A first impression is achieved within the first five minutes of meeting someone. In those minutes, many judgements are made on both a conscious and unconscious level. One of the biggest impactors of that judgement is how you dress.
Recently we met with a client at their office. Typically our office dresses in business casual, but when our CEO meets with new clients, she always looks her best. When asked why, she stated, if you value the client’s time, you will show them that their time is valuable by taking them seriously. Being your best, means looking your best! Once or twice, she was even asked if she dressed up just to meet them and she always replies, “Yes, of course!” Her impact then, becomes larger than just the meeting she was going to attend. It’s about setting the standard that she is presenting herself in a way that prepares her for her meeting with them – for them.
Dress in the workplace also extends into how an employee thinks and conducts business at work. Studies show that when an employee dresses down, they put more emphasis on smaller things within the business. On the other side, when employees dress to impress, they find themselves thinking and engaging more on a CEO level.
Here are some tips to remember when dressing at work:
Keep it Solid: Bold prints and flowers can carry a personality about them that may not reflect what you are trying to say in the meeting. It can also be distracting. Keep the colors simple, solid (or a simple pattern) and easy on the eye to make sure you are conveying the right message.
Stay Relevant: You don’t need to convert to a full briefcase, unless that is your thing. You can also carry the resources and supplies you need in a modern and professional backpack. If you want to ditch carrying anything altogether, a zip up notebook/binder is always easy to bring to the table as well.
Make the Shoes Match: If you are going to wear business clothes to see your clients, make sure that your shoes match. Don’t wear an outfit without making sure your shoes reflect the same statement! If you are wearing tattered or old shoes, it will negate the entire outfit.
Wear the Suit: If all else fails, you can always wear your suit. Studies show that a nicely pressed suit can give confidence to any man or woman throughout the day.
Clothing can really make a difference about how you feel, carry yourself and how others respond to you.