Episode #77: Creating A Signature Style That Reflects Your Brand with Katie Allen

Mar 30, 2022
Limitless Entrepreneur Podcast Episode 77 Creating A Signature Style That Reflects Your Brand with Katie Allen

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This week's guest is Katie Allen, a 90’s hip-hop-loving, lipstick-obsessed personal stylist who teaches women how to master their mood & energy through style. She believes that our clothes provide an opportunity to choose a feeling and manifest whatever we want- whether that's more fun, more connection, or more abundance, and she is sharing some of the key insights she works with her clients on. If you're not already thinking about your personal style as an extension of your brand, you need to listen to this episode.


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Read the full transcript:

Nicole Laino 

Hello and welcome to the Limitless Entrepreneur Podcast. I'm your host, Nicole Laino. And I am here with a special guest today. I'm really excited about this because we haven't had a conversation like this one on the show before. So I'm super excited to welcome Katie Allen. To the show. Katie is a 90s hip hop loving lipstick obsessed personal stylist who teaches women how to master their mood, and energy through style. And I'm looking at your lipstick. I was like, the first thing that I noticed about you when you popped on the screen was you have this bright purple lipstick on. And I'm like, that's like it's a choice. It's something that says something about you. So right away, I was kind of taken with that. So Katie, introduce yourself to the audience. What did I miss in that intro? I know I just gave like a tiny little snippet. Say hi to everybody.

 

Katie Allen 

Hey, I am so grateful to be on the show today. I think it's gonna be an amazing conversation. I can't wait to connect. Quick tip on the purple lipstick. So I did just go to Mardi Gras season the kickoff to Mardi Gras last week, and they haven't had a parade in two years. So I'm still like channeling the Mardi Gras energy. So the purple lipstick I was like yes, that's I'm going into the weekend.

 

Nicole Laino 

And even get me started with Mardi Gras. I am New Orleans obsessed. I love that town. We almost moved there. I love it so much.

 

Katie Allen 

Oh, beautiful. Um, but a little bit about me. I love fashion and style. I've loved it. I always tell people, I think my love of style and fashion was really born out of MTV 80s. And like, I was obsessed with MTV, mostly because I wasn't allowed to watch it. And it was just like watching people on TV and like music videos. And it was so intriguing. And to me, I always saw how people really self expressed whatever the song was about whatever they were doing through their clothes. And then growing up, I didn't feel like I had like a talent. You know, I wasn't into sports, I couldn't draw, I couldn't sing. I couldn't dance, like I didn't know where I belonged. So I just started gravitating towards clothes and fashion to try to understand who I was and what I connected with. I went to college for fashion. And the moment that it changed it for me. And when I realized that that's what I was doing was when I was in college during when 911 happened. And I think about it now it's really interesting as my professor was actually zooming, or whatever that was called back in 2001. From New York because she couldn't fly down. And she said to us, watch how this shifts the way people dress. And in that moment, I just had this like AHA of like, oh my god, we dress for how we want to feel. We dress for like, what's going on in our lives. And I just carry that with me. And then when I um, I lost my job in the middle of the pandemic in 2020, after a 15 year marketing career, and I told my husband, like, give me some time and some space, I'm going to figure this thing out. I don't know what it is. But just give me the time. And I came back to myself through a series of just, I don't even know the word, interesting activities, conversations time with myself time with friends. And I was like, Oh my God, I want to share my love and passion for style, and how we can use it to self Express and really just step into our dreams and step into our power and really own it by the clothes that we wear.

 

Nicole Laino 

Because it really is an expression of of who you are. And so what we what we're going to talk about today will on the show, this is what we plan to talk about, we'll see where the conversation takes us. But But what I wanted to dive into and start the conversation off with at least was your signature style and how it reflects in your brand. And because it's something that I have certainly struggled with, because I know what I like, but I don't necessarily like when I look at photos of myself or when I'm branding so much know what really belongs like I can't come from an acting background. So there's all of the like the rules of photography, wear a bright color, don't wear a pattern, don't world which is not the same as style and having it reflect your brand and what you want to express because it says something about you like your purple lipstick you popped on and I'm like I kind of get a vibe for who you are already. Which you get a vibe for who I am I'm wearing like a plaid shirt and and and very very minimalist looking makeup but but it does it is a form of self expression. It does say something about you and your brand and I think that it's a point that we either focus totally on or or not enough and probably if you're listening to the show, you probably fall in the I don't focus on style as like a point in my brand. So how do you view style and expression in your brand?

 

Katie Allen 

Yeah, to me, they're not separate and That's kind of one of the things part of the journey I was on when I came and had that aha moment. One of my really good friends now does website design and branding. And she came to me and she was like, Hey, I have this client, we're doing our website, she's gonna do the photos. She doesn't know what to wear, like, can you help her? And I'm like, sure, like, and then it's the same kind of questions that you start asking yourself, What does your brand represent? You know, what are the feelings? How do you want someone to feel when they interact with your brand, all of that, and from where I'm sitting, thinking of like personal brands, a lot of the times your personal brand is related to your values. So for me, like the purple lipstick is a really good example. Like for me, it's like I want to feel connected. And I want to feel playful and confident. Well, by having the lipstick that's purple, a immediately is playful, but it also creates a conversation starting piece. So you can say, oh my god, I love your lipstick. And I can say oh my god, I wore it because of Mardi Gras. And like now we already have this connection. And you're like, oh my god, I love New Orleans. Me too. Like we've already level based this like, here we go. We have this now we could talk about this. Now what else can we like about each other? What else can we talk about? So I always try to tell people like connect it back to your values, your brand values, which should be your personal values, and then take it another step. There's so many different steps, we can take this, but I'm like, when anyone comes to me ever. My first question is, well, how do you want to feel? Done? Tell me what you like, don't tell me what style you resonate with. First, tell me how do you want to feel every day? And then now, let's create space for what makes you feel that way. Now I want you to think about either right now, things that you personally own, or a time in your life where you felt those feelings and like, what were you wearing? What were you doing? Our clothes interact with our five senses all day long every day. So I think you can if you start to pay attention to that, and like a real granular level, you can start to think like, Okay, what makes me feel abundant? What makes me feel this? And that's how I see it as tying back to the brand is I like to think, Okay, how do I feel? Then what do I want to communicate? How do I want to be perceived? Which then I think also ties into the brand, like this is how I want to be perceived, this is how I want to communicate, this is the experience that I want my customers to have. So now let's think about that. And then when you think of those things, when you think of colors, and I struggled with what you said to around like, you know, Zoom was warm, like don't wear patterns. And don't do this and you should have glossy lipstick on because it helps create depth on screen. And it does those things are true. I hate glossy lipstick. So like give me all the matte lipstick. So I also go in it with the approach of it's really about empowerment. So like no the rules, break the rules. And if you are really attracted to that pattern, and that's who you are. And then let's figure out a way to make that work for you and make that work for your brand. Because that's also a part of your brand message, right? It is a little bit like well, no the rules break the rules. If I'm going to take the photo, and this is who I am, and this is what I want you to experience when you're working with me is like how do we take the box that we're currently in and like bust it wide open?

 

Nicole Laino 

Yeah, and what I'm getting from this is pain of that. How do you want to see yourself? Yes, how do you not what you think other people want? What how do you see you? And one of the things that it makes me think of I grew up an actor I studied at a studio in New York, Uta Hoggin, is the teacher. I studied her method, and there was a whole unit of the Conservatory. So you go through like a month you spend on like one thing. And one of the units was costume and your homework and your work that you did in class was literally to wear something and see how it changes you. Yes. And the whole thing for her was she was like, you will feel different. If you are in sweatpants, versus wearing a ball gown, I want you to see how each changes you because it changes your character because this was all about building a character. But I approach mindset and stepping into your next level self from a lot of her teachings, a lot of a lot of that building a character. My method is called the character method where you're building that character, you're building that person, and your clothing has a huge element of that of how it makes you feel. But it's also when you feel that way. So in those photos, in your branding, you feel like what you want to feel like you're looking and you're like this is who I am. And this is who I want people to see I want to see this. I want them to see this version of me.

 

Katie Allen 

I also like to think about it like this is who I'm becoming if I don't feel like I'm quite there yet which as a small business owner, I think a lot of us deal with that a little bit, especially in our branding. I think being in marketing for 15 years prior to this, and then branding myself to totally different experiences, because it's so tied to you personally. But I absolutely love what you just said about costumes. And, and I hate to tie it back to this. But everything that we're going through right now, like when 2020 hit, and everyone's like, Oh, I'm in my sweatpants, and like, that was amazing for a day, for those of us that were dressing up all the time, and being out and about and always channeling our energy outward. And then we came home. And I remember my absolute worst day and the pandemic was the day I was like, I don't have to take a shower, no one's gonna see me. I can just on this sweat, Sue. And then I remember talking to someone and they were like what made today so different from the other days, that like you couldn't take action on those things, or you couldn't do those things that you wanted to do. And I was like, I don't know and shower. And that was like part of my like, Aha moment, I was like, oh my god, we so tap into energy and show up so differently. And like the one thing I feel like I've learned with mindset work is like it's constant evolution, new level, new devils, something's always there waiting. Just when I feel like I've mastered something. And if I'm constantly not reflecting that woman that I want to be back to myself, and like, I take it to the most basic level, we're all trying to stay hydrated, right? Like, if we're not doing anything, we're not meditating journaling, we're least trying to hydrate, which means we're probably going to the bathroom, which means we have so many opportunities in a day, to see our reflection in the mirror when we're washing our hands. And when that woman looks back at me, and that woman's, you know, serving clients and telling other women how to feel great in their bodies. What I want to see back at myself is that I'm doing that for me, like, I want that person looking back at to me to be like, yes, you got this, you deserve this, you're worthy of all those dreams and all the mindset stuff, I'm telling myself. But if I'm not channeling that, for me, lipstick is obviously a big one. But whether it's was my clothes, my hair, my makeup, whatever that is, I'm not getting that conversation. And that conversation has to start with me before it can be channeled to anybody else.

 

Nicole Laino 

And I love that and you know it, we are getting back to how do you want to see yourself? How do you feel? Who do you feel you are? And that's an important conversation that we need to be having with ourselves all the time, who I believe I am, who is the real me because that's ultimately what we want to put out there. And we're talking about doing it through clothing through style in this. And I'm curious if your game for like playing a little of roleplay have some examples to make this to bring this down to earth for people. So we're giving them some concretes just so they could start to understand how they could translate some of this. So if someone if, what's a question that you would ask me on, you'd ask me what my values are. And

 

Katie Allen 

so it has to do with your values. I was just thinking. So the next step I have reclines is I have a style quiz. And it's going to go through and it's going to ask you a lot of questions. And it's going to say, Okay, you're going out to dinner? Or you're going on a date, like what's your idea of a game night? And is it you know, a slow night at home watching a movie? Is it going to a jazz club? Is it a ballet? Is it going to the flea market? Like what's your idea of like the perfect date night? And I have jazz club? So then I have like 10 Other questions that are kind of like not really related to style, but more like personality stuff? Yeah. And you're going to hit probably one like, it's a quiz, right? So ABCD One of them's gonna come up most of the time for you. And that's going to be like your core, like your style core. And say that that's I'm gonna make it up say that that's romantic. You know, like, Okay, I'm doing the candlelight dinner. I love to go to ballet. And I love to do this. And then the one question I asked you is, like what you just said, like, what's your favorite music and you're like, oh, jazz or hip hop. She's like, okay, there's a little drama in here, a little spicy energy, like there's something else there. And what you find a lot of times is like we're super multifaceted people. So when you get the quiz back, it's like, Yes, I'm mostly C's, but I'm also like second runner up, probably II, which is going to be like dramatic style. And I always try to on my quiz, I always try to tell people take those things. And like we're going to pull all the pieces into them. So like if you said jazz is a big one for you, and new answered like classic on a lot of the other ones, you're going to be like, okay, so Nicole really resonates with romantic style. But she also has to have a little bit of a dramatic piece worked in there for her and some classic as well. So then, like the classic styles are going to be funny that we talked about patterns, but not patterns. Usually they're usually like, solid color shirts. Are monochromatic outfits. Like I would say, Michelle Obama has a really good classic style. Someone like her. And then when you think of like a dramatic, I always think of Marilyn Monroe. But even like a JLo, right? So like, these things that you identify with, and the now how can we bring them all together?

 

Nicole Laino 

Do you have people come up with style, inspirations? Do you have them? Look at people. So someone like JLo is someone that I have on my like character board. When I want to tune into, I can do anything energy. And like, unapologetic, and sexy I think of I go to the like, well, how can I? How can I channel a little J Lo here? How can I? And like, I know Beyonce does that for a lot of people. And I love me some Beyonce, but there's something about JLo where I'm just like, she's just there's there's this really unapologetic Ness about her that I like to channel? Do you? Do you have people kind of come up with an archetype come up with examples of people or do you try to stay away from that and keep it closer to them? So they're not like they don't end up mimicking anyone?

 

Katie Allen 

No, I do. So like, I'll do that quiz. And we'll kind of get what are your three big ones that you identify with? And then we can say, Okay, well, who does like who gives you that spicy that Germanic style? And you're like, Okay, JLo and then I'm like, Okay, well, what is it about JLo? Is it? The dress that she wore was puffy that was plunging to her bellybutton? Is it the hoop earrings? Is it the ponytail? What is it specifically about JLo? That like, you love or that you see? Like if we pull it back that far? And then okay, what piece of that? Do you want to work in to your outfit today? Like I say, if we were going to do the photoshoot or the brand, like, Okay, what piece of that? Do you want to work in? Like, what piece of that do you want to represent? And then the other piece of that I always am like, yes, give me your style icons, I have a list and like, also what are yours because sometimes it's hard to remember who we like and who we don't like and the just the day to day hustle. The other exercise that I love to do is like set your timer, five minutes, 10 minutes, go on Pinterest and save everything you like. But don't think about it. Just go in there and be like, Yes, I like this. Yes, I like this. Yes, I like this. Just save it all to the side. And then once your timer goes off. Now go back and look at the boards you created. And start looking for the patterns like what are you starting to see over and over? Do you see a certain color? Do you see? Do you see plaid? Do you see lots of stripes? Do you see lots of lace? Do you see certain fabrics? Is there a certain type of skirt? Is there the V neck neckline? Like there's so many different places that we can take this and and my experience with everyone I've worked with, and myself included is there's always some there's always the thread that you can begin to kind of follow. And then that's really the journey of life, right? It's just like following the breadcrumbs. Like what's that breadcrumb was that breadcrumb. And my other piece of advice is, it's usually a lot more simple than we think it needs to be. So you're like, oh, it's JLo. And I'm like, Okay, well, what get when you think of Jayla, like, what's the one thing like? Is it okay, Nicole, what do you want to wear today? You need JLo energy, because we're going to do something scary. What's the one thing that you would pick?

 

Nicole Laino 

I mean, it would probably be something like a short skirt. That's sort of what I think of her like, where she's like, Yeah, I have it. And I'm going to show it to you, I'm going to show you. There's also something about like, you see JLo by a pool. Like, she looks like Cleopatra. She's just completely she's just like, Oh, I'm hanging out. But this is like my hangout look, which has a very like, turban, he kind of like, where she's like this is I'm I bring goddess vibes to the to the pool. And I'm much more low key than like, I'm pretty much I'm the opposite of that in my day to day. But there's something about wanting to connect to that energy to say like, Okay, well, I need a little bit more of this, maybe I'm not going to walk around like JLo all day. But I want to feel what that feels like. And that would be probably and so another question that I had for you, though, is, do people normally find this stuff in their closet? Or do they have to go out and shop for all the things like how is that? How does that work? And how do you work with people? Are you sending them things like you can buy this online? Or are you? Are you kind of giving them inspiration, and they have to find it themselves?

 

Katie Allen 

Yeah, so sometimes I would say a lot of times, we have some pieces in our closet, and a lot of us don't give ourselves permission to wear those pieces. We're like, oh, yeah, I'm saving that for that special occasion. Right? And we don't give ourselves permission to wear it. So yeah, part of the process of the things I help women with is we'll get in the closet, and like Okay, show me all the things like we're gonna go through, we're gonna find all the things I'm like, oh my god, this is totally, you know, amazing. Can you think of jello or this exactly resonates with what you just told me the other day? So I try to always start with what do we have? Because a lot of times we have great things. And sometimes it's a little bit harder to see our own stuff. Yeah. But then we get some other eyes on it, you're like, Yeah, you know, I never thought about that. And again, it's usually just that one little trick, like, have you ever thought about rolling up the sleeves or putting it with this bell or that pair of earrings and like, all of a sudden, you have a brand new outfit. And then the next step is like the shopping piece. So I have a app for stylists where I can shop. And I can save things into like a shopping section where they can just shop or I can help them create the mood boards, like if they need the whole vision, like, Katie, I want the whole outfit like give me the mannequin. So the mood boards and, and we can also upload pieces from their closet, because it's not just about like just willy nilly shopping. And this is especially good for when you're doing branding. So like I have one client that's really clear on her brand. She's been in business for about seven years now. So we uploaded like, here are all the shoes that I like to wear that are in my brand colors, here's like these couple of key pieces that I always wear, we have those loaded in the closet, then we will shop to supplement. And then we will create the mood boards where we bring both of the things together. And then you just click right through and shop. So that's a virtual take on it. We can do it in person as well, like we're we're shoving together.

 

Nicole Laino 

Because I think that this for anybody who's thinking about going out and booking a photoshoot, maybe you've done it before, maybe you're looking to do your first one, or you're looking to do the next one. And like I know that I made the mistake of I bought I had clothes that I liked, but it did not translate into a cohesive brand vibe. They didn't it didn't feel like they went together. It didn't feel I wasn't happy with the photos. And a lot of that had to do with the fact that it felt a little haphazard the way that things were pulled together. And what can people do to to so is it a mood board? Is it what's what is this? What is the? What is the way that they can avoid that mistake?

 

Katie Allen 

Yeah, I think like when I was working on mine, so I met with a photographer and we kind of had like a visioning session, I created myself my own Pinterest board, of course, I put a lot of pressure on myself and be like, hey, I can help you do this. I created the mood board. And I just got really like I kept going back to what how do I want to feel in this shoe? And how do I want women to feel when they work with me, because you have to be really vulnerable. And I believe photoshoots also kick up a lot of that because you're you're seeing yourself and that can be really, really hard. So I was like, Okay, I want it to be playful. And I want it to be fun. Because I really believe when we let things be fun and easy and playful, like our highest self can really start to shine through and we're not putting as much pressure on ourselves. So for me, it was really clear about my vision. And what I wanted to come through to make sure that she knew the direction I was going in. I was like we're not gonna do like me behind the desk on the computer. Like I want it to be a little bit more hands on than that. And I gave her some like action photos. And then for the clothes, it was just like getting really clear. Like okay, what means what makes me feel playful. So like, Okay, I picked up all bright bubblegum pink suit. And I was like, Okay, this makes me feel super playful. And then what I did from a standpoint of trying to make it feel really cohesive, was I were and I also I love tennis shoes. So like I'm a converse girl through and through. So I kept the converse on like no matter what I was wearing in my office like so I have them on with this, or I have them on with the suit, I had them on with the jeans. And I always tried to keep in the photo like one thing going through and so like I had just a black shirt on and one of them so I worked with a suit and then I worked with a skirt and like so you can kind of just see how all these things flow together. But at the same time it looks like I have on so many different outfits when really I have on like the same shirt, almost every photo and I was just switching out a couple of key pieces. But that was also part of the brand messaging meaning like you I want to help you wear your clothes more ways than one and like every stylist it's like the rule of three like can you wear the shirt three different ways? If you don't we need to come up for with a better word for this in the industry. But it's like if you can't wear the shirt or the item more than three ways or more than it's an orphan and like does it have a home with you? Or does it have a home with someone else? Like is there another woman that can benefit and give this baby at home? Or do we keep it because it's not we're trying to get away from like shopping to just shop and like Let It Be intentional and let it make you feel good?

 

Nicole Laino 

No, I love that and I love that like the style rule of three I'm gonna have to I'm gonna think about that every time I'm in my closet like kind of do I have three ways that I can use this piece? But I think I think what the big takeaway As we're coming to the end of the episode, the big takeaway here, at least for me, and I hope what what what people listening are taking away from this is that it, the clothes have so much to do with it's, it's you. And it's what people say we think it's going to be about what people say. And that's honestly that's, that's another way of kind of looking at the outside world rather than looking at ourselves. We don't want to be pleasing anybody else, or trying to make anyone else think anything. If you're feeling it, they will feel it. Exactly. So it's about you channeling, what's the image that you want to that you want to embody? Who are you going to be? And so I have that in my character method where I have people go through and it's like, what does she What does she dress like? What is what is this next level version of you? And you know, if it's really expensive clothes, can you buy one piece today and wear it and feel that to start stepping into that? So I that's what the big takeaway is for me from this is that that the clothes are there helping you to connect to who you want to be. And if you are truly connecting to that people, it will land with people, people will feel that.

 

Katie Allen 

Yeah, what comes from you. And you say that is like be her now. Like you don't have to wait to be her. Be her now. Where that piece I have the

 

Nicole Laino 

chills. It's so funny. I say that all the time. I actually just did an interview on something. And that was the title of it was be her now. That's so fun. I love that. I love it. Well, I am so Katie, I'm so thankful for you being here. This was such a great conversation. And like I said it was one that we haven't had on here. And I think it's a really important conversation that that, you know, we're all about teaching the different ways to express yourself. And it's all about being you and, you know, be her now. That's easier said than done. And it's a day to day process. And I love that this piece is a part that we I think particularly during the pandemic, where a lot of people didn't get dressed and started working in pjs all the time. That's fine. If that makes you feel powerful, because you can work in pjs, go for it. But if it's just laziness, then it might be doing more damage than good. Yes, I gotta get dressed in the morning. I can't if I'm in the PJ thing. There's a very specific way that I have to approach but thank you so much for being here. Do you have anything to say to the listeners before we close out for the episode?

 

Katie Allen 

Um, yeah, thank you so much for being here. And I just always like to remind people that like the style is a tool. And while we're constantly working on the mindset of really just like to use it as the physical reminder when we're trying to be here now it's feels it's great in theory, but when I can, like look down at something on my body, and feel it smell it hear it like that always brings it back to myself so like try to tap into the physical embodiment of it adorn her

 

Nicole Laino 

I love it. And it's so true. It's embodiment is the physical like that's you could do all the mindset work you want if you can't bring it into the physical then it's not really gonna fit that's not a manifestation. So I love it. This is like a speedy tool for for manifestation too. But how can everybody stay in touch with you, I know that you have a free gift you have a quiz I believe in I don't know if there's a free gift as well. But tell them where they can stay in touch with you and how they can learn more. Yeah,

 

Katie Allen 

over on my website, Katiejuststyled.com I do have a like top five essentials on there like the top five things that everyone should have in their closet to just like build that foundation. So that's Katiejuststyled.com/topfive, I do have the quiz. But it's not up on the site. But if anyone wanted it, you can absolutely reach out to me, and I'd be happy to send it to you. And we can connect on Instagram. That's where I spend probably most of my time in like the social media world. And my tag is @katieallenstylist.

 

Nicole Laino 

We will link all of that up for you in the show notes. So you don't have to worry if you didn't get to write that down. We've got you covered. Just hop on over to the show notes. And we'll link it all out so you can hop on over right there. Katie, thank you for being here. This was such a great conversation. It's just so much fun. Thank you listener if you've made it all the way to the end of the episode. We appreciate you we appreciate you being part of this conversation and remember, you are only limited by the limitations that you accept. And when you stop accepting those limitations. That is when you become limitless. So go out there and be limitless everyone. We will see you in the next episode.

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