Mika Brzezinski: Why You Need a Fashion Uniform

“Just put it on and go.”

“Getting things done” in terms of your style is something that has taken me 20 years to master. I now consider my clothes the “UNDEROOS” of morning television (minus the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday labels). It needs to be so right that I just put it on and go. But this was a long process for me. As women, we find ourselves constantly talking about “style.” Who is she wearing? Is it in style? Is she creating her own style? Is she copying someone else’s style? Developing and cultivating a personal style is a balancing act women work to master every day. I suspect most of us fail because we try to0 damn hard.

For every one of my five Know Your Value events during my nationwide tour, I wore the same style — a black, Milly sheath dress with a scarf my friend Michelle Smith and I designed specifically for these events (My Know Your Value Underoos). I did this because it was clean, professional, well made, and because I did not have to overthink it. I wanted the women in the audience to focus on my message, not on the pattern of my skirt. The brand I wanted to project was one of clean lines, direct visuals, and continuity; a physical representation of my much deeper message. As we move into planning the events for 2017 and 2018, I am on the hunt for a similar ensemble that easily communicates my style — my gut is that I am going to go with long sleeves this time. That has become my uniform on Morning Joe. I like solid colors, soft fabrics, and long sleeves. I’m almost 50 and sleeves feel right to me. I think the look allows the viewers to focus on what I am saying (rather than my aging arms). I’m also really tired of the tight, bright dresses that I see all over television news. The women look incredibly uncomfortable, the dresses are too tight, and they send a terrible message. I’ve come to learn that this is just too much work. I’m tired of holding my stomach in, and I’ve learned I’m never going to win the “tight and bright” competition.

The bottom line is that style matters and it needs to help bring out your message and help build the brand that is you… Rather than detract from it. I hope what I’ve written helps women get things done with their style. This shouldn’t be expensive and it doesn’t have to make you crazy to do it well. Think about who you are, where you are in your career, and what message you want to project. Your style should come from that. Sometimes this process can take a long time to develop. I struggled with big hair and clothes that didn’t fit for years because I did not give it enough attention… Give it attention and over time you will find your Underoos. Just put it on and go.

Mika Brzezinski is the co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and founder of the “Know Your Value” Movement.

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