Blend In Or Stand Out
by Linda Potgieter
Airports are one of the reasons I don’t need fashion magazines, fashion TV or fashion fad news!
In a world where we can cross oceans in a matter of hours, crossing countries and cultures as we fly, airports are my very own personal runway.
One of my favorite things to do is…
take my front row seat (why not play the VIP Trend Director in my head while I’m at it?!) at a restaurant, coffee shop or champagne bar. The time of day will determine whether I do that with coffee or champagne in hand as I settle in for my show. And then I watch the beautiful women and frequently well-dressed walking past me, inspiring me with ideas and a fresh passion for fashion.
I was in the middle of a video message to my beautiful friend, Marsha, at Dulles Airport in DC when I flipped the camera around to show her what I was seeing! Come on, how confident would YOU be teaming this much orange with this much yellow? That takes courage in the style stakes, friend! And look how gorgeous it is! So thanks to the stunning ‘Jeanskay’ Instagram blogger who serves and inspires her 50+ audience, we learn first hand how it’s done. And unlike the catwalk at a fashion show, when you see something you like you can stop the model, compliment her and find out where she got it!
This leads me to ask you a question: how do you dress when you travel. I know you’re not the mama in the tacky tracky, no make-up, and messy bun, right?? (Nothing wrong with those occasional days at home now and then, mind you, as long as that’s not how you regularly receive your husband.) So back to the airport. What do you wear? Have you invested time and effort in learning a few style skills that will make you look good and feel comfortable at the same time? Even for someone like me with a lifelong passion for fashion, I invest regular effort mixing & matching items and shopping my closet to find cute but comfy outfits that will see me through long-haul international flights. We’re not born with style. Style is born from a love of color, creativity, and expression and that, in turn, produces the commitment to invest the time to learn. No different to loving and learning the piano.
Again, back to the airport. I see 3 kinds of women. First, sadly, we have the messy bun in a tacky tracky. In fact, I am seeing more PAJAMA PANTS at the airport today than ever before!!! What the..? Come on, people – you can change into your PJs at home! Wearing them out simply diminishes your influence in this visually strong world we live in.
Second, we have that gorgeous, well dressed, stylish woman who looks divine and we can’t quite pinpoint what it is that sets her so boldly apart from the rest of the crowd…she just has her look totally nailed and she walks with confidence.
And third is the woman who is somewhere in-between and therefore blends in and fades away.
I want to encourage you to be the second kind. And here are 2 reasons why you should dress up and stand out in any crowd:
- You are an Ambassador of your faith, your family, and your business, and you are in the fashion business whether you like it or not. So you may as well put your best foot forward. If you’re a Full Time Mom, that presidential position ought to be dressed appropriately. Smartly, stylishly, putting your own personal stamp on it. Think about who you have in your home – a future doctor, a teacher, a dancer, a singer, a president or a preacher. That says a whole lot about the importance of our role as Mom. But whether you are single, in business, in the corporate world or somewhere in-between, you are a walking billboard and you only get one shot at representing your brand.
- But here’s an even better reason to stand out: When you wear something eye-catching, it gives you the opportunity to smile and catch someone’s eye, to connect and start a conversation, to launch more edification into this hurting world. You get the opportunity to be kind and complimentary to someone who may be going through a serious trial right now. You just don’t know what’s going on in someone’s heart.
So next time you travel, friend, whatever you do, don’t blend in. Because when you are noticed for dressing well, your connection and kindness toward that person are what life is all about. Not only do you get to lift up someone who needs it, but dressing well gets you treated with more respect and often times, gets you upgraded on your journey!
Linda is a wife and mother, and Partner & Director of JPA Ltd, a global negotiation training firm headquartered in London. She is also Founder of LindaPaige, a fashion brand that empowers women to be a bold light on a hill in this world. Born and raised in South Africa, she currently lives in the UK with her husband and 2 children.
Linda started working at age 17 and spent most of her career in the corporate arena, often the youngest on the team enjoying powerful on the job training, learning from ambitious, accomplished executives what the marketplace wants.
Linda had the immense privilege of serving on former President Nelson Mandela’s PR team in 1998. As the final member of a team of 5, Linda and her colleagues organized the Vulindlela Water Supply Scheme in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, on Human Rights Day in March 1998. Awarded along with her team members for her performance in this role, she cites this experience as one of her distinct career highlights, referencing Nelson Mandela as her leadership standard in life, and continues her involvement today in fighting oppression and injustice.
After relocating to the UK in 2002, Linda won a national sales award in January 2006 from the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (UK) (ISMM) for ‘Best New Sales Professional in Britain’. She is passionate about sales and loves working with people, a combination that opened up fantastic career opportunities for her across geographical and cultural boundaries, working on negotiation training projects with some of the worlds largest brands such as Adidas, Network Rail, EON, Mercer, Nestle, Pfizer, Nokia, and Vodafone. Her clients cite her training style as “…highly motivational, passionate and performance impacting”.
Linda is extremely dedicated to her own personal growth and attends regular leadership training in the USA which she cites as life-changing. On a personal note, she is an adrenaline junkie continuing her pursuit of the next thrill in adventure sports, she loves travelling the world exploring good food, good wine and when there are gaps, she is home socializing with her family and friends.