Ten years ago, Catherine Cassidy was a merchandiser for BCBG in Los Angeles, California, and she had access to some of the most beautiful clothes in the world. However, she still felt as if she wasn’t making the impact that she wanted in her role. Thus, Ustyled, a “company—one that happens to be a Fashion company—that empowers women to collaborate, speak up, lead, and be the change they want to see in this world” was born.
Throughout her life, style has been an essential aspect of Catherine’s confidence, inner power, and growth as a leader. Self-described as shy, the clothes she chooses to wear allow her to express herself in a creative and outward way that she didn’t necessarily do otherwise. Through Ustyled, Catherine has been able to work with various types of clients to think more strategically about how they present themselves as leaders through their skills and style.
Similar to Ustyled, PLEN’s overall mission is to increase the amount of women in top policy leadership positions. For PLEN, that means providing young women with the professional skills and networks that they need to pursue a career in public policy. For Ustyled, that means empowering women to look more strategically at how they present themselves and how they can use their closet as a tool for power and confidence. These two strategies are not mutually exclusive; as Catherine explained in her background of Ustyled, confidence comes from many different sources: our knowledge, experience, support system, and how we decide to present ourselves.
Catherine understands well the complexity and psychology of leadership, and has coupled it with her extensive fashion knowledge to create the idea of Leadership Style Power, effectively changing the conversation around style. Rather than focusing on what’s “trendy,” Ustyled empowers clients to think about the shapes, colors, and styles that makes them feel the most confident.
When describing Leadership Style Power in the recent webinar hosted by the PLEN Alumnae Network, Catherine discussed three out of the “5 C’s” of her program: courage, connection, and communication. She encouraged the audience to think about their own sources of confidence, who they want to inspire, and how they want to be perceived as a leader. This is where style can play a huge role: the colors you wear, the styles you choose, the confidence you exude from feeling great in the clothes you wear all lead to being perceived as authentically and confidently you.
Similar to developing your professional skills, growing your Leadership Style Power requires time and effort. To aid in this, Catherine provided a list of her 10 foundation pieces that everyone should have in their closet. These foundation pieces, featuring a dark suit, little black dress, and nude heels, can be constantly mixed and matched and built upon and updated as your style evolves. In addition to establishing your style through these 10 foundation pieces, Catherine also encouraged the audience to make an action plan and a budget. As you grow personally and professionally, your style and budget will also change, but being deliberate about your action plan upfront gives you the priority and permission to invest in yourself. At the end of the day, what matters most is how you perceive yourself, and investing in your style and presence is a true investment in yourself.
If you were unable to attend this webinar, but would like to learn more about Catherine Cassidy and Ustyled, you can receive a free initial Leadership Style Training from Ustyled here.
Hayley Humiston is a Program Coordinator for PLEN, where her main focus is to plan the logistics of each seminar. She is also responsible for marketing, communications, and social media outreach.