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How to develop a PERSONAL STYLE: Advice from Tony Blair’s style advisor!

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Since I was a wee lad clothes have been an integral part of my life. When I was about five years old my parents bought me an exquisite military-style camel-hair overcoat. They made sure that it was matched perfectly with an over-sized Tam O’ Shanter-styled cap. In addition, my shoes, haircut, scarf and socks were all carefully thought out for me. We lived in the heart of London’s East End, so the locals, who were more used to admiring the attire of the Pearly Kings and Queens, must have thought me a sight for sore eyes as I promenaded like a very young Beau Brummell.


Those early days were to inform my life-long relationship with clothes, style and image. I wasn’t old enough to understand how all these seemingly small details, from socks to haircut, choice of fabrics, to the hue of a colour, had been embedded within my subconscious.

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So choosing clothes for my wife, a client, or me became as much a science as it did an art. In my vast retail experience, I found that many businessmen would shy away from spending quality time on their appearance, specifically, their clothes. That kind of chap was my favourite type of customer. I knew how he felt. For a lot of men and women, their less-than-happy relationship with their appearance is often a symptom of conditioning, poor self-image or thinking they just don’t have any taste.

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We all have taste; it’s an innate part of who we are. Often, it only emerges when we’re helping somebody else choose a clothing item, or when we’re selecting a decorative piece for our home. It’s as if our ‘Style Gene’ only kicks in when it’s not about us personally. To develop taste and a ‘good eye’ for what suits you, begin by focusing on the details. Start with the three F’s as your guide: Feel. Fit. Flatter. You will be clearer about what to select and what to reject when it comes to choosing any form of apparel. Be super aware of purchasing clothing items that focus solely on fashion. “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” – Coco Chanel

Malcolm Levene: The Original Personal Branding Expert


By discovering your Personal Style, who you are on the inside will begin to reveal itself on the outside. There’s a kind of completeness we experience when we feel good about the way we look. It’s a great self esteem booster and a way of signalling to others that we have a healthy self-confidence and like who we are.

Your Personal Style is a visual representation of your Inner and Outer Brands. It’s something that will remain with you for a very long time. I think this quote says it all, “Style, neurologically, is the deepest part of one’s being, and may be preserved almost to the last, even in dementia.” – Oliver Saks

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Here are a few pointers on how to develop your Personal Style:

  • You’re Unique – don’t try to be a copy of someone else
    -Trust your instincts when it comes to making choices about where/how to shop, but do some research in advance
  • Spend quality time developing your Personal Style – this is mission You. So ensure you have the time and mental space to shop properly
    -You have 10-seconds to make a positive impression – make sure you look the part
  • Choose colours that complement your personality, hair colour, skin tone and existing wardrobe. A good way to do that is to have a wardrobe clear out, so you can see what you actually do wear, not what you have

Malcolm Levene teaches business leaders and political figures how to improve their communication skills and develop positive personal brand values. Malcolm’s client list has included Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell, Michael Marks CBE, and Michael Gove. In a previous business life, Malcolm owned and ran the Malcolm Levene retail fashion business in London’s West End. His retail experience enables him to understand and to explain the supreme relevance of the customer experience and how important it is for an organisation for it to earn long-term loyalty and trust.
Malcolm has created the Power of One: Personal Development for Business Success programme as a response to the business-world’s quest for something different. Power of One is designed to spark and to fuel change – real, sustainable, measurable change. The goal is to enable people to be the best, most effective person they can be. He can be reached at malcolm@malcolmlevene.com

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