Do you have a "signature style"? It's not just for fashionistas — branding your look is a powerful tool for career advancement.

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A photographer friend who specializes in black and white always wears black.

That’s not surprising. What’s surprising is that she also always wears one black shoe and one white shoe, contrasting the black shoe with a white sock and the white shoe with a black sock. It’s stunning. No one ever forgets her.

OK, most people may not be able to pull this off. But everyone can leverage their clothes — their “packaging” — to make them more memorable.

It’s worth considering, because your clothes say an awful lot about you. While you may not care a bit about fashion, your clothes are busy sending messages out to the world — everything from “I am powerful” to “I am smart” to “I am clueless” to even “I am without any self-respect whatsoever.”

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Better to use your clothes to send a message that helps you!

Fret not. This is doable. The mantra to memorize here is “attractive, appropriate and comfortable.” Clothes that meet these simple criteria are the building blocks of a memorable, powerful look.

Shopping not your idea of a good time? Ask a well-dressed friend or relative to help you identify one or two styles that look good on you, fit well and don’t need to be fussed with. Simplify further by limiting your wardrobe to one or two colors. This way everything will go with everything else, and you won’t need to buy/own a lot of accessories.

And, no, you don’t have to max out your credit card to get this done. Think sales, outlet stores and consignment shops. Heck, think Goodwill — you’d be amazed at what you can find there.

However you do it, spending a day or weekend putting together six solid outfits is going to save you a considerable amount of time and money in the long run. That’s right, only a half dozen. No need to worry about repeating looks.

In fact, you could further limit your wardrobe/packaging to one all-purpose outfit. After all, Steve Jobs (a great example of the truth that you don’t need to feel uncomfortable to look good) wore the same outfit every single day. His “signature style” became part of his fame.

It could work for you, too.

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at