We are the entity represented by our business. I recently went to a networking event and was SHOCKED at what some of the professionals were wearing. There was an attorney there that was wearing jeans (and not the really nice, crisp blue jeans, but grungy ones) and a hooded sweatshirt. I started thinking, if I was in an accident, would I call him to represent me? NO!
He might have been thinking, but I am just going networking, I don’t have to dress like I would for a client, but now I am in a position where I have to decide is that him all the time, or just how he wanted to dress that day.
In the past few decades, the dress code for the business world have relaxed quite a bit, for many professions. Gone is the time where all men in the professional world would wear suits. Now, oftentimes khakis and polos may be acceptable, or even jeans and a t-shirt!
In addition, geography and industry may play a role in what you wear. For example, I live in Florida, where it’s hot, and many professionals can get away with nice khakis and a polo shirt (preferably one embroidered with your logo). In speaking to an associate who frequently visits Hawaii, she shared that almost everyone wears shorts & Hawaiian shirts (I guess that’s where they get the name) and it is fine. I was recently in Texas, and a sports jacket with jeans and boots is acceptable.
What is appropriate for you in your industry in your area? Take a look around, look to your competitors that are being successful!
Your apparel is not the only thing that can impact the 1st impression others have on you. In addition, you may want to check:
- Is your apparel crisp or does it need ironing? Do you have stains?
- Does your clothing fit appropriately?
- When was the last time you had a hair cut or shaved?
- Are you wearing the appropriate amount of make-up? (too much can be a turn off)
- What accessories are you wearing? And are they appropriate? (For example, a Tattoo artist may be able to sport tattoos and facial piercings that would be a disadvantage to a realtor. Or pink hair can be appropriate on the hair stylist, but not the attorney)
- Also be conscious and aware of smell. If you are coming directly from a factory that has tainted the air around you, freshen back up.
Double check yourself in the morning and before meeting with clients and be sure you are putting your best foot forward!