It’s tempting to believe what you wear doesn’t matter, but the truth is how you present yourself can directly affect the opportunities that come your way.
To care about your clothes and dress is not vain — it’s strategic and critically important. Before interviewers or potential clients even assesses your work, for example, they’ll evaluate you on a number of nonverbal cues. These can include how you carry yourself, your degree of eye contact, and what you’re wearing.
If you want to land a job or project, or be taken more seriously, consider improving the way you dress. Here’s how.
1. Research the company’s work culture.
Be prepared. Different jobs have different work environments and different attitudes about clothing and appearance. Find out in advance if the job you’re after is part of a strictly business professional atmosphere, or if life in the office is more casual and laid-back. If you’re still unsure, it’s a good idea to err on the side of dressing up rather than dressing down.
2. Wear clothes that fit.
A shirt that’s too loose can appear sloppy, while pants that are too tight may be inappropriate. Ensure your clothing fits properly, and if not, buy something new or take your clothes to a tailor or seamstress.
3. Value cleanliness.
Not only should clothes be well-fitted, make sure they’re clean and pressed. This will signal to others you’re put-together in both appearance and your professional life.
4. Keep fragrances and jewelry minimal.
Wearing gaudy jewelry might not only clash with your outfit, it can also give others the impression you’re ego-driven. And no one wants to be suffocated by strong fragrances in the office.
5. Invest in good grooming.
Consider getting a haircut once every six weeks, as well as manicures. Whether you’d like to maintain a well-groomed beard or mustache or prefer being clean-shaven, if you’re well groomed, it shows you want to make a good impression. And soon, others will treat you in the highest regard, as well.
6. Avoid everyday wear.
Shorts, tank tops, flip-flops … save these for your days at the beach. Keep in mind many businesses may frown upon these kinds of clothes.
7. Remember: Less is often more.
You don’t need to be made of money to dress well. In fact, you can easily put together an affordable classic business look. Depending on your work situation, you may even be able to spice up your outfit with color or stylish pieces.
When done correctly, how you dress can express your personality, accentuate your best features and help others see and understand the kind of professional you are and will be. Now go forth and refresh your look!