The moment you step out front (on stage, in Zoom, in that Facebook Live, in your workshop!), you are making an impression. And, even more importantly, our clothes affect how we feel (which affects how we speak)! So – if you want to be a more impactful speaker, you’ve got to be intentional about your clothes! I brought on the show with me LaToya Bell, a style confidence coach who helps entrepreneurs bring more confidence into their business by defining their style and making more aligned choices in their clothing.
What should I wear when I present? What clothes are best for speakers? How do I develop my speaking style? How can I develop my speaking confidence? How can I be a more confident speaker?
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Here you are Latoya, you are all about confidence and in how our image has a lot to do with our confidence.How we feel can make all the difference in how we show up and clothes change, how we feel they feel. So I’m really excited to have this conversation with you, bringing somebody on who, who helps people to step into what they’re really capable of, through their clothes.
LaToya– It’s funny. I’ve been working on launching a style camp and like just I just somebody who were frustrated with their wardrobes, they don’t know how to shop. So I did a vision experience where we talk about building your style vision. When I used my signature talk as the outline, the framework for it.
Ah, well that is really exciting. And I love that your signature talk is helping you step into that, that it’s like top of funnel for you. You are such an entrepreneur, you are such an entrepreneur. I mean, I feel like every day, every time I talk to you, you’re doing some new, you’re creating some new thing and you’re such a go getter.
LaToya- Thank you.
Here you are Latoya, I would love for you to start by telling people how you got to be talking about this, that this is your thing.
LaToya- Sure. So for me, I think people have always like asked me for help with shopping or with their clothes. Right. They’ve typically been the person that’s like, like the coworker I met and was like, can you go shopping with me? I just liked the way you dress or, you know friends who had special events. They’re like, can you just go shopping with me? And they would always go shopping. And I wasn’t asking. A student of what not to wear the TV show with Stacy. Clint. Yeah. Clinton’s yeah. So yeah, I would watch all of those. I was just fascinated with the transformations that would happen just with the conversations around clothing and especially the beginning parts where they’re like, bring your whole closet. And they’re like ripping through the closet. And like, people are like having these reactions, like, but that’s, it’s not just clothing and you can see it. Meaning that people had tied to the pieces. And to me, that part was always so intriguing. And then the part about the style rules. Given, and they wouldn’t talk about how they developed the rules. They would just say, these are your style rules. And, you know, and it was like, okay, but it still was like this idea of a structured way to take all the drama out of shopping and really make it simple and, and create a style that’s authentic to who you really are. So that showed us really intrigued me. How I got here talking about this because I don’t know. My background, my undergrad is in food science. I have another, yeah. So food science is my undergrad. I have another bachelor’s with like ministries and then I have a master’s in human resource development. Right. So it doesn’t really say style coach.
You are amazing. This is what I mean by serial entrepreneur. Oh, it’s just a little bit of everything.
LaToya- I just building my toolkit into me. It makes sense because I use every bit of it in what I do. But the part that really got me was when I Was at a networking meeting and a woman came up to me and said, I need you to help me with my style. And I was like, what do you mean I’m not here to talk about, like, I was not a style coach that was not on my radar. You know, like I said, people had asked me for help, but it wasn’t that I was really like, claiming that as a profession or even a service, you know? And she was like, yeah, yeah, I hear you. But you need to help me with my style. Okay. So I had a meeting with her and I was like, well, tell me more. What do you want to do? And asked her about her goals. She’s a business owner who was just starting out with her. Business and it to look the part and want it to look authoritative, wanting to feel put together. Especially because she was working in the it space where it’s, it was more men, but she still wanted to be able to be herself, but still convey that credibility. And so for her, it was all of those things. And she said, listen, the problem is, is that every time I come shopping and I go in a dressing room, I ended up leaving with nothing and I’m like crying. Hit me in my core and something in me awakened moved me that this is like, I got to help this lady. Like, yeah, like I said, I had gone shopping with people. I had worked retail and clothing even, but something about the way she said that. Let me know this was deeper than the clothes. This was more than picking out an outfit.
This was about identity, purpose. Self-acceptance all of those things were wrapped in that statement. And I was like, oh no, we don’t cry in dressing rooms about clothes. Like you are going to own this, you know, like, cause to me I’m like his clothes they’re neutral. Like we assign meaning to them. But the clothes themselves are neutral. And so, you know, even the size and the tag, I have so many women who are like, I can’t wear that because it’s a size, whatever. And I’m like, just sweetheart when you get home, after you’ve purchased the correctly fitting item, I need you to cut the tag out and forget about it. Right? Whatever number you want in there, it doesn’t matter. But that means so much to some people. And so the fast forward her story, she went from. Being slumped over and really nervous to like in that dressing room. I think we were in there for about two hours and she went to twirling and like just being so excited and standing up taller and she ended up spending a good chunk of cash, you know, and You know, the associates were thankful because they didn’t have to do anything. I sold everything to her. But then what she said to me at the end was the other part of it. And she said, you have to do this. There are other people like me out there that need you. Yeah. And that. Is how the whole thing began. It was that woman randomly, but not randomly kind of coming up to me like you need to help me. And I’m like, okay.
You know, and because I think you are so self possessed in the most beautiful way, you just are, you show up fully and you, you have found the things that help you feel really confident tonight. It’s funny because, You know, the topic of clothing, an image and that stuff. It can, it can, it comes with a lot of baggage for people. Also I think it’s, poo-pooed in some way, like, it’s this it’s superficial. However we got here, we are at a place where, how we feel. Can make all the difference in how we show up and clothes change, how we feel they feel. And I always think about for myself as a, as an actor. Whenever I would be you know, we’d be, we’d be at dress rehearsal. We finally would get to put on our costume and I kind of knew what was coming, but when you put it on and then you put the shoes on and then, you know, you all the accessories, I would, it was only then that I finally understood the character. Then I would be, yeah. Ah, yes. And I, that night then you’re you walk differently. You hold yourself differently. Like it is so powerful and transformative. So I’m really excited to have this conversation with you because it’s not, I’ve talked about it a little bit, but bringing somebody on who, who helps people to step into what they’re really capable of, through their clothes
LaToya- Yes, it is so powerful. And I don’t know if you’re familiar with the term of enclothed cognition, but that’s exactly what you just described when you were talking about understanding the character born. When you put on. The costume, you know, it’s the same thing with , clothing in general , is that, it’s the idea that what you wear does affect your mood? It does affect how you show up you know, which is why I preach so strongly in this virtual world. We live in right now to wear a whole outfit. You know, like some people are trying to do the business on top, PJ’s on the bottom and it’s like, How do you feel, do you feel empowered? Do you feel like you’re your best self? Can you do your best work truly with just that? So that exactly what you said is exactly what Yeah, but it goes with your holiday, you’ve got your whole thing going on. Right. And it’s like, it doesn’t have to be a three piece suit or, you know, like super fancy, but it’s like, do you have on a complete outfit that acknowledges your entire body exists? Even if people are only seeing this part of you. So yeah. You just, you described it so well, I love what you said about. Just that it does help you understand the character more. And you know, because a lot of times I, so a lot of times people stop with the outside in, but then there’s also the inside out part to make sure that the two match. And so that’s where I love to do that work too, around who are you and how do you represent that? And so then when you do build a wardrobe that is based on. Representing your brilliance. Then when he put the things on, you’re going to be that, you know, it’s like, you’re gonna, you’re gonna, you’re gonna embody that, who you are even more so it’s, it’s really powerful clothing. You know, I always say, you know, it’s only clothes to you. Don’t have something to wear and not having something to wear is not about quantity because a lot of us have closets full of nothing. Yeah. And so it’s really about having those intentional choices you’ve made around your style and your work. And it can be a few pieces, but if they’re intentionally chosen and you love when you wear them, then it’s going to make all the difference in how you show up.
Huge. So huge. Okay. So as speakers when we’re showing up with our audiences virtually or not, what we’re wearing kind of fast. How we feel, but it also makes impressions. Right? So we show up as a character there. We’re making a statement snap judgment. So I always think about, like, I think about there’s a speaker. I know who she would wear this like sequined jacket. And it was like, Ooh, I want. Hey, if you love it and you feel like a rock star in it, go for it, but just know that sequence jacket is upstaging. Yeah. And you are going to have to, you’re going to have to be as big as that jacket so that the jacket does not become cause you’ll become the jacket lady. Right. So yes. So just really thinking intentionally that our clothes create this character for us. So I don’t mind being casual cause I want being approachable and making speaking approachable, I think is really important. I’m rationalizing my choice to stay in my workout. It works. It works when, when I’m doing something for a different audience, I’m super aware of their expectations and how I need to show up in that context, in that moment. Yeah. So knowing all that, you know, all this, I’m just kind of laying some context for people. How do you help people define their. Character like their persona, you know, what’s the what’s step one for people. If they’re like, I don’t know. I just kind of wear whatever. Yeah, yeah.
LaToya- For for me it starts with vision, right. And so it’s like who and envision around, like, what do you see about yourself right now? It’s not the casting really far down the road. It’s. What do you see about yourself right now? And really being present to the life season that you’re in right now, the career season you’re in right now the right now body that you have all of those pieces, it’s like really getting present. And as I call it on trend with your. Mm, because so many times we’re following fashion trends or following what the latest influencer is saying to do, or we’re trying to copy somebody else. And we are not aligned from the inside, out around who we are. What’s most important to us. Where does our day take us? Because that’s one of the things I talk about is, okay, what is your schedule? What are the things you’re getting dressed for and how do you want to show up for that almost like creating a uniform for your lifestyle for your career? So, and by uniform, I mean, just having a very simple formula around what are your signature pieces, what are your best colors? You know, what is your body type and what are those things that are gonna, you know, elevate and enhance your best parts and minimize appearance of the things that you’re concerned. But that all starts with vision and, and really just pausing and understanding where you are today and being able to then say based on what I’m seeing, what are the key aspects of my style, right? How do I need to show up? What are the, you know, two or three words to describe how I would. Right as this person that I’m, I am, you know, and you know, and then, you know, because people always talk about dress for the part you want to be, but I think it’s like dress for who you are first, because if you don’t know that it’s really hard to advance to the next thing, even if you’re not feeling so great about your body, you have to embrace where you are right now, or you’ll never come from a whole healthy, loving place of building up. Version of yourself. Right. So, you know, there’s people like, well, I’ll just, I’ll be, I’ll get better clothes when I’m, you know, four sizes smaller or when this happens when, and you’re always waiting to be, and it’s like, just let yourself be right now. And you never know what opportunities will open up from that. Right. But so many times we’re looking ahead, we’re looking ahead or we’re looking around and it’s like, just look right here and see what’s going on with you. So I think that’s an important person.
So when I think about dressing for dressing for the right now, and also dressing for what you want to become this entrepreneurial journey where we’re always in the phase of we’re becoming something else. Right. Because as we take bigger risks and build something new, like in order to pull it off, we be at home. Something else. It’s crazy. Yes. Yeah. That’s right. Yeah. I’ve been to it. Yeah. Hi. We have to step into it. And then we have to bring our clothes with us in a way. And I I’ve been thinking about these, these two things connect to my mind, but I’ve been thinking about right. Steve jobs and what, what. All the time. Every time I always knew what to expect of him, black turtleneck jeans. That was it. And there was some brilliance to the simplicity of that and that, that is outfit his uniform. Right? That’s the word that became its own form. Do you. Is it wise for us, like, cause it’s part of our brand. Yeah. As you say, like cast your vision, what are you becoming do you, do you encourage people to really simplify and show up with just a handful of pieces and be consistent about that? Like I know people who always wear yellow. Yeah. Yeah. And I know like I wear my Jean jacket. All the time, keep every photo of me speaking, I’m wearing the same jacket. I’m like, oh, it turns out I kind of have a thing. I didn’t really realize it, but that’s the thing I feel comfortable in or confident or whatever. So do you recommend that for people?
LaToya- Yeah, I actually do that. I live it, and that’s what I teach is like a style formula. So that you can. Quite simply for whatever the occasions of your life are. And to me, I always, I like them as much as you can align your brand and your lifestyle, it makes it easier to take like pictures or to show up places. Because then if you’re just hanging out at the lake and you’re taking you take a picture, it can become repurposed, you know, for your social media feeds or whatever. And, and so there’s not this disconnect where you have to be somebody else at all the different places you can just be you. And then how do you manifest that person who you are in those different situations, but, you know, so color is a big thing. I am known for my big necklaces. Like one time I went somewhere and I just, it was a very informal zoom meeting, but The person I was talking to, she noticed I didn’t have a necklace on what had taken it off because I was like, well, we’re just, you know, we’re just, it was very sold. It was more of a social conversation than anything. And I was just like, you know, I’m just going to take this off. Cause it was heavy. And I was like, ready to take it off. She’s like, where’s your necklace? And I’m like, I’m chilling like pajama mode right now. Like it’s time for the necklace to come off, but she recognized, she goes, that is you. That is signature to you. I need to see the necklace, you know, like that’s just something, you know, so everybody, when you are able to find those, those signature elements, as I call them, they’re really helpful to creating a uniform. My denim jacket. Is my BFF, you know I’ve found that my style in particular is pretty monochromatic where I typically will do like a simple top, a pop of color or like a jacket or an over peas. And then. Like a black bottom or jeans sometimes. And then it’s because it’s all about my accessories, right? So for me, I don’t need things that are going to steal the show going on all around me because I’m typically wearing something pretty massive. And this one’s pretty small today compared to what I usually wear. So you know, so it’s, it’s that idea of what it is. What is you, what’s comfortable for you in your lifestyle. You know, I can pop this off and instantly be casual and ready for my day to do other things. But it’s still, again, if I happen to take photos or I happened to go somewhere, it wouldn’t be that I’m unrecognizable, because I feel like sometimes people will show up one way on social media, especially. And then when you see them out and about it’s like who, who is that? You know? And so just that alignment and that authenticity. Can come through something as simple as a uniform. So I mean that signature consistent piece, you keep bringing up front. I love that.
How do you know when it’s time to evolve? How do you know when it’s time to, you know, like you’ve been doing a thing, you found your consistent thing and you just you’re hanging on to it. So tightly it’s like, yeah. We all change trends change. I don’t want to be completely outdated and aware.
LaToya- Yeah. I one, it’s the idea of staying on trend with yourself and recognizing if you’ve had a season change in your life. Not even weather changes, but a life like a significant change, whether it’s been a career shift, like you’ve gotten a new position or you are leaving a new leaving something old, you know, like you’ve literally changed roles. Family lifestyle makes a huge difference in how you show up. And what makes sense for you in your season? Body weight changes like anything that even like major celebrations, accomplishments typically are clues that there’s a season change life season change on the forefront. You know, getting married, you know, you know, getting divorced, there are different things. Like I have, I have several clients it’s like, well, I just got divorced. I need to find myself. Or I’m an empty nester. And I need to know who I am now. Now that I’m out of mom. You know, or child rearing mode, I’m still bombed, but I, I need to be a different mom now, you know? And so those life season changes are big clues. And then the other clue is, are you wearing, what are you wearing? Because if it turns out this is a little trick, I’ve seen it online and I’ve tried it. Where you turn your hangers around in your closet and then you, so that they’re facing, like, if this is the bar they’re facing this way. Yeah. And then it’s like, when you wear it, turn it the proper way. And then see, after six months to a year, And in Minnesota, I would say 18 months. Cause you know, our weather’s crazy. Totally that it’s see which ones you’ve actually worn. Right. And even in this pandemic lifestyle we’ve been living, but I know for myself, the challenge I found was that things I would have worn just don’t make sense right now. And so I have like the pile. Of clothes that I actually wear, the stuff that keeps going through the laundry, that’s what I’m wearing. Right. The stuff that has not even hit the laundry and it’s still hanging somewhere or sitting somewhere or fold it up somewhere and a tote, you know, I have to think about that. It’s like, okay, well, Post pandemic. Is this going to be a part of it or not? So it’s a different lens, even, especially when it’s like a forced season change, you know? So those are some different codes that concept, you know, when.
I asked you partly cause I was like, you know, I’ve started to feel a little bit like maybe it’s time, Sally, to quit wearing the same Jean jacket again and again. So it was a very selfish question, but I love this idea of marking the changes, the growth in your life, the evolutions happening in your life by looking really looking at okay. Does what I’m wearing, reflect who I am now. Yeah, versus who I was a year ago, a year and a half ago, you know and giving yourself permission to change.
LaToya- Yes. Oh yes, yes, yes. I permission. And you feel so much better. I also find I get bored with things too, you know, so it’s like, I don’t want to do that anymore. You know? Like one season, I was all about burgundy and maybe blue and silver. Like that was my whole pallet. And I was proud of, and then I was like, you know, you’re saying every time I spoke somewhere I had on a burgundy, something, it was either burgundy, blazer, a burgundy over piece, a burgundy shirt. And it was just like, great. Like I said, consistency in all my pictures. I got tired of burgundy. So then I was like, okay, well, what are you going to do now? So then I switched to green, you know, but it was just that idea of just being aware, you know, is it just a little boredom? And that’s okay. It’s okay. It’s telling you it’s time to switch up. So,
Oh my God. Okay. Let’s say, I feel like this is, this is really important, powerful stuff, and it, you know, we’re talking about clothes, but we’re, but we’re also talking about just reflecting who we are. Accurately the world, how we’re feeling, where we’re at the experience we want to create with our audience. Like it, it’s not just clothes. I try it. One of my kids is super not into clothes or fashion, and I’m always like, you’re underestimated. What your CA you’re still communicating something by not caring. You’re communicating something about who you are. So, and that’s fine too, but, but don’t be fooled because you are communicating something we are. So being aware of that is one of our jobs. I think, as speakers. So I’m so grateful that you’re here Latoya. Now, before we go, let’s really quickly do this move to me moment. Okay. Something has moved. You recently can be about anything. Of course. But because I think it’s so important for us to continue to be in tune, like what is moving and how can we communicate that with our peers?
LaToya- Yeah. So I love that you asked this question. So the other day I was walking and I have this beautiful trail near me, and it’s known for the various types of birds that are there. So like a lot of people who like to bird watch will be there, you know, just observing and things. And I walk with one earbud in, so I can still hear the bike. That are like on your left. I can’t hear anything with my ear. Bugs are really, really good. And so this also allowed me though to hear the birds and they are just chirping and, you know, just, it was loud, but I was like, that is so beautiful. And. What it, what I realized is while I was appreciating our beauty and it was a blessing to me, they weren’t, they’re like, Hey, let’s come And let’s bless her with our sound. But what they were doing was simply living out their purpose and they were simply communicating to each other, but I got to be the benefactor of this moment. These birds that are just like chitter chatting back and forth, just chit chatting, you know, maybe they were singing. Maybe they were talking to each other. I don’t know. Cause I don’t speak bird, but what did speak to me and move me about that was the fact that. Just the power of us being, you never know the impact you’re having on someone. I think about all the times people have sent me messages or when I’ve talked to them, like, I just need to know you. Like, I literally have people messaging me, asking for time to just talk. Like I see you online. I hear you speaking. I always feel better when, when, when you’re talking or when you’re sharing what you’re doing and it’s that it’s so humbling to me. That’s what’s happening. It’s like, as I sing my life song, as I’m doing my purpose, that I have the ability to bless people that I don’t even know or don’t even realize are watching, you know, it’s like, I’m just over here and doing this and all of a sudden this is happening for this person. And so I think it’s. Takeaway also never underestimate the power of your presence and just being you because it stands out it people notice and the ones that. Are call to you. They will respond even in ways that you may not have intended or expected, but if you’re just out there VNU it’ll work and you don’t have to try and put on this other identity or other concept of what people think you should be, because then you’re just an echo. But what is your authentic sound and how do you have that authentic sound that draws people in. Yes. Love that. Oh my God. That’s that’s what moved me was my little walk on the trail with the birds. Yeah. Seeing what’s what is happening around you and experiencing that.
I love it so much and it’s actually a great prelude into my, this moved me moment. Kind of the exact opposite, which is that I read the article that came out maybe last week from Adam Grant. And it was about it was coining the, the word or the, the idea of how many of us are feeling right now. And so he, he coined the word language. You know, it’s not a brand new word, but he was like that feeling where you’re lacking momentum. You’re, you’re not depressed really, but you’re just not energized. We’re not accessing joy. Just really, for me, like when I cannot access joy, it was like, oh, I’m getting nothing done. And I just. Languishing. It was a perfect word for it. And I was sitting in that space and I sat on the phone with my sister-in-law and she was like, I am languishing. I’m like, I am languishing. My husband’s like I’m languishing. I’m like, oh, we’re languishing. And then I remembered this video. It’s on YouTube from Rob bell called an introduction to joy. And it is. It’s phenomenal. It’s a great piece. It’s a masterclass in speaking. I mean, Rob, Bell’s an incredible speaker. He makes it look so easy and conversational and there’s so much flow to it, but he and he’s super not overt with his structure. Like I tend to be, I like an overt structure and he just he’s got structure in there, but he. It’s embedded. So delightfully and all these little moments. And the whole idea with this introduction to joy was to do exactly what you just did, Latoya, which was to what he calls. He’s like lower the bar a little bit, like instead of being like, I need this, like where is the joy? He’s like the joy is it’s all around us. If we can lower the bar enough, like take out one earbud from them, you have a cycle that’s just like, oh God, you know, and be really present. Just notice to notice the magical, hilarious, delightful, joyful things happening all the time. So watching that, I was reminded that I need to do. What you just did in that moment to be really present and pay attention and notice the delightful things. And that when I don’t, it’s it’s costly. Like I can go numb and the world right now, it’s, it’s been an invitation to just number so real, so real. So what I love that. I love the combination there that if you’re languishing right now, if you are struggling to feel really enjoyed to me is, is the full experience of, of being human it’s, you know, and I want, I want the full spectrum. I want the full spectrum and I was just like, yeah. So watch an introduction to joy with Rob bell and then be on the lookout for the Birdsong. Absolutely. Oh, well Latonya. Where can people find out more about you? Because you are such a delight. You’re your warmth, your smile, just like gob smacks me all the time. I’m like, And you, you are just doing beautiful, important work to help people shine brighter. I want you to know that, so, and people are going to want to follow up with you. So where can they go?
LaToya- Sure. So on Instagram, it’s at brilliant chic image and then my website is www.brilliantchic.com. So Chi is chic. Yeah. I love it. Brilliant chic.
Well, you’re the best. Thank you for coming. Thanks for hanging with me again today. Yeah, it was so much fun. Thank you for having me of course. And just excited for you. Keep it going, keep it growing your best.