Being self-employed, it’s sometimes difficult for me to know what to wear for business events – should I go corporate and professional or should I try to stand out from the crowd? Similarly if you’re working in an office and going to a sales call, making a pitch or meeting with a client, it’s sometimes tricky to work out what to wear to make the best impression. Can you ever be too smart? What if you work in a creative environment and part of that is expressing yourself through clothing? I’ve done some research into fashion for business and here’s my top tips for dressing to impress:
Obviously, you’re not going to dress like a slob to make an impression! But you do need to be comfy. Follow your office’s dress protocol; if your uniform includes trousers, wear good quality, dark trousers without frays or holes. Also, dark clothing, according to studies, makes you look more professional.
Make the shoes shine
Both men and women wanting to impress clients should pay attention to detail, particularly shining those shoes. Worn or scuffed shoes say you don’t pay attention to detail.
Choosing a suit
A blue or black suit is a widely accepted office attire when you want to dress for success, according to reputable corporate clothing suppliers. You can dress us the suit with a splash of colour like a coloured blouse, tie, or shirt. A single simple piece of jewellery can complete the look.
Always dress up
Don’t dress down. If you’re unsure, wear a suit and tie. If business casual is acceptable for your line of work, wear a starched dress shirt, dark trousers, and matching sweater.
Comfort before style
When you want to dress up for business, take emotional and physical comfort into account before style. If you wear high heels or a lot of make-up and it makes you feel like you’re wearing a costume, don’t do it. If you do, chances are your focus won’t be on that important meeting or closing deal but on how you look. Clothing shouldn’t be a primary focus of your meeting either. If people are paying more attention to your clothing than what you have to say, you’ve missed the mark.
Go one up
The concept of dressing for success is to dress one notch above your clients. Corporate clothing suppliers advise that whatever you choose to wear, it is clean, fits well and is stain-free. Women should stay away from tight-fitting outfits that simply act as a distraction.
The timelessness of red
Red is a timeless colour and attracts positive attention. A red scarf, blouse, or jacket will give you that professional edge in today’s business environment. A red tie or handkerchief works well too. Make sure you match the red outfit with your age and meeting environment, or you risk making a negative impact.
Which shoes should you wear?
On colder days when you want to wear warm, comfy boots, bring your smarter-looking meeting shoes to work with you.
Stand out for the right reasons
If you’re able to incorporate your company’s image or corporate identity into your professional appearance, do it. Wear something tastefully colourful that matches your company’s corporate colours.
Stay away from bling
Women should avoid wearing too much jewellery. Too many bracelets will jingle and knock against furniture which is distracting. All-too often, you will be tempted to fidget with them.
You don’t have to be dull to be professional
You can dress appropriately and still be fun. Professional clothing does not have to be boring. You can spruce up your outfits with interesting accessories such as a funky tie or bespoke necklace. There’s nothing wrong with wearing an accessory that is a conversation starter and, therefore, an ice-breaker.
Impress yourself with your outfit
While donning a business suit is good, it’s common too. So you need to make your outfit your own with your favourite shined shoes, a bespoke belt, or interesting piece of jewellery.
Your hair style is also an important impression-maker. Avoid bias and cut that mowhawk; cover tattoos and take out too many piercings. You want to make a good lasting impression during that meeting.
Never underestimate the importance of dressing for a meeting or even your day to day work wear. Avoid wearing wrinkled or soiled clothing which says you simply don’t care and remember to check yourself in the mirror before entering your meeting.