What I Learned from Accidental Icon

Almost three weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a conference in Chicago for the Association of Image Consultants International (“AICI”). Each time I attend conference, I am re-invigorated, and I learn many things I can use in my business. Lyn Slater, PhD., also known by her blog name, Accidental Icon, was our opening keynote speaker. I must admit, when I saw her sitting up front before she spoke, I went to say hello to her. I also nabbed a quick photo (shown here). She was most gracious and kind, and here is what I took away from her talk:

  • Embrace change. Dr. Slater’s career has focused on social welfare and justice, and she has most recently been serving as a professor at Fordham School of Social Service and adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law. While she loves fashion and has her own distinct style, Dr. Slater was not looking to start a fashion blog. However, she had been receiving encouragements to start one. When she could not find a blog that addressed the intelligent, urban, modern women who lead “interesting but ordinary lives,” she launched Accidental Icon. The public responded. On Instagram alone, IconAccidental has 659,000 followers, which has grown organically. Take a cue from Dr. Slater, and don’t be afraid to pivot.  Try something new or attempt something completely outside of your field as she did. It could be the start of your next chapter.
  • Embrace aging. Dr. Slater shared a sobering statistic. Those with a negative view of aging remove 7-1/2 years from their lives versus those with a positive view who add 7-1/2 years to their lives. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to choose the “glass half full” viewpoint on aging! Most of us reading this post have lost a loved one or a special friend far too young. Receiving another day of life is the best gift. Yes, things sag, creep, creak and crease as we age. However, when you adopt a grateful, thankful view on aging, you start to focus a lot less on what you no longer have and a lot more on what you do and all the wonderful things to come! Rock every single day of your life with a grateful heart.
  • Be curious and open. When Dr. Slater was asked by an image consultant in the audience about creating a movement to dress up, she responded that she would open a conversation with a group of young people with two questions: What does dressing up mean to you, and what does it look like? By inviting them into the dialog, you are opening the door to a new palette of choices. Dr. Slater has no doubt seen many changes in what is acceptable to wear to work and to school during her career. She is not firmly rooted on a worn-out list of fashion rules. Instead, she has remained open to fashion shifts, and she has embraced the ones that work for her.
  • Be yourself. Our social media feed is mobbed with “fashion influencers,” many of whom look the same. Keep asking yourself how to keep yourself in the equation when it comes to your social media presence and your business. Speaking to us as image consultants, Dr. Slater said we need to ask ourselves how we can help people in a real way in this visual world. Helping others has always been the aim of my posts on Instagram and Facebook, as well as the aim of my business. I love the convenience of being able to click on a photo and buy the look, but that type of interaction does not align with my brand, which is why I don’t do it. Remember your reasons why and continue on your path. You have to be you.

It was an honor to hear Dr. Slater speak. I may drop a few more bits of her wisdom in a future post. Thank you for reading! What are your thoughts? Do tell. I love reading your comments!

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