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We recently spoke with Annelise to discover her journey and explore how she uses corporate fashion and personal style to shape her personal brand and bolster confidence. 

Annelise's coaching expertise stems from more than 15 years of experience in public speaking training and five years in coaching. Her personal story of overcoming a lisp and a fear of public speaking allows her to empathize with the challenges many face. Through her unique approach to style and branding, she empowers women to enhance their confidence and master effective communication.

“Without a doubt, if you're aiming to make a lasting impression, embody memorability, and exude confidence, look no further than FAM. My journey with them has been nothing short of extraordinary. From the warm and genuine interactions with Tanya, who consistently goes above and beyond, to receiving impeccably curated pieces that elevate every occasion, FAM has set the bar sky-high.

As a woman constantly in the spotlight, captivating audiences is paramount. With FAM, I've found more than just a fashion rental service; I've discovered a partner in empowerment. Their selection isn't just about looking fabulous; it's about feeling incredible. Every garment they provide not only enhances my appearance but also boosts my self-assurance. With FAM, I step onto the stage not just dressed but truly adorned in confidence and beauty.”

How did you get into the field of speaking coaching?

I was forced into it! Ha! 

I HATED speaking as a kid. Didn't like the spotlight and was super shy. 

When I was 8 years old, I had a strong lisp and crippling social anxiety. So, my parents made me see a speech pathologist and from then I was enrolled into a Public Speaking co-curricular class I would attend every week. This then continued throughout my entire 10 years of schooling. My confidence and skillset grew and I started competing in state and national competitions. When I was 15, I travelled to America to represent Australia at the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships.

Yep... safe to say I'm a bit of a speaking nerd. 

When I graduated, I decided to sit for my diploma and certification to teach Public Speaking. I returned to school as a Public Speaking teacher for 5 years as I studied for my double bachelors at University. 

Then, in 2020 I decided I wanted to be my own boss and Her Speaking Coach was born.  


How do you support your clients in building confidence in their speaking abilities? What strategies do you use to help them overcome stage fright or anxiety?

This is a massive question! My strategies and approach will differ for every client because every voice is unique. 

Overall, we build confidence through evidence. So, my clients will be gradually exposed to more speaking opportunities and learn to build trust in themselves. 

Once we have built more trust and comfortability, we focus on mastering messaging and delivery. 

I grew up with anxiety so know all too well (cue T Swift) how it feels to suffer from something like stage fright. In this circumstance, we build a strong foundation of psychological and physiological techniques to feel more in control of the mind and body when presenting. 


How do you define professional attire for women in a corporate setting?


I think the definition of "professional" is subjective, and also evolving. 

I certainly like to challenge tradition by wearing bright colours and, sometimes lacy garments. However, I also want to acknowledge the privilege that I work for myself and am paid to speak on stage. I'm not exactly showing up as an employee every day in an office. 

I believe there's something to be said for incorporating femininity in professionalism. I believe a lot of women in corporate have been made to believe they need to blend in and not draw any attention to themselves (no wonder we struggle speaking up!). However, this means we are often stuck in our masculine energy all day and can feel out of alignment. 

Professional attire for women should feel empowering and bring out your personality through choice of accessories, colour or how you wear your hair. 

I'd like to believe we are moving towards the following sentiment:

BYO personality is IN. Being serious to be taken seriously is OUT. 


How do you balance personal style with corporate expectations?

It depends on the company and the audience. I will always do my research. However, I never want to compromise my brand or personality for a gig - so I will always wear something that feels appropriate to the audience and authentic to me. 

In the past, I have hosted workshops for female-founded companies that are challenging the norm and have a bright, zesty online personality. Their audience is also all female. At events like this, I like to dress feminine and fun - bright colours, maybe a cheeky corset, red lip and cracked heels. 

In other circumstances, I might ditch the corset for a blouse instead! 


What should a woman consider when dressing for different types of corporate events (e.g., presentations, meetings, networking events)?

I would encourage any woman to consider the 3 C's.

Is it Captivating? - does it make an impression?
Is it Comfortable? - can you raise your hands, walk around and move freely in it?
Do you feel Confident? - do you actually FEEL good wearing it?

P.S. Avoid loud jewellery or accessories if speaking on a microphone! 


What are the must-have pieces for a corporate wardrobe?

Comfortable pair of stunning heels. They should feel like sneakers but look WOW! 
A few stand-out blazers that you can pair with any outfit.
A statement item. This is your signature or trademark look. It could be a lip colour, fabric pattern, accessory etc 


How can someone create a versatile wardrobe on a budget?

Creating a versatile wardrobe on a budget is all about making thoughtful choices and investing in quality pieces that can be mixed and matched. One key principle is to avoid fast fashion; while it may seem cost-effective initially, its low quality often results in garments that only last a few wears and contribute to environmental harm.

Instead, focus on building a collection of timeless pieces that can work across various outfits and seasons. By selecting well-made, classic items, you can create a wardrobe that serves you well for years to come and supports sustainable fashion choices.

For the fun pieces with that real WOW factor, that wouldn't necessarily make it into the weekly wardrobe rotation, I love to visit the girls at F.A.M. where I get access to unique designer pieces that help to build an even more elevated look. It's a cost-effective way to wow at big events without contributing to heavy consumerism and maintaining a low environmental impact.


What trends do you foresee in corporate fashion for women?

A greater incorporation of femininity - brighter colours and diverse fabrics. 

Greater representation of personality and branding in clothes! 

 And thats why I love using Fashion Alta Moda because they have a diverse range of styles, colours and patterns



 Follow Annelise McCarthy 



F.A.M.'s Style File is a celebration of the taste-makers of Australian style. If you are feeling inspired to explore your personal style, luxury designer rental is the perfect way to experiment with your look by trying new designers, styles, colours and prints as often as you wish without committing to long-term ownership. Experience the joy of wearing vs owning! For all your designer dress rental needs from elevated daywear, event dressing, to cocktail parties, to dramatic black-tie gowns, Fashion Alta Moda has you covered.