DRESS FOR SUCCESS: WHY FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER

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Photo: Anthropologie
Photo: Anthropologie

Did you know that other people assess you the moment they see you? The first impression that one gets after a few seconds worth of glance or minutes’ worth of meeting is often used by other people as benchmark on how you will be treated, addressed and valued. And in this short span of time, the other person forms an opinion or ‘brand’ you, depending on how you talk, your body movements and language, your appearance and how you dress up. It’s the power of first impression, and one that can make or unmake a person.

While first impressions are often defined by a number of factors, including verbal and non-verbal cues, it’s how the person dresses up that truly seals the deal. Whether in the corporate setting or in a game of Texas Hold’em, the person’s choice of clothes and manner of styling often defines the kind of impressions formed and consequently, the treatment that one gets. 


DO THIS TODAY TO MAKE THAT GOOD IMPRESSION

So how do you build the best first impressions through dressing up? It all starts in the right investments, from classic black shoes to dark-colored suits. The right clothes can spell the difference between a successful and memorable meeting or a forgettable one. For men, it’s advisable to invest in classic black shoes and jackets. Sure, you only have a pair of feet but it can help if you can invest in a number of pairs of shoes. There should be shoes for casual wear, and shoes that you can wear when meeting clients or the Human Resource Manager. Shoes should be polished at all times. If the heels are worn down or damaged, these should be repaired immediately.

Photo: Express
Photo: Express

Jacket for men is also a recommended investment because this shows that you are ready for business. Make sure you have a jacket ready in your office so that you can wear in case an important meeting has been called, and you are asked to make a presentation. Wearing a jacket can send a signal that you are confident and ready to take on the job.

You can’t go wrong with dark-colored suits and ties. Dark colored suits with contrasting necklines according to style experts can help communicate your leadership potential. This is the color that will send in that message of credibility and responsibility. This should be partnered with on-point styling and the right shoes to ensure that the focus is on the face. According to experts, the use of dark colors can help give out that leadership vibe.

For women, the use of accessories and jewelry items is often part of the style bible. Although jewelry and other accessories can help boost the styling and create that sophisticated look, one should be careful not to over-do this part. For example, women can invest in classy necklaces and scarves which can add polish to the look, and can help keep the focus on the face. On the same note, scarves and jewelry pieces that are too dramatic should be avoided at all costs as these can diminish one’s professionalism and credibility.

And speaking of accessories, men can also invest in a leather-covered tablet, portfolio, nice pen and a briefcase. Sometimes, a pair of Oakley can also help especially if you are going to socials or when one wants to play poker. There is still an on-going debate if wearing of sunglasses at the poker table is acceptable. But for many poker enthusiasts, wearing sunglasses can help them concentrate and even maintain that ‘poker face’ which is critical in this game.

Photo: Express
Photo: Express

DON’T DO THIS IF YOU WANT TO SUSTAIN THAT GOOD IMPRESSION

Investing in fashion essentials and wearing it with confidence is just the start in generating good first impressions. It’s equally important to manage these impressions and sustain these for a long period of time. And when it comes to effective impressions management, it’s best to take control of one’s hubris and hypocrisy. There’s a difference between the ‘right dose of confidence’ and excessive confidence. Let your clothes speak in your behalf; there’s no need to advertise it loudly and rub it in. Some people are overtly showy when they are dressed up, and they often have this attitude to call attention to themselves. And hypocrisy doesn’t help either in sustaining good first impressions. Never claim a false image rather, one should be true to one self. Remember, in impression management, what you do after getting that first impression is equally important as well. 

First impression matters, and it’s often too difficult to unmake a bad one. For this reason, one must be careful in meeting new people, or when attending an event for the first time. Treat each initial meeting or encounter as an opportunity to showcase who you truly are, or what you want to become. And this is best done by choosing the appropriate clothes to wear, at the right time. It’s called ‘dressing for success’, and one that can define your personal brand. It also helps if you are bold enough to experiment. Try to see what colors or types of clothes will get a favorable impression. And once you find the combination stick with it and wear it when meeting friends to play poker, or when applying for that dream job. 

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