A good looking style guide does not result in a good looking team

When it comes to developing style guidance, it’s an easy choice to delegate to your marketing team. After all, they’re familiar with your branding guidance, the standards for how you want aspects of your brand to appear, and how you want your organization to be portrayed.

Problem solved, they will scour Pinterest, put together a visually appealing guide and your teams will show up perfectly aligned to your brand in clothes that flatter them.

Not so fast…

The problem when marketing, copy writers and anyone who isn’t a stylist prepares a dress code or style guide, they’re more concerned about creating the perfectly branded guide than they are about providing concrete style guidance that people can actually use.

Here is some “guidance” from actual style guides written by people other than stylists:

  • Wear shoes that will elevate your look, heels or shoes with color are encouraged.
  • Hair and Make-up should be polished and professional
  • Smart and Trendy
  • Jewelry should be understated (with no explanation as to what understated means)
  • Updated with an accessible glamour that is very much of this moment

With those items above, are you clear on what is meant and what to wear? Does it clarify things for you?

Probably not, the language is vague, flowery, uses buzzwords, and without specific guidance.

These are pretty words, and they were accompanied by very pretty pictures from Pinterest with no tangible style guidance.

Which results in a confused team who will either ignore the guidance, attempt the guidance with mixed results or copy the guidance to the T and wear things in a predictable repetitive way with no insight on how to adapt it for themselves.

In other words -not what you want.

(Watch this video to learn more about what will happen when you only advise your teams what to wear)

The problem is while marketing can put together the branded guide, flowery language and pretty pictures, they aren’t stylists.

So the guide will lack substance, concrete examples, variety – because it will be biased to the preferences of the marketing teams’ body types and styles, and will likely miss key guidance on how to wear items, how to pair them together, what to look for when creating a flattering outfit.

If the guidance does not  help people style themselves, help them see what is possible, does not include a variety of size and body type examples, it loses all potential value and will be ignored.

Instead consider treating your teams like the resource they are an invest in them. Hire a stylist to teach them how to style themselves, give them the knowledge and tools they need to style themselves – successfully – so they’re empowered each day to dress their best for themselves and their role at your organization.

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