As you dressed for work one morning you anticipated your average work day and as you left the house you gave yourself the cursory glance in the mirror and thought, “That works”. After arriving at the office your boss asks you to join him or her for lunch, “Great! you say, I’ll see you at noon!”. Three hours later, after a busy morning, you walk into the restaurant and sitting there at the table with your boss, is the person responsible for making the final decisions on all the promotions at your firm, the promotion, that you have been waiting for, for the last six months. Your next thought, “Oh wow, I’m not dressed for THIS meeting.” This is one of those moments, when “good enough”, isn’t and all savvy business professionals know what a difference our appearance makes in the business world.
Whether or not we choose to acknowledge it or not, it is a fact that in the first 10 seconds of meeting someone they are forming an opinion of us. This first impression is made by, how we are dressed, hold ourselves, speak and our actions.
We have all walked into a room full of people, made an assessment of the crowd and made a judgment of who was running the show. It is something about the way they looked – authoritative, at ease, thoughtfully dressed.
Whether modern or classic, there are unstated codes of clothing and fashion. These rules prominently exist in the Military as a means of denoting rank and commanding instant authority and respect. In the business world the signs are more subtle but as we learn to read them they reveal much about a person.
The most prominent sign of attention to detail is the cut and fit of a garment. Clothing that fits properly no matter what the body is doing is one of the first details that one notices when looking at a well dressed man or woman. Adding to that, seasonally appropriate, quality fabrics; colors, becoming to the individual and in step with the environment or event and an updated look; all of these leave the impression that you are serious about your work and that you have what it takes to get the job done.
Dressing well is an art that when studied closely reveals an attention to detail that proves it doesn’t take unlimited funds to attain, but a well thought out plan and a little imagination.
What message does your image reflect? Are you trustworthy, approachable, on the cutting edge of your industry? The language of clothes can communicate affluence, authority, fear of success or an unwillingness to compete at the top. We all get to choose what we want to say. Do any of us have time to waste being passed over for opportunities because we don’t look the part? Start simple; start small because anyone can LOOK as if they’ve made it, even while they are still busy getting there.