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How to Cultivate Your Personal Sartorial Brand

Finding My Sartorial Brand

In my latest book, True Style: A Look Beyond the Surface, I tell the story of my retail experience, during the 1980s, while working with a young woman named Katie. Katie was my gateway into understanding the true meaning of style and discovering my sartorial brand.Find your sartorial brand

I found myself intrigued by her interesting and clever sartorial mix. Katie was the master of creating looks that told her unique story. Others may have turned their noses at her way of dress, but their opinions simply didn’t matter.

You see, Katie’s unique stance on getting dressed was by no means contrived, nor was it driven by what was expected. Rather, her wardrobe was her sartorial branding which undeniably painted a clear picture of her unique story.

During my time with Katie, the retailer provided the staff with steep discounts to ensure we were dressed in the current garb sold in the store. In essence, because we were expected to dress in the current inventory, there became only subtle variances in our clothing.

While the majority of the staff became fashion clones, Katie marched to the beat of her own sartorial drum. Katie’s self-awareness enabled her to personalize her wardrobe in a way that clearly transcribed her story.

She instinctively combined the store’s inventory with garments and accessories from her personal archive – black Doc Marten boots with frilly dresses; rock-n-roll t-shirts with traditional pants and blazers; rubber-band bracelets and skull ornaments combined with the stores jeweled selections.

Though this type of dress is a mainstay for today’s youthful attire, during the 80s, this style of dress was groundbreaking. Katie never looked contrived, rather, her style melded naturally with her entire persona.

Finding a Sartorial Brand

I quickly discovered she viewed clothing as a form of visual expression, and whether she meant to or not, the expression was the perfect introduction to her personal brand.

Though she had a sensitive side, Katie was also a bad-ass that enjoyed the underground party scene (which would later be defined as grunge).

What was the formula Katie used to cultivate her sartorial brand? The best way to lay theory to Katie’s idea of getting dressed is to say she subscribed to the following code:

Know Thyself:

When you know yourself, you unleash a reservoir of positive outcomes into your life. This awareness provides a distinct platform into forming a perfectly curated wardrobe.

Katie knew that wearing a head-to-toe look from the retailer wasn’t a true representation of who she was, and wouldn’t do her brand justice.

With precise branding, it is important to stay true, and in order to stay true, you must first know thyself. Knowing yourself will place you far above the others in having an accurate sartorial brand.

Be Unique:

I image Katie was probably uninspired by the thought of wearing an outfit that was mapped out or predestined by someone other than herself. Katie wouldn’t allow herself to be molded into what was expected. Doing so would be an unfortunate injustice to her brand.

Katie’s sartorial brand was established by her uniqueness, and not one that was conceived by following the fashion rules of others. It was through her unique style of dress, she was able to reach a certain type of customer and developed a cult following.

Be Authentic:

There are various types of fashion personalities; everything from classic to bohemian. A fashion personality is the way to dress that best represents who we are as individuals.

It was no secret, while Katie was a sweet young lady, there was also a part of her that was mysterious and dark.  Her life and sartorial choices were authentic and worked together to form a harmonious and authentic style story.

In order for branding to have a precise mark of distinction, it must read as authentic. To mimic another brand will only produce a one dimensional image that lacks the depth, story and passions which exist from the original.

The same attention we give to our business brand should be given to our sartorial brand. A clearly marked business brand is defined by its personal story, and doesn’t misrepresent.

I learned a valuable lesson from my time spent with Katie – Our sartorial choices say a great deal, therefore, if our clothing speaks for us, it would be wise to let the conversation be one of a powerful representation of you and your sartorial brand.

Stay True,


Want more from Glenda? Read How Your Sense of True Style Expresses Who You Are.

Glenda K. Harrison

From the runway to your personal closet, be it advice on the proper attire, or suggestions on how to live life to the fullest, readers throughout the world are being inspired by connecting to “So What to Twenty”, a style blog by creator, author, and freelance style contributor, Glenda K. Harrison, graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising with a degree in Marketing and Merchandising. Although fashion and style are important to her, Harrison's real passion is reminding others of the importance of self-love and using one's God-given gifts and talents. Her blog inspires readers to view fashion as an all-encompassing vehicle and encourages women to explore their personal gifts, style, power, and, most importantly, inner beauty. Harrison has been quoted saying, "I view my clothing as the cast of characters in my life, and together we tell the story of Glenda." The death of her mother spurred Harrison to launch A Daughter's Heart in 2008, a cancer support service that partnered with hospitals to provide love and support to women undergoing cancer treatment. She put aside that work to focus on her lifelong dream of touching lives through her writing and her passionate point of view on the subject of style. Harrison has authored an inspirational memoir titled, A Place Called Peace, and, True Style: A Look Beyond the Surface. Both available on CreateSpace eStore and Amazon.

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Suzanne Fluhr

Thursday 11th of May 2017

Just out of curiosity, I would like to see how Katie dresses now---if her satorial style has evolved with her over the years. When I see women of a certain age (i.e. mine) wearing frilly short skirts and work boots, the image looks very contrived. However, there are women who maintain sartorial flair throughout their lives. I didn't have it when I was young, and still haven't developed it. I like to blame that particular deficit on my parents who emphasized character over appearance, but that's bogus since my younger sister does have satorial flare and she was raised by the same people. Interestingly, she was also the artistic child.

Glenda K. Harrison

Thursday 11th of May 2017

Hi Suzanne! I would imagine Katie's style of dress would still lean on the irreverent side. No, I highly doubt she's still in frilly dresses with Doc Marten boots. We were only 20 years old. Though I believe her style of dress still represents whom she has become. I too am the artist in the family. I studied fashion marketing and merchandising at a prestigious fashion school and found great interest in various types of art. My sister, on the other hand, was a tech person. She didn't develop a fashion sense, where I began to find mind at an early age. Art people have a very different mindset, and that mindset is based on expression.

Mithra Ballesteros

Wednesday 10th of May 2017

It's fun to reread some of the best paragraphs from your book, Glenda. I'm such a fan!

Glenda K. Harrison

Thursday 11th of May 2017

Aww Mithra, thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the book :)


Tuesday 9th of May 2017

Your views and style is always on point and you give so much Inspiration. Kudos!!

Glenda K. Harrison

Wednesday 10th of May 2017

Aw, thank you so very much Neti!


Tuesday 9th of May 2017

As one drawn to classic, feminine style, I never really thought of it as telling a story about me, but it does. Keeping my classics modern is important to me, but tailored garments with feminine touches are who I am. This story you told helped me realize that's okay, and good, because I know who I am! I have fun with my casual clothes and step outside the lines, but give me fitted jeans and a white tee shirt any day and confidence soars. This story was very validating Glenda! I enjoyed it!

Glenda K. Harrison

Wednesday 10th of May 2017

Hi Karen, like you, I enjoy classic with touches of feminine, but at the same time, I enjoy a touch of irreverence and a whole lot of bohemian. It makes sense because we are multi-faceted people. Most people do have varying ways to convey whom whey are via clothing because they have varying messages they want to express. This is perfectly find. We mustn't be so strict when it comes to clothing. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. There's much more in my latest book - True Style: A Look Beyond the Surface.


Tuesday 9th of May 2017

I loved reading this, although I an now feel acquainted with Katie. I just never tire of your writing Glenda. I hope that this spring has been wonderful for you and your family! xx, Elle

Glenda K. Harrison

Wednesday 10th of May 2017

I hope to one day run into Katie again. I would love to let her know how much of an impact she made on my life. Thank you Elle!

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