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Career Lessons From Coco Chanel

Wish your career was a bit more stylish? Learn from Levo League's profile of Coco Chanel.

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(Photo Credit: relux./Flickr)

Among the valuable lessons they glean from the inventor of Chanel No. 5 and the woman's day-to-evening suit:

1. Branding is everything.

Even people who only have a vague idea of who Coco Chanel was ("She made perfume, I think? Or hats?") still recognize the double-C logo and associate it with the company she built -- and, more importantly for that company, with luxury. Take your own branding seriously. Being recognized for doing what you do, and doing it well, is the best thing that can happen for you professionally.

2. Be yourself -- and break the rules if you have to.

Levo League starts their piece with a great quote from the lady herself: "The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." Chanel did just that. Before she started making her soon-to-be iconic suits, no one would think of wearing jersey in public. It was essentially as if she had designed sweatpants that were totally appropriate for a boardroom.

3. Your career is a lifelong pursuit.

Chanel's history is not without blemish, to say the least. Historians still debate the degree to which she collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, to give just one horrific example. But even her harshest critics admit that she changed women's fashion. And her reemergence in the 1950s demonstrates that career comebacks are always possible.

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