4 Steps To Help Executives Create A Time-Saving Style Strategy

This blog post is an adaptation of "Four Steps To Help Women Executives Create An Effective, Time-Saving Style Strategy,” an original article first published by Forbes.com on July 31, 2019. The original article has been modified to include men by its original author for the A23 Advisors blog.


A smart wardrobe strategy is both efficient and flexible. Having such a style strategy in place can allow you to move quickly and easily through the “getting dressed” part of your morning to other more lucrative activities like building your high-performing team, product innovation, global expansion, etc. Why spend time deciding what to wear and how to accessorize when there's a world out there to dominate?

Here are four steps to creating an effective and time-saving executive style strategy:

1. Choose Your Color Palette

What colors do you feel confident in? Make these colors your guideposts as you create your personal palette. This can make getting dressed much easier because everything will go with everything. Here’s how to do it:

  • List your two favorite staple colors. These should ideally be colors that highlight your features like your eyes, hair and skin.

  • List your two favorite neutral colors. These are colors in shades of white, black, gray or brown.

  • Decide on a fifth color. This color is to your wardrobe what an accent wall is to your home. It doesn’t have to be bold, but it often is. This is your opportunity to have a little fun. Interested in fuschia? This is a great spot for it. 

  • Now tweak your palette as needed. If you have red and green on your list (which can remind people of Christmas), choose the color you feel more confident in, and replace the other with a different color. If you love black, avoid orange (Halloween colors) and yellow (the colors of a bee), or consider replacing black with gray or beige.

Once you make your adjustments, everything you buy should ideally be part of your palette. Some example palettes include: 

2. Select Your Go-To Fabrics

Carefully selecting your preferred fabrics can help narrow options when you're getting dressed or packing for a business trip. Consider these qualities, and choose three fabrics that tick all the boxes:

  • Comfortable

  • Easy to care for (even if it means dropping it off at the dry cleaner)

  • Simple to clean or hide a stain if a spill happens while you're wearing it

  • Suits your availability for ironing at home or on a trip

  • Wears well, with few wrinkles after sitting down for a two-hour meeting or flight

  • Has a high-quality look and feel

As a shortcut, go straight to cashmere, wool gabardine, washable silk and natural-fiber woven denim. Texture diversifies any wardrobe and choosing sustainably sourced and manufactured fabrics is essential to the health of our planet.

3. Own Your Signature Style

Having a signature item can save you time by eliminating choices from morning wardrobe decisions.  What’s your "thing”? Why not have two? Here are some ideas:

  • Iconic glasses

  • Patent leather sneakers

  • Jeans, every day and every way

  • Dive watch

  • Hoops (in your ears or in your nose)

  • Platinum hair

  • Any brand signifier like Tod’s loafers, a Gucci belt, or layers of Swarovski crystal necklaces

Whatever your signature items are, make fit your priority. If the fit is a little off, take it to a tailor.

4. Create A Series Of Outfit Equations

One of the best strategies for quickly putting together outfits that help you express your authentic leader is having a series of equations to draw on for every situation, season and style.

What are your go-to outfit combinations now? Here are some examples of equations you could use:

  • Trousers + jacket + T-shirt + signature item + sneakers

  • Trousers + button-down shirt + V-neck sweater + signature item + dress shoes

  • Dress + jacket + signature item + heels

  • Suit + signature item + dress shoes

The key to switching up an equation is the pieces themselves. A jacket means your choice of a blazer, a duster or a cardigan. A T-shirt could mean a silk T-shirt or a T-shirt from a rock concert. Dress shoes (men) or flats (women) can be ballet flats, loafers, suede booties, whatever. Trousers could also include jeans. A suit could be a tuxedo, pantsuit or skirt suit.

Creating a personalized executive style strategy can shine a flattering light on the exceptional leader that you are and add a little more time to your day. Request a personal branding and executive visibility consultation now.