When Project Gravitas Founder Lisa Sun had her first professional review at age 22, her boss told her that she didn’t have any “gravitas”–that she didn’t project confidence and presence at work. When she asked how she should go about getting gravitas, her mentor replied, “Go buy a new dress, wear big jewelry, and great shoes.” This moment later inspired Sun to found Project Gravitas, an innovative women’s apparel brand, to help other women look and feel their best at work. When it comes to office style, body image and confidence, Sun has some stellar insights and advice for looking and feeling your best. .
- Why are confidence and body image so important for women?
I’ve learned that the way women feel about themselves and their bodies plays a powerful role in how they take on the day. I founded my company based on the belief that you’re the first person you have to look at in the morning, and if you like what you see, you’ll take that confidence with you throughout the day.
- Any piece of advice on how women can strengthen confidence in themselves and their body image?
1) Create reminders for yourself; whether it is a piece of clothing, an inspirational quote, or an alert on your phone. Make sure you ground yourself in positivity on a daily basis, and remember to choose to see the best in yourself.
2) Identify the silhouettes that flatter your best features. Rather than working to fit into a particular garment, find the styles that work for you and your body type.
3) Practice the “Rule of 3.” For every negative thought you have about your body, think of three positives. Practicing this technique takes time and effort, but it’s worth it because you can retrain your brain to see yourself positively.
- What are your go-to staples for office attire?
This winter, my office uniform consists of a Project Gravitas Emily skirt or Frances dress, and a Josephine cape blazer in black or ivory. I always add on plenty of long necklaces to make the look sparkle. If I have a meeting, I’ll wear statement heels, otherwise I’ll stay warm in a great pair of patent-leather knee-high boots.
- How do you see health and wellness connecting to confidence in the workplace, at home and in life in general?
One of my core values is empowering others’ success. I love seeing others be happy and fulfilled – and feel that I had a hand in their journey. I’ve recently learned that for me to live this value to the fullest, I too need to be centered, healthy and happy, which means taking time for myself so that I can give to others with my best self. Setting aside time to exercise, making healthy choices around food, and practicing meditation on a regular basis are a few of the ways that I take care of myself so that I can give my best in the workplace and at home.
- What are good investment pieces for a woman looking to refresh her wear-to-work look this year?
1) The perfect pencil skirt. A lot of women shy away from pencil skirts because they feel that they’re unflattering or uncomfortable. But trust me, if you find the right one for you, you’ll want to wear it 24/7. You can style a pencil skirt for any occasion, dress it up or down, and it never goes out of style.
2) A classic LBD with a twist. If your closet is already full of wear-to-work LBDs, consider adding one with a statement detail – an exposed zipper, intricate ruching. Investing in classic silhouettes with modern updates can make a big difference when it comes to refreshing your wardrobe.
3) Non-black neutrals. Whether it’s a dress, skirt, or jacket, there are so many great alternatives to black. Navy, dark gray, and eggplant are a few of my favorite neutrals that brighten up an outfit but still go with every piece in my closet. Plus these colors go with every shoe color from black to brown to nude to a pop color!
- How do you plan to Do You in 2016?
In 2016, I intend to live life to the fullest and not “wait until.” So often, we wait until something happens to be happy. So I want to enjoy the present – appreciating every day experiences, seeking out new ones, and embracing uncomfortable moments. I also intend to empower others’ success. Helping people excel has always brought me a tremendous amount of joy, and I will continue to hold that value as my inner compass for the year to come.
- What motivates you?
At Project Gravitas, customers regularly send us these amazing, personal notes about how our product makes them feel, how it’s helped them get through a tough time or given them new confidence at work. Hearing about the difference we’ve made in women’s lives is a huge source of motivation for me. It’s why I do what I do every day.