP ONE: Get Clear On Your Intentions
The first thing you need to consider when creating a style budget is what your objective is. Are you looking to upgrade your look? Completely re-invent your image? Switch up your wardrobe, so that it feels a little bit more “you”?
If you’re still unclear about your personal style and the messages you want to present to the world, setting a budget and going shopping will be very difficult – and you’re likely to make expensive mistakes.
Start by understanding what kind of things you want to achieve in your life and your business (my blog HERE will help you with this), and then create a vision board to get really clear about the look you’re going for.
STEP TWO: Set A Budget
When you work with me, we always set an approximate style budget before hitting the shops. It helps my clients to plan (and save up, if necessary) and it makes it easier for me to choose the right stores and items. (Always wondered what it’s like to work with a style coach? Find out everything you need to know HERE.)
Once you’ve figured out your budget, it’s best to work backwards. Set an amount that seems comfortable spending and break it down to the individual items from there.
No matter your style or lifestyle, it’s always important to invest in good quality basics. Everyone needs great foundations to build the rest of their “seasonal” or more fashionable looks on. A “capsule wardrobe” may seem like an unattainable mythical goal that only exists on Pinterest, but creating a wardrobe with a strong basic core will help you to forever banish those “I have nothing to wear” days.
If you followed Step One, you’ll already have decided your purpose. I’d just like to add a note here on “quick fix” vs “style upgrade”. In my opinion, if you’re looking for a fast seasonal hit to jazz up your wardrobe, keep your spend low, as you’re not likely to be wearing the items a year or even a few months from now. However, if you’re ready to upgrade your style for good, then this is the time to splurge, as a little investment goes a long way!
Therefore, set aside a bigger part of your budget for the basics, such as a nice pair of jeans, a white blouse, a plain colored blazer, pretty pumps, or a trench coat, for example. On the other hand, if you are hunting for pieces which are more “trend” based, keep the cost low by shopping for them on the high street.
Always take into consideration what you already have. There’s no need to buy a new trench coat if you already have one. A little accessory, new belt, or even a small alteration can help old items become new friends.
Don’t be stingy - you deserve to invest in yourself! Believe me, it’s worth spending a little more on quality clothes and accessories that will serve you for a long time. Consider cost-per-wear as much as the initial outlay when buying classics. A well-made item that you wear regularly for years will cost you less in the long run than replacing a cheaper version every twelve months.
STEP THREE: Plan Your Shopping
Once you have set a budget for your shopping trip, you need to decide on the end result you’re looking for. What do you want to have accomplished? A whole new wardrobe? A refresh of your seasonal items? A whole new outfit for a special occasion? Once you get clear on this, you’ll be able to do the maths. For example, if you want an outfit to wear to networking events, take into account all of the possible pieces (accessories, shoes, handbag) that you already have, and build your outfit around that and figure out how that fits in with your budget.
Planning is key when it comes to shopping because if you don't know what you're looking for, you always end up buying things that you don't need – or just giving up and finding yourself in a coffee shop eating a big piece of cake out of frustration!
Writing a shopping list helps you to stay focused on your objectives. Treat it just as you would a grocery shopping list - go through your wardrobe, your summer clothes, or just your accessories, and decide what you need before hitting the shops. No more impulsive shopping!
I consider two things when choosing stores: style and budget. Different brands represent different styles and also determine the price range. Generally, I’m a sucker for good quality even when the brand isn’t well known (in Italy there are a lot of artisans who produce amazing things that aren’t branded like big names, but are often much better quality).
Once you have a list, the next step is to decide which brands work for your style and your budget. I like to list them as well so that I also plan out my shopping trip. Personally, I hardly ever go to shopping centers. Milan is full of amazing stores, so I try to take into consideration where the stores are located, i.e. the city center or fashion district, and plan out the actual route.
I usually have a look at the stores online before actually going to them, to make sure I’m not wasting my time. When it comes to clients, I also like to call in on the stores before our shopping day because they always have more things in the physical store than online. However, the online check gives me an idea of the actual collection already and whether it is worth my time visiting the store in person.
If you’ve ever seen any of my Facebook live broadcasts, you’ll know that I’m a believer in the Law of Attraction (and if you’ve not seen them but want to check them out, you can find all of the details HERE. Working through all of the steps so far should have given you a pretty good idea of the pieces you’ll be looking for on your shopping trip. It’s at this point that I like to give it up to the Universe, stating exactly what I want and declaring that I’m going to find it. Now, I know this isn’t for everyone, and it’s not an essential part of the shopping process, however, I find that it works for me about 99% of the time, so I just had to share it with you!!
STEP FOUR: Focus On The Whole Picture
When it comes to your personal brand, I’m not just talking about your clothes and outfits. Make sure you include enough in your budget to cover things such as regular appointments for your hair (cut and color!), manicures, eyebrows, spray tans, and any other treatments you need to keep you looking and feeling your very best.
STEP FIVE: Call In The Professionals
When it comes to your taxes, website design or legal contracts, you get in the professionals. This is because they know what they’re doing and, while there may be some cost involved, they save you money in the long run.
When it comes to your image, the rules are exactly the same. Sure, you can bootstrap for a while – read magazines and articles on the internet, and watch YouTube styling videos. But if you’re serious about making the right impression in order to hit that six-figure income, or whatever your goal is, then perhaps it’s time to get some help. After all, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got – not to mention if you’re planning on spending several hundred dollars/Euros/pounds on a new handbag or coat, you need to know it’s the right one for you!
Most department stores offer a personal styling service, or, if you’re looking for someone a bit more impartial, there are many stylists whom you can hire for an afternoon or day of shopping.
Alternatively, you can engage a Style Coach, who will help you to work through any stories you have built up around what you can and can’t wear, and really get to the root of what is preventing you from living your very best life as the very best version of you.
I’m currently not taking on new private clients but if you are ready to start your style journey and want to learn about how you can align your style with who you are, download my FREE Chic Sheet and join the tribe of women who already unlocked their soul-aligned style.
Veronika Nemeth is the Founder and Creative Director of The Stylish Female Society. She is a seasoned Image Consultant, Personal Branding Expert and Transformational (Life)Style Coach helping heart-centered women to find their soul-aligned style and create a magnetic presence online & offline by uncovering their true essence and revealing their inner beauty through their style.
Her mission is to inspire women to step into their power, live their own truth and shine their authentic light through being the best version of them.