"The Image of Leadership" by Sylvie Di Giusto, A Book Review

This week I wanted to review "The Image of Leadership" by Sylvie Di Giusto. After reading and thoroughly enjoying the book I picked out the parts that stood out and what I think will be helpful to you. I attended an event by International Live Events Association at the Glasshouse in New York. The speakers for the evening were Diane DiResta, CSP, Strategist/Executive Speech Coach, author of "Knockout Presentations" and "Give Fear the Finger" and Sylvie Di Giusto, Celebrity Image Consultant and Executive Coach and author of The Image of Leadership. I was inspired by the talks both these amazing women gave and was honored when Sylvie inscribed her book for me. 

Jia Li in the reversible Arabella dress with author Sylvie Di Giusto at Glasshouse in New York

Me with author Sylvie Di Giusto at Glasshouse in New York

Event Organizer Dianne Devitt, Sylvie DiGiusto, Diane DiResta and Jia Li at Glasshouse, New York

Event Organizer Dianne Devitt, Sylvie DiGiusto, Diane DiResta and me at Glasshouse, New York

Diane DiResta in the Erin Reversible dress and Jia Li in the reversible Arabella dress.

Diane DiResta in the Erin Reversible dress and me in the reversible Arabella dress. 

The Image of Leadership by Sylvie Di Giusto is a book that takes a holistic point of view to discuss what constitutes the image of leadership, including not only what you wear, but also your grooming, personal hygiene and friends you surround yourself with. Sylvie Di Giusto argues that it is important to not only make a great first impression, but also to sustained that great impression. And to have a sustained professional imprint, a leader should:

Leaders Look Confident

Confident about your weight, height, body type, age, gender.

"The point of all this is to reiterate the ironclad concept that you dress to make yourself look your very best in every situation. Period. Without confidence, there is no leadership. Because, people don't listen to those who are unsure of themselves." 

Leaders Look Authentic

"There are certain style personalities who work very well for certain industries and professions. The most authentic leaders in the world are consistent in what they wear every day. No matter which signature look they have chosen, it consistently says something about them and the person they are - and about the keyword they have chosen." 

Keywords, such as consistency, are the keys to authenticity.

There are 7 types of style personalities (traditional, elegant, creative, romantic, dramatic, alluring, natural) and based on your profession, you should choose your personality accordingly.

Leaders Look Professional

In a previous article I cited the 5 professional dress code attire levels as outlined by Sylvie Di Giusto. choose the level carefully depending your industry, position and occasion. Be careful what you choose to wear at after-work events.

"A professional image can easily be damaged at after-hour events. I work with female leaders who, when at work, wear the most traditional, classic and conservative pieces, and who arrive for an evening event in inappropriate mini dresses."

Wearing reversible or convertible designs lets you follow the “+1/-1 Rule”. The idea is to always dress +1 up so you're never underprepared or underdressed in a professional setting. If you need to dress down for a casual friday outfit you can go -1 or one level down from your usual business attire.

Using the elegant reversible sleeveless sheath knit Alda dress to dress up one level.

This is a good example of the +1 rule. You can use the Alda reversible dress to dress up one level.

Use the Classic reversible pencil skirt with chevron pattern the Glenda skirt to dress down.

This is an example of -1 level. Use the classic reversible Glenda skirt to dress down.

Leaders Look Respectful

"Leadership is a matter of both showing and earning respect. Dressing appropriately is a matter of respect as well. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for leaders. But there is one thing all leaders have in common: they respect themselves. This means first and foremost that they are willing to invest time and effort into themselves. The truth is, that nearly every business leader I know - male or female - is well dressed and it's never cheap."

We at Jia Collection offer investment pieces that are at a price point comparable to many other contemporary brands but yet give you a lot more options, so you can get the highest return on investment.

"Your professional appearance and attitude is an investment, not a burden. There's an ROI on professional appearance, and anyone who aspires to leadership needs to understand that."

Leaders Look Controlled

"Self-control and self-discipline is a must for leaders. If you can't organize yourself, your ability to have others follow you is very doubtful. Successful leaders are usually highly self-controlled, they have a tremendous sense of organization, inner calm, and resolve."

Take control, not only of what you wear, but also your overall image including your grooming, personal hygiene (hair, teeth, breath, nails, body odor etc) and the friends you surround yourself with. Be prepared for the predictable and unpredictables. 

For the predictable:
There are many things we need to consider when we dress up in the morning such as what's the big picture of the day, with whom will you be interacting, where are you going to meet? Where are you possibly heading to after you have met? What message do you have to deliver today and so forth. If you don't have answers to these questions, you might have to do some research beforehand to get the answers, including researching about the people are going to meet. 

For the unpredictable: 
- Keep a toothbrush/mint in the office in case of bad breath after lunch. 
- Have a hand-held steamer at work in case you need to steam out your outfit.
- Have on hand an extra pair of pantyhose in case your current one gets a run.

By being confident, authentic, respectful and controlled, you will leave a great sustained professional imprint. 

And lastly, leaders lead by example.

"Leaders provide guidance: they motivate and inspire people to take action, most often by their own actions."

"Leaders provide guidance: they motivate and inspire people to take action, most often by their own actions."

I really enjoyed the book and I think it's a valuable tool for professionals who want to dress to impress and for success. Sylvie really captured the essence of how your appearance directly impacts your professional career and the impressions you make on people.

If you want to be different and stand out, you must lead by example, by investing your time, money and energy into your wardrobe and other peripherals of your professional look. And at Jia Collection, we make the wardrobe part lot easier. Check out these articles that will help you put what Sylvie Di Giusto says in her book into practice:

How To Be The Best Dressed PLUS Best Performing

The Ultimate Guide To An Efficient Wardrobe

How to go from Business Chic to Party Ready with One Dress


We really hope you enjoyed reading this article and are on your way to get your own copy of The Image of Leadership. Have a great weekend.



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