Source: Pixabay – Business Casual
In business, as in life, first impressions count. Big time.
It takes just seven seconds for anyone to judge your intelligence, how much they trust you, how successful they think you are and whether or not they’re going to like you.
In that time, your appearance is the biggest single factor being assessed so it’s up to you to make that count.
You may know how to make a good impression outside of the boardroom, but when you’re starting a new job or meeting key stakeholders or clients, the stakes are high. Here’s how to ace it.
- Know your environment
Every work environment and culture is unique – and you need to have a good idea of what makes it tick. Is it a stuffy tax office or a too-cool-for-school boutique agency, and what’s the “norm” they appear to expect? Use resources like the company website and LinkedIn to see how people present themselves. You can use the same trick to size up new clients or contacts.
The aim here is not to copy everyone but to see how they choose to present themselves. In any formal environment, it’s easy to make an impact with minor deviations and clever choices. But if everyone’s already dressing smart casual with designer jeans, you’re going to need to leave the suit at home.
- Define your style
Now you know what “normal” looks like, it’s up to you to choose the aesthetic that matches how you want to come across.
Are you the forward-thinking visionary in a sea of grey? Then consider a base of restrained trousers with a solid-colour shirt, coupled with a tailored, colourful sports jacket. Spruce up the jacket with contrasting hand-stitched finishing and peak lapels.
Looking for more authority? If it’s a formal environment, try a well-crafted, navy two-piece suit with a crisp white or pale pink shirt as complements your skin tones. If it’s more laid back, pair raw jeans with a solid, darker shirt and tailored jacket.
- Balance with the right accessories
The subtle details you bring to an outfit will mark you out as a true business gentleman.
The classic starting point is the watch; an area where men can invest significantly to make a statement. A classic automatic mechanism is a classy touch and the default for leading brands. Make sure to choose a mens watches that matches the size of your wrist and consider how different timepieces affect your overall appearance, from statement-making metal bracelets straps, to elegant leather straps.
As you build a collection of watches, invest in a watch winder to look after them. Modern winders have stylish cases, silent mechanisms and mean your automatic watches will be ready to go whenever you are.
Though ties are increasingly obsolete in the day-to-day business world, you can still dress your outfit up with a mid-width tie, secured with a simple silver tie bar. Similarly, a bold coloured pocket square in your jacket pocket adds a distinctive flair.
Waistcoats should be avoided in most industries as too dressy. However, if you’re a creative type, a vintage waistcoat makes a striking combination with jeans and a high-collared shirt.
Source: Pixabay – Entrepreneur
- Stay true to yourself
Whatever route you take, craft an identity that’s true to your strengths and that you feel comfortable with. If you can’t deliver what your appearance promises, the power of your first impressions will go south, fast.
Over time in a business relationship, how you talk, act and think will hold far more sway than how you dress – so be sure create a look that sets the scene for the legacy you want to leave.