PR ON THE GO February 10, 2024

How A Stylist Can Boost Your Personal Branding:

Expert Interview w/ Fashion Stylist, Editor & Brand Consultant Georgia Alexia Benjou

Georgia Alexia Benjou portrait

Expert in interview: Georgia Alexia Benjou

Georgia Alexia Benjou began her 20+ year fashion career as a national buyer and merchandiser in New York City, Milan and Paris for luxury and designer houses, including Hermès, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, and Chanel.

Photographer: Melanie Watson

In search of more creative work, Georgia left The Big Apple in 2002 for the West Coast and decided to make the leap from merchant to editor and stylist – a job move that was unconventional at the time.

In addition to Georgia’s on-model and still life styling expertise for print and film, she also writes about beauty and fashion trends, product roundups, and industry personality interviews. Her clients include award-winning regional publication 5280 Magazine, for which she was the fashion editor, as well as Numéro Russia, Inspirato Magazine, dreamingless, and Design Scene. She has also styled advertising campaigns for The Brown Palace Hotel, Hyde Park Jewelers, Costco, Clairol, Oil of Olay, Glo Cosmetics, and American Crew.

Georgia also consults with emerging designers and brands on collection merchandising and product assortment, as well as reviewing market positioning and pricing strategy. In addition, she has partnered with her sister, Jacqui Argyres, to offer brand strategy consulting services.

Georgia was educated in the USA and UK. She spent her Junior-year at university abroad attending the Ealing College (now Ealing Green College, part of West London College). After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, she worked in the Executive Office of the British Council for 6-months and was asked to extend her visa. She returned to the US to pursue a graduate degree in Art History at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. She has also taken continuing education courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

For PR ON THE GO, Georgia shares her insights for entrepreneurs to discover how a stylist can enhance personal branding efforts. Learn about the process of working with a stylist and the benefits here.

What is the process of defining a style for and with a personality?

I view personal styling as a collaborative partnership, where I leverage my fashion expertise to guide clients on a journey to discover their best unique self while ensuring they are aligned with their company. My process involves translating their brand values and visuals into clothing and accessories, while also considering their personality and work day-to-day. And because no two people’s lives are the same, I tailor the entire process to suit each client's specific needs.

When choosing colors, fabrics, and silhouettes, it’s really a balancing act between a client’s physical appearance and considering their brand identity and values. Though I have no formulaic approach, I ensure my client looks their best by incorporating clothing in their brand colors that flatter them, while reserving those less suitable shades for accessories. Fabric choices prioritize both aesthetics and practicality; for instance, if they meet frequently with executives or investors, if they travel a lot, or if they do public speaking, all of these can shape the fabric choices and styling approach. And finally, silhouettes need to balance a client's physique while aligning with their brand image.

My personal styling process begins with a fitting and review of the client’s closet to decide what colors and silhouettes are flattering on them, as well as what items to purge. Then I create a final moodboard to help define the fashion direction we will be taking. Once that is established, it is time to make a shopping plan and secure pieces for my client; this process includes what wardrobe holes we need to fill and what pieces we need to find quickly to ensure the client’s wardrobe is both stylish and functional.

What are the unique requirements of personal branding for entrepreneurs?

When you are an entrepreneur, you are your brand. That means you need to look like the person who owns the brand any time you are in a professional environment, but also in most social environments (like if you are a member of a charitable organization or on the board of a museum). That’s a tall order, but it is also the reality of owning your own company.

This is where your brand strategy and personal brand really need to unite. If your brand is a cutting-edge scientific skincare company and your product’s packaging and communication style are all very futuristic, but your personal style is LA boho, these two concepts do not align. Entrepreneurs need to think through their brand, its values and its visual imagery and make sure their personal style agrees with all the above.

That’s why I always advise not copying someone else’s personal style just because you like it; part of the process of finding your own unique style is really tapping into who you are and what your brand is about. Also, your clothing should be comfortable and feel natural to you – not like you have put on a costume for the day. For example, if you cannot walk in stiletto heels, but think they look “powerful,” those shoes probably will not work for you long-term; finding a lower heel that still gives you some height and makes you feel elongated like a stiletto is the better option.

Please give us some tips / examples on how entrepreneurs can communicate their values through styling.

Going back to the example above – a cutting-edge scientific skincare company - if the brand colors are a tonal palette of whites, greys, and silver, pick up whichever of those tones are flattering on you in your wardrobe. Likewise, a brand that is futuristic and science-based may have values like precision, linear elements, and sleek packaging, so opting for clothing and accessories with clean lines, strict tailoring, and modernist shapes would channel those brand values.

How can an entrepreneur benefit and boost their personal brand by bringing in a stylist? Please share a success story of yours

Having an expert pair of eyes to guide you on how to define your image, rework your wardrobe, and choose looks for specific occasions all contribute to greater self-confidence and brand identification. In addition, a good stylist will pay close attention to fit and proportion, both of which can be tricky for people, and insist on tailoring a garment when needed (something that will give a wardrobe a custom look). A good stylist will also make sure your accessories are right for the garment and look you want to channel.

One executive I worked with in the past was a Chief Medical Officer for a regionally renowned hospital, who had an extremely busy professional life that included executive meetings all day, plus traveling to give speeches at medical conferences. She had a great figure and loved color, and while dresses were a go-to for her, we needed to build out her separates and knitwear categories, as well as her accessories, to give her professional wardrobe more options, especially when traveling. Working with me not only enabled her to cut down on the time it took to get ready in the morning, but also boosted her confidence and helped her feel more in control of her appearance.

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What are some of your work examples or celebrity examples of great stylist effects?

One of the best examples of a celebrity who is perfectly aligned with their brand is Victoria Beckham. Paraphrasing from her own website, the Victoria Beckham brand blends classic British luxury with a modern and elevated sensibility. The VB brand embraces femininity, while maintaining a meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship.

That recap of the brand is about who she is as a person in many ways (she wasn’t named Posh Spice for nothing). It’s why she always looks polished and chic, but in a fashion-forward way, which is what her brand is about. I also like that she evolves her look and is willing to take fashion risks within reason – again, something in line with her brand. Even her beauty line is built around the kind of elevated, monochromatic looks she favors. It’s all very authentic and tied together.

Are there any trends you've seen in entrepreneurial styling that you'd like to share?

I think two of the most important trends in styling are for video meetings and candid social media posts.

If you are in a video meeting, do pay attention to your neckline and any jewelry you are wearing. Unless you are a master at layering pieces, avoid going overboard with a statement necklace and earrings; choose one major item and play down the other piece. Also, watch wearing items like bangle bracelets; years ago, I interviewed actor John Malkovitch and when I listened back to the recording, all I could hear were my bangles jingling. Finally, if you wear glasses – especially a colorful, heavy frame - a full eye shadow look is not necessary but do a little liner to play up your eyes, because they can get lost behind the frames.

As for social media, people sometimes go to an event thinking it is “off duty,” but it ends up that friends or business acquaintances are there and want to take photos for social media. The bottom line is unless you are going over to a friend’s house and have some control over what gets posted to social media, consider any event a public appearance and be sure to dress on-brand.

Thank you!

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