It’s said that a first impression is formed within seven seconds. And like it or not, your clothes can often do the talking.
If the idea scares you, it might be time to revamp your wardrobe. Before you go shopping, ask yourself: “What does my appearance say about me?” Next ask, “What do I want my appearance to say about me?”
If you’re not a big risk-taker but want to project a positive image, sticking to the basics may be best. Think: little black dress, a well-fitted blazer and pumps. For guys, this means a well-tailored suit, tie, and polished dress shoes. These staples work for multiple functions, age groups and body types.
Your clothes should first and foremost be put-together and convey that you care about yourself, and subsequently, how others perceive you.
Moving beyond the classics and the traditional blacks, browns, navy blues and grays, you can look to inject some personality into your wardrobe. Think jewelry pieces, shoe choices and colors, fun prints on socks and ties, and so on. Start with accessories.
There are some definite rules to remember when dressing, including:
- Dress for the occasion. Know your audience. Don’t wear a business suit to a laid-back meeting and don’t wear a sundress to a power meeting.
- Obey the fashion musts. Fit is key. Too tight is not right, and too baggy can make you seem sloppy. For guys: your belt and shoe color should match. Your tie should be the right length. Everyone should ensure their clothes are wrinkle-free. An iron or a garment steamer is a great investment.
- Find your power piece. Do you have something that makes you feel amazing when you put it on? Maybe a certain necklace, watch or handbag? Use it! It will boost your confidence, which is always a good thing.
- Mix approachable and authoritative. Soft prints like florals and pastels give off an approachable vibe, while structural pieces like blazers and pencil skirts convey authority. A mix of the two is almost always a win-win.
One final tip to keep in mind when networking: make fashion part of the conversation. Love something someone is wearing? Ask him or her about it! It’s a great ice breaker.
Nikki Murry is editor of Berks County Living magazine and a freelance writer, editor, proofreader and blogger. In her free time she is an active dog rescue volunteer and enjoys spending time with her 14-year-old son, Riley, and her three dogs: Buddha and Shelly, French Bulldogs, and Bruno, a Boston Terrier.