Forget What Yo’ Momma Said: Appearances Are EVERYTHING

There probably isn’t a child in America who hasn’t been coached by a well-meaning mother: “Always wear fresh underwear.” “You’re not wearing that out into public!” “Clothes make the man.” “Dress for success.” Sometimes we heeded our old mamas, and sometimes we shrugged off their advice, and if we paid no attention to their tomes on dress codes, we lost some valuable assistance.

Appearances are everything. Yes, you may be broadminded, and you may feel like you never judge a book by its cover, but don’t count on it. Every honest person remembers deep down inside when the sight of a person triggered red flags. Maybe it was the person’s eyes. Maybe it was their posture. Maybe it was their dress. But once a person experiences that visceral reaction to danger, one is forever alert to the guises another might wear. And make no mistake, your business contacts aren’t even pretending to be broadminded.

Start by finding one professional outfit. Think of it as your armor for a big interview.

Every contact you make for our company is a statement about us and about you. When you are neat, professional, and dress appropriately, our company’s stature is elevated. The respect with which you are treated while on the job increases. The tangible evidence of that stature and respect is expressed monetarily. We keep our accounts. You earn more money. It’s a simple transaction. Dress = Profit.

As you work with a client you may dress down a little, keeping or changing some aspects of that outfit. Pair a blazer with jeans (no rips or tears, nicely fitted) or shrug off the suit coat for a tie wit a splash of color.

CNBC offered three tips on how to enhance your professional image. Have your suits tailored. That sounds expensive, but some outlets tailor for free. Equate a suit with a prom dress. We aren’t talking about a suit you wear on every dressy occasion. We’re talking about business attire when appearances matter. Invest in key pieces. It may be a vest, a tie, a necklace, a scarf, a pair of shoes, a skirt or a sweater that broadens the appeal of your basic wardrobe pieces. Dedicate a part of your closet to work attire, and then bit by bit build a small wardrobe of professional wear. Don’t let your clothing be a distraction. You need to look professional, not artsy, not cute, not chic, not anything else. Sometimes we strive so hard for a particular look that we lose it altogether when our focus is diminished into a dozen competing responses. Keep it clean and simple.

Recognize that you advertise yourself each and every day by the way you dress. The person you bump into at a restaurant may be the contact to your next big opportunity…will he/she recognize you as that special person their company needs? While you work for us, your adherence to these guidelines is most sincerely appreciated!

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