We all know that looks matter. What most of us don’t understand is just how much looks matter, for example… Have you ever been to a job or promotional interview and couldn’t understand why you never got past the first round? How could they decide that you weren’t the best fit for the job in less than 10 minutes?
The majority of interview candidates will fail to make it past the first interview stage. So why is this? And can dressing for success really help?
In a word, absolutely!
Here’s an example… Let’s say you’re applying for a job in a local sales department. When you go for your initial interview, you’ll meet a member of the sales team who will ask you a few questions to get an idea of who you are. Experienced sales people are often an amazing judge of character – they have to be to do their job well – and can read a person’s personality like a book.
After all, that’s how they make sales!
You can swan into an interview in your rented or ‘trusty’ Armani suit (that you only ever wear to initial interviews in order to make an impression) however; the interviewer will probably know within about 5 minutes whether it’s an act or whether you really are the person your clothes say you are! And it’s not just sales people, it’s all people.
You see when we meet someone our unconscious mind starts judging straight away, using whatever objective data is available to form an opinion about the person standing in front of us. More and more in today’s society, the way in which we present ourselves has a strong impact on how we are treated and in many cases, can even influence the kind of professional opportunities we are given.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that the more expensive the outfit, the better you will look and the more you’ll succeed – it doesn’t work like that!
Whilst it is important that you look classy and sophisticated, it’s also important to remember that splurging on high-end brands is not the right way to go about this. Rather than focusing on the cost of your wardrobe, focus instead on building your own personal brand by dressing in a way that suits you and your personality perfectly in every way and for every situation.
If you’re straight-laced and professional then work those heels! If you’re creative and quirky then don’t torture yourself with a form-fitting pencil skirt suit, embrace the colours and fabrics you love! Nobody does their best work when they don’t feel right in what they’re wearing.
The importance of good personal appearance
Showing that you have put time and effort into your personal appearance shows that you care about the small things, which of course looks very good in front of a potential employer, client or business partner; but it’s not all about getting dressed up.
In order to build a professional and effective personal brand, you need to ensure that your outer appearance doesn’t mask your true personality; instead your wardrobe and your attitude need to complement each other perfectly.
For example, if you are a bit of an introvert then wearing bright colours, bold prints and studded shoes may well overpower your more delicate and straight-forward personality. Sticking to a colour palette of just 2-3 different tones and wearing the look superbly well is far better than having a multi-coloured wardrobe and feeling confused over the clash between your outward appearance and inward feelings.
What your style says about you
Anybody can dress well, but radiating style both inside and out is a completely different matter. A woman who knows how to wear business attire well and who can show that they are comfortable and confident within themselves, showcases a number of excellent qualities that many employers look for in their staff and service providers.
It may sound ridiculous but showing that you have the confidence to dress well and in a way that you like, proves that you possess a number of admired personal qualities and skills, such as:
- Rational risk taking
All of which sound like fantastic job skills right? Dressing well and radiating style means establishing a connection between your personality and your appearance.
Maintaining your perfect style
If you have to put too much effort into your style and find it very difficult to maintain, then it isn’t your true style. When it comes to personal branding in business, if you can’t maintain your dressing style then people you deal with may wonder what else was an ‘act’ upon their first meetings with you.
You don’t have to feel uncomfortable to look stylish. One of the main roles of professional personal stylists is to help their clients feel as at ease as they do when wearing their most comfortable (and possibly their most casual) clothing and carefully combine it with how they feel when they are dressed to their best; from there your perfect style is formed.
Not every company and job role allows you to dress in any way you choose but there are always ways to make an outfit your own, perhaps by wearing a special piece of jewellery or accessory, or a particular colour that you like and choosing fits that compliment your body shape.
The end goal? To dress well in your work but also to prove that you are exactly who your style says you are!
Luisa Kearney is a professional online personal stylist who offers virtual personal styling services. No matter where you are in the world, provided that you have an internet device and internet connection, you can enjoy the services of a professional virtual personal stylist at any time you choose.