There is a difference between dressing up and dressing well, and it is a daily decision we all make. Dressing up is for people who are only interested in covering their nakedness, but dressing well is for those who want to make a statement even without speaking. I believe that when you do something every day, you should at least be good at it (if not great).
Dressing leads to our appearance, and our appearance is the first impression we portray. If you have a poor first impression, it’ll usually take more effort on your part to dispel the prejudiced view. For example, in the office, take two workers of the same level in the organization; one is dressed sloppily and the other is smartly dressed. If a client walks in, his first impression would be that the better dressed colleague is the supervisor, and the other is the subordinate. People will usually assume that the better dressed you are, the higher position you hold in life. Obviously, changing your appearance has no effect on your talent and skill, but it’s important to acknowledge that people are influenced by the way you look. Appearance might not be as important as character or skill, but it is certainly noticed before both.
Taking this into consideration, think about how you can use this awareness to best interact with those you wish to connect with. Everyone believes that networking plays a very vital role in becoming successful, but what they fail to realize is that networking, most of the time, is the point where your outfit triggers a conversation with someone you’ve never met. Appearance is the most utilized ‘pick up line’ topic anywhere in the world. Personally, statements made to me like ‘nice shirt, lovely tie, I like your shoes’ have made me great friends that only GOD could have sent my way. The fact is, you never know who you are going to meet. At any time you may run into a potential client, a future employer, or for those singles out there, the love of your life. And like it or not, they are going to form their initial impression of you based off of how you look.
Appearance is an important business investment for anyone, regardless of what the person does for a living. It is easier and more likely that someone would say to you ‘nice shirt’ than come up to you and ask what you do for a living. Many people have probably heard of the ‘halo effect’ – people with good looks are, by first impression, assumed to be more intelligent, competent, and sociable people. It is not that those who look better are automatically more successful people; however, it may give them a leg-up in their first introduction.
Your appearance introduces you even before you even have a chance to say your name. When you meet someone new, the first thing they’re going to notice is your appearance. That kind of gives them an idea of who they’re talking to, because, let’s face it, your style does reflect who you are in some way, but it may not be ALL you. Be honest with yourself; when you believe you look good, you then feel good, and it makes your overall interactions for the day even better. A person who has self-confidence is able to accomplish more in his day to day life. Putting more thought into your appearance is one of the easiest ways to improve your social prospects. It falls under the broader category of non-verbal communication. Unless you’re really likable as a person, a lot of people will have a hard time looking past a sloppy exterior.
There are two levels of improving your look. The first is to just get yourself looking half-decent and eliminate any blatant appearance-related mistakes like dirty clothes, un-polished shoes, rough garments, etc. The second level would be to put effort into becoming more fashionable than average. There are a lot of benefits to doing this, but it takes more work. You have to learn about clothes and style, devote more time and possibly more budget to shopping. If you’re not used to dressing up, you might feel awkward at first, but as you get used to it, you actually will feel more confident. And there’s nothing more impressive or attractive than a person with confidence. Don’t be like the average Joe; no one looks out for him. Our appearance speaks, introduces, expresses, persuades and sometimes even lies on our behalf, but one thing is for sure, it’s never silent. What does yours say? …
Written by Inyang Ema – Style expert and Founder Winston & David Clothing.