First impressions take a fleeting thirty-ish seconds to form, yet they stick for ages. So how do you make sure your business partners will see you in a good light? Well, there are a few strategies you can implement.
Get into tailored clothes
If you can invest in only one style choice, invest in professional suit tailoring services. The right fit makes all the difference in the world. Even if an outfit off the rack fits you well enough, it could probably be improved in the details.
Pay special attention to how a piece of clothing fits your shoulders, waist, hips, and leg length. Even a tad of excess fabric in any of these spots looks baggy and careless. At best, people will think you’re wearing hand-me-downs. At worst, you’ll look like you had a health crisis and rapidly lost too much weight.
Conversely, too little material in these key areas results in overshort cuffs, strained seams, weird stretches, and unflattering overly tight fits. These all come together to cause awkward movement that ruins your whole image.
By contrast, a properly tailored professional outfit makes your silhouette look better-toned and more elegant. It projects an air of confidence and authority.
Pay attention to your grooming habits
The importance of good grooming cannot be stressed enough. Even if you do have to wear literal hand-me-downs, being clean and tidy will immeasurably improve the overall impression.
Wash, trim, and comb your hair. Trim your fingernails and clear out the random dust and dead skin cells that get under them. Don’t let your lips get chapped. Shower regularly and use appropriate deodorant.
Avoid overbearing scents. If you struggle with body odour, consider antiperspirants or scent-neutralising ingredients. Mint, citrus, lavender, and tobacco (the pure plant scent, not the cigarette type) are good choices for combating unpleasant odours.
Pay attention to your breath as well. Brush your teeth regularly and thoroughly. Use floss, mouth wash, and whatever else you need (e.g. chewing gums or breath mints). Keep up with your dentist appointments. Sometimes unpleasant breath indicates a medical condition.
Likewise, take care of your skin. Keep yourself hydrated. Use appropriate skin products like after-shower lotions, hand creams, etc. Look for those that contain nourishing ingredients like cucumber or aloe vera. If body odour problems persist, visit a dermatologist. Just like teeth, skin sometimes signals health issues via smell, flaking, dryness, oiliness etc.
Dress in a memorable fashion
Your clothes and accessories are your initial and strongest presentation tools. Take full advantage of them. As much as your business context will allow it, add a memorable personal touch to everything you wear. Your outfits need to inspire curiosity and invite people to pay attention to what you say and do.
One great way to achieve this is to dress in bold colours. Opt for a well-tailored professional suit in a statement hue like deep red, evergreen, emerald, royal purple, or even unconventional pigments like silver or hot pink. Just make sure they work with your skin tone and hair. Your seasonal palette is a great starting point.
Blue is a staple colour of business outfits and a great opportunity to stand out. Most people go with navy, so consider switching it up to royal, sea, sky, pigeon, or powder blue. It strikes a great balance between classic professionalism and strong personal flair. In the conventional sea of black, charcoal, beige etc. you will be sure to steal the spotlight.
Learn what suits you
Like colours, the cuts, patterns, and styles you wear need to work for you, not against you. The way you part your hair might make you appear older. Your favourite hue might give you a sickly look. Take a day to review the effect your wardrobe has on the people who see you.
Pay special attention to accessories. They make or break the outfit. Evaluate your jewellery, belts, scarves, bags, purses, shawls, hats, caps, sunglasses, gloves, cufflinks, pins, brooches, everything. Don’t forget your footwear!
Consider asking a stylist to help the next time you buy a garment. Those consultations are typically free. If you won’t be shopping anytime soon, recruit your friends. Model your combinations for them and ask for some honest rough love.
Dress for the top
You never know who you’ll meet on a given day. Dress in a way that conveys competence and respect to seniors and peers alike. Even if your office is relaxed dress-code wise, your business casual ensembles should still look professional.
Subtext is key here. When your outfit fits people’s idea of a “uniform” for your industry, you are automatically seen as more credible. This can be a literal uniform, or a detail, like a bowtie.
Another subconscious message it sends is that the person you’re meeting merits dressing up for. Everyone likes to feel important, so classy clothes are an easy way to win people over in your everyday business dealings.
To sum up, prioritise neatness. Groom yourself well and invest in tailored, professional outfits. Opt for combinations that look appealing to audiences of any rank. Take advantage of colours and accessories to make yourself memorable. Above all, learn what works for your skin tone, hair, and build, and play to your strengths to stand out in the best way.