Yes! That certainly goes without saying. First impressions do count as they always say how we present ourselves to others will always play a huge role, whether we like it or not. This is why it is vital for one to project their self-image in the business world through their fashion. Being all focused and preparing your notes or presentation are only half of the business meeting readiness equation. The other half is simply looking the part. And this advice couldn’t be truer than when you meet with a prospective client, connection or employer for the very first time, it is good to impress. In no particular order, here some tips on how to dress to impress in the corporate world:
- Wear something you will be comfortable in
If you want to dress to impress, do not dress like a slob, dress comfortably. Follow the rules and the protocol in the business. If they allow casual then a nice pair of jeans (most prefer darker colours as it is said to make you look more professional) without any holes or frays. Dress as though you were going to meet the CEO or potential investors of the day. That way, you will look like you care about your appearances which will also impress others about you. They see your appearance first before you open your mouth to say anything so yes, it’s important to suit up for meetings.
- Bring a shine to you shoes
It’s one of the most advised things when one is going for a meeting or interview or in trying to impress a client, apart from looking professional, shine those shoes! Nothing says more detail like your shoes, whether they are shined or not. Scuffed shoes will always bring an impression that you are not paying attention to detail, so it is advisable to spend more time on the shoes as much as you do on the outfit, make sure they are shined and looking great. Remember, the very first part in being sharp is looking sharp, let it start with your shoes.
- Do not dress Down, always Dress Up
When in doubt, for men, suit and tie would be fine and for the ladies a formal skirt and blouse will play the part too. Jeans and T-shirts never impress.
- Comfort before “Style”
When dressing up for a meeting, it is of great importance to consider physical and emotional comfort before style. As mentioned before, it is for the best that you only feel comfortable in your own clothes especially during business meetings. If you feel like putting in make up or wearing heels will definitely not make you comfy at all then do not do it because then, you will have divided focus during meetings and you may appear uneasy to other people too. It’s important to engrave the fact that your clothes should not be the main focus of those you will be in a meeting with. If they are paying more attention to what you have on then you’ would have missed the points.
- be memorable
Of course you have to wear appropriate business attire but make sure it allows your personality and individuality shine through it! Weather that signature piece is a belt, pin or scarf, let your physical presentation pop up with a more noteworthy or remarkable accessory. In doing that do not get carried away and end up overdoing the whole accessory thing. Too many add-ons can clutter up or mess an outfit and of all things, gum should never be part of you. Never chew gum during professional meetings where you are even all suited up.
- Red is Timeless
The colour red is timeless and continues to attract positive attention. It can be a red jacket, a red scarf, red tie, or red handkerchief in the breast pocket. If you aren’t getting the hint by now, a business suit is not all about being flashy. The tie on your suit is no different either. Foe men, they say as a rule of thumb, your tie should never in any case be lighter than your shirt, which in most case should be blue or white and perhaps cream too depending on the suite as a whole. It is good to make sure that the type of fabric used on your tie (mostly silk) does not match with the fabric of your suit and that the colour combination does not clash either, then you know you are set!
However, in a nutshell, a suit is hands down one of the most essential outfits an entrepreneur, both men and women should have. Whether it’s for typical business meetings, networking at events, or pitching in front of investors, and one has to look clean and professional- a little bit of style wouldn’t hurt either.
For men, putting your best look forward often comes down a clean, crisp look from head to toe. We start with a svelte suit, slick tie, shined shoes, and clean hair. For women, the same rules apply. An equally unrestricted, conservative, basically safe – professional look is often the best choice for meetings, regardless of gender. If you wear a skirt with your blazer and blouse instead of dress pants, double check that it’s not too short for that event.
Finally, before you decide on an outfit for any professional appointment, carefully consider your audience. If you’re meeting someone abroad, research what the locals wear for business and dress accordingly, when meeting with a high-level executive, do your best to mirror what he or she will wear, which will likely be a tailored suit. Suit up and dress like the professional you are or aim to be because as the tried-and-true adage saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.