The success of any personal encounter begins the second someone lays eyes on you … often long before either of you speaks. A professional image - appearance and behavior - helps start the experience in the right vein since people decide 10 things about you within 10 seconds of seeing you.
The business casual look that really took hold in the 1990s workplace has made it more difficult to look as professional and powerful as before B.C. While some laud the trend, others think it shows less respect for self and others.
Dress for the
Women frequently suffer more negative career consequences from business casual dress than men because they have far more choices. Women often choose leggings, stirrup pants, mini skirts and skorts. For men, casual typically means pants and a shirt or sweater. Their biggest fault may be to choose jeans or sweat pants or muscle T-shirts.
Learning the art of impression management - planning how you look and how you act to get a certain reaction - is sure to impact your career or business more favorably!
You tell others how to treat you. Your business associates and coworkers mirror whether you want to be treated as Number One or Number Ten in your area of expertise and how much respect you want.
How You Do It - Appearance-wise
Color, style and fit provide the one, two, three punch in your appearance arena. Color affects people physically and psychologically, and business casual doesn't change that. Dark colors - black, navy and darker shades of gray - psychologically connote power, authority, knowledge, responsibility, and success. Brown shows that you are dependable and stable - however you lack power and authority. White is a good choice for a blouse or shirt since it connotes clean, formal and sophisticated. Pastels denote softness and femininity. Every color has a message of its own. How you put them together sends your message.
Style: Here again business casual takes its toll, if it's power and professionalism you want to convey. A suit coat with long sleeves, slightly padded shoulders and a collar make you appear one-third more powerful. (You sales will come easier when you know when to take your suit jacket off in a sales call and when to put it back on!)
Shoulder pads add authority. Pleats and darts add bulks. Vertical lines formed by classic three-button jackets contribute to the illusion of heights, as do pin stripes. Single-breasted jackets with a center vent are best for men and women of average height. Double-breasted jackets complement taller people.
Fit: Few people have "hanger figures." Almost all of you need help to make your clothes look as if they were made for you. Many stores offer free tailoring. If not, find a neighborhood tailor who can do wonders with a nip here and tuck there. Take the shoes and any other items you will wear with the garment so your tailor can work with the real thing.
Knowing that you have
chosen the right color, style and fit for the occasion will give
you increased self-confidence and add immeasurably to your presentation
… of yourself and your products and services.
What you wear reveals eight things about you.
© 2006. Duoforce Enterprises, Inc. Lisle IL
Lillian D. Bjorseth
is known nationally for her infectious enthusiasm and her practical,
insightful and pertinent content that you can apply on the spot
and throughout your life. Lillian's a people-skills speaker, trainer,
skills coach and author of Breakthrough Networking: Building
Relationships That Last, 52 Ways to Break the Ice & Target
Your Market and the Nothing Happens Until We Communicate
CD and workbook series. She's a top graduate of the prestigious
University of Missouri School of Journalism, and a member of National
Speakers Association. Her Fortune 100 experience includes more
than 10 years at AT&T where she trained top executives in
media and communication skills. Contact her at email@example.com,
800-941-3788 (outside Chicago area) or 630-983-5308.