Vera Smets about energy and a lack of representation
With a good work-life balance, Vera Smets successfully runs her own company, Fincover, already for more than 25 years. Her mission is to bridge the gap between financiers and non-financiers in the business field. At the beginning of her career, she worked as a brand manager for KBC. Now her clients are big corporates, national and international. In addition, she chairs various non-profit organisations, regularly does voluntary work and is also interested in sustainability. She does not call herself a fashionista, but her view on work fashion is refreshing.
“I do think it’s important to add some fun to your clothes to show that you don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s very powerful and you show that you are daring and have spirit.“
Listen to the Work Fashion Talk episode here in Dutch or read the summary in English below and acquire her personal power outfit.
Vera’s definition of work fashion
I was not yet familiar with the word work fashion. I am already very happy that the word work fashion exists. I associate fashion mainly with fashion shows in Paris, unwearable clothes, not practical and hyper-slim ladies. When I think of Work Fashion, it makes it much more accessible to me. The good side of fashion and the authenticity of life. The best of both worlds.
I am anything but a fashionista, but feeling good in the clothes you work in and that you like, that is Work Fashion for me. Because when it comes to work fashion, the first thing we women have to be able to do is work, right? And not go strolling down the shopping streets trying to be the chic lady. For me, clothes should first of all fit well and are comfortable. On top of that, it has to be beautiful. My experience is that if you opt for comfort, aesthetics often lag behind. Especially in larger sizes. When it comes to comfort, there are still steps to be taken by brands. Although female designers are better at it since they know what a woman’s body looks like. The care of the clothing is also an important issue. We want to be able to maintain it easily when there is a stain, for example. It has to be practical.
The more insecure you are, the more important it is to have the right clothes. In itself, that is not a bad thing. If you can feel more confident by dressing better, why not do so.
I do think it’s important to add some fun to your clothes to show that you don’t take yourself too seriously. I find that very powerful, a mix of business and fun. By adding a fun accent to your outfit, you show that you are daring and have spirit.
Representation and role models
As a woman with a larger size, I have rarely felt represented in the media. And that is not pleasant. Certainly not as a young woman. Now that I am a bit older, representation is less important and feeling good in your own skin is the most important thing. But when you’re younger, a lack of representation makes you insecure. The book “7 habits of highly effective people” gave me an interesting insight into this. Principle 1 from the book is to be proactive. There are a lot of things in life that you can’t control, such as how you are represented physically. So I don’t recognise myself in the media. I can’t do anything about that. But I can choose how I react to it: either insecure because I don’t recognise myself in how women are and should be represented or I try to live with that and look for what is really essential. That was a real awakening for me when I read that. Moreover, you can apply this principle to everything in life.
When it comes to role models: we are all role models for those around us. I myself am a mother of two daughters. As a mother, you are a role model for your children. If we, as mothers, already allow ourselves to be influenced by that media image, what should we expect from our children? As a mother and father, you are a role model for your child, whether you want to be or not. Moreover, I think we should show ourselves, without filters, just as we are. In addition, we as women should help each other. The so-called sisterhood. We are increasingly looking for role models among ourselves. And I think that is a good evolution. So find your own role models and contact someone who seems inspiring to you.
Dressing, energy and impressions
You radiate a certain energy. Clothing is a part of that. Not the essence. The essence is the positive energy, which can shine through more with the right outfit. Because when you have negative energy, clothing can’t help you either. Clothes are an important tool. And if you project positive energy, you will also attract positive energy.
In addition, it is important that you stand out as a person. For me, self-development is the basis of personal branding. Thinking more openly and having an open mind is something you communicate, verbally and non-verbally. You can also reinforce that with clothing. Without that inner strength, your clothes will only be a cover.
Work fashion plays a big role in making a good first impression. A good first impression is important. Especially when you are pitching, when you are selling, at a business meeting, … Of course, appearance is also very important, and that is mainly the inner side. A combination of clothing and appearance is very important. Of course you have to search for that. You have to find the clothes in which you feel good and which make you feel good.
If you yourself feel that you are dressed well – whatever that means to you – you also get energy. This is also important for the development of your career and your life. It makes you feel more secure in your own skin, it makes you emit positive energy. This is good for your career and for your environment. You will attract the right people. You will enter a positive spiral. What can help is to choose one power item that you always refer to when you want to feel really powerful.