“Rachel, I need to speak to you.”
It was the early ‘90s, and I had just begun my career on Wall Street. My manager was beckoning me, and when I walked over, he told me a story.
It revolved around a former colleague who’d worn sport coats — instead of traditional suits — to the office. He became known as “the sport coat guy” — a reputation that negatively impacted his career.
“I know you love pantsuits, but you might want to consider wearing skirts instead,” my manager concluded. “I don’t want anything to affect your chances at getting a promotion.”
In today’s world, this might sound kind of odd and old school, but my manager was only looking out for me. He’s an amazing man; someone I learned a lot from, someone who’s still in my life today.
And, though his advice was probably spot-on, I didn’t take it. I had always hated skirts, and everything that went with them: the constant adjusting, the high heels, the tight fit.
So I continued to wear pantsuits — and eventually, even they began to grind on me.
What I truly longed to wear? My Levi’s.
More Than Just a Pair of Jeans
I always felt so relaxed in my jeans; so comfortable, so me.
And not only did I love my jeans — I loved the company that made them. Around that time, Levi’s had started to recycle its excess jean material into office paper (blue of course). To do something so forward thinking back then was inspiring to me.
Yet, despite my commitment to Levi’s, I couldn’t wear them often. I could only slip them on after work and on the weekends; they were not appropriate corporate attire.
Soon, my Levi’s became more than a pair of jeans to me. They became a symbol of freedom, individuality — and, dare I say it — success.
To many of my colleagues, success meant climbing a ladder, earning more money, and buying more expensive clothes, cars, and homes. But to me, it was about the ability to live my truth daily, and comfortably in a pair of Levi’s.
And my truth wasn’t skirts or pantsuits or Wall Street. It was me, free to define my own path — and wardrobe — helping people achieve financial confidence for themselves and their loved ones.
Once I knew that, I knew I wouldn’t find success in some corner office — I would find it in myself, elevated by the freedom to choose what I wear to work each day and not get fired, or be judged, or held back professionally.
Levi’s wove more than just cotton into their jeans. They wove a movement of change and individuality. And whether I pull on a pair of 501’s at the start of my work day, or a pair of khaki slacks, or a nice pair of tailored pants, it’s really this same premise I’m slipping into every day.
Helping You Write Your Story
In 2003, I started my business: a financial management firm that helps people create their own definition of a wealthy life. As my own boss, I’ve been able to design the work environment I dreamt of — both for me and for my clients.
When you arrive at my office, you won’t feel like you’re walking into a stiff boardroom or sterile workspace. Rather than intimidation or complexity, you’ll experience comfort and ease. Like a place you can walk into wearing Levi’s.
It is perhaps the greatest achievement any one of us can aspire to; to define what we want in life on our own terms, work towards it in our own unique way, and finally reach that goal in a blaze of personal triumph. It matters in all areas of our lives – professional, personal and financial.
Because a financial plan isn’t just numbers on a piece of paper. It’s a representation of your story and your dreams. As such, you need to be inspired by your advisor. They need to help you see the full breadth of your potential, bringing color and excitement in ways that you couldn’t do alone.
I believe it is vital to find an advisor who can approach things from more than just the traditional standpoint of facts and figures. A forward-thinking creative approach can bring your financial plan to life in new and exciting ways, opening your future up wider than you ever thought possible, and emboldening you to live your truth daily.
What’s Your Truth?
When I first started wearing Levi’s, it was the 501 button fly; I loved that every wash created something new. Later, I moved on to 514s, and eventually, 511s, which I’m wearing as I write this. My favorites, however, will always be my homemade Levi’s shorts.
Each old pair of Levi’s brings me back to different parts of my life. And through the changing Levi styles to my changing and growing waist sizes — one thing has remained the same: My commitment to living my truth each and every day.
Because, after all, it’s not what we wear that enables us to do good work. It’s how we perform — and how we feel — when given the space to show up as our most authentic selves.