Power Dressing in self-portrait
We spoke to Hong Kong entrepreneurs Anna Wong and Ines Gafsi about dressing for success
London-based label SELF-PORTRAIT has quickly become a favourite among women on the go, who especially like its signature dresses; according to founder Han Chong, the affordable luxury brand’s secret is that it creates clothing for “real women, living real lives”.
So, in that spirit, we spoke to two entrepreneurial women — Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide co-founders Anna Wong and Ines Gafsi, whose platform supports businesswomen around the world — about their sartorial styles and how they dress for success.
What does dressing for success mean to you?
Wong: When you look great you feel good, and that helps you perform better. You also need to dress for the occasion and know your audience. I choose better-quality fabrics to show that I value quality and set high standards for myself and the company. Every time we dress, we’re asserting a part of ourselves.
Gafsi: It’s wearing clothes that make you feel confident, so you’re able to do what you need. If you’re doing a sales pitch, you’ll be more successful if you’re feeling more confident. If you’re going to be in front of a large audience, you need to wear something that will make you feel like an elevated version of yourself. It’s important for entrepreneurs to have a strong personal brand, and that is in part conveyed in how you dress. I’m more of a classic dresser, so I like to go for a monochromatic outfit. In Europe, you wear a lot of black in the work environment but in Asia, I find colour to be more effective.
How do you balance the demands of entrepreneurship with personal style so that you're ready to meet a wide range of people?
Wong: I try to align my personal style with the company brand image. I want to position FEW as a modern and inspiring platform for women who are stylish, confident, independent, passionate and successful, so I wear clothes and accessories that show those personality traits. Style is an expression of who we are and what we do.
Gafsi: Being an entrepreneur is a 24-7 job, and even relaxed outfits need to be businesslike. It’s also in my personality to be more dressed up. I really struggle to wear things like denim to work, for example. There are a lot of designers with workwear collections that incorporate more playful, relaxed designs while still looking formal.
What advice would you give to younger women who want to dress for success, but on a start-up budget?
Wong: I suggest investing in a few high-quality and durable items. Sometimes I do think that if you buy cheap, you buy twice.
Gafsi: Invest in one or two statement pieces that you can wear for big occasions. For the rest of the time, keep a classic capsule wardrobe. These pieces will be timeless, and they don’t need to be very expensive.
What are your go-to items of clothing that make you feel confident and empowered?
Wong: I don’t have particular go-to items because I like to have variety. But I tend to wear silk clothes, and high heels are important for me!
Gafsi: I have some dresses that I’ve worn for years because they’re easy — they’re monochromatic and they fit me well.
Passionate and powerful? We don’t need to tell you you’re Red. Check out our red curation and unveil a portrait of your inner world.