When we talk about dressing to impress, we’re really talking about how to know yourself. From a boardroom meeting to an informal client luncheon or dinner, it can be hard to know how to bring your own personal style to the business table. When knowing how to dress for any appropriate situation, it’s important to be aware that you are communicating to your client, employees, or entrepreneurial peers who you are, what you do, and how you do it. What you wear has a lot to do with the impression you make on other people. Just like the old saying goes,“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Learning How to Let Go
We’ve all learned from Marie Kondo and her show Tidying Up, that sometimes there are pieces of our wardrobe, our homes, and ultimately our lives that we need to let go of because they don’t serve us well or spark joy. When it comes to dressing to impress, there are certain situations which may require you to abandon elements of your personal style, even if only temporarily. For example; instead of wearing a neon color-splotched dress to a client meeting, maybe find a soft blouse in one of the featured colors on that dress, and pair it with an A-line skirt or a nice pair of slacks. Instead of wearing your dusty Uggs from your desk directly to your client meeting, putting on a cute pair of black flats or heels will not only boost your confidence, but will also make you look more credible and trustworthy to your client.
Angels are in the Details
Since you’re representing yourself and your business, a “clean and crisp” style direction is vital. This doesn’t mean your business wear ensembles have to be boring. Simply be aware of the various elements of your presentation and how they come together. Grooming is a major part of accentuating your business wear. For men and women, keeping your hair and nails manicured by either yourself or a professional consistently, in a way that is true to you, can allow you to keep your own personal flair. This will boost not only your confidence but the wardrobe you have. A win-win if we must say so ourselves.
Stewarding your Finances
Dressing to impress may seem like a lofty investment– but it doesn’t have to be. Lots of awesome business wear (that is name brand) can be found during seasonal sales or in discount stores like TJMaxx, Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack, etc. You may even want to consider thrift stores like Buffalo Exchange or resale websites like ThredUP. If you’re pressed for time and only want to invest a specific amount of your finances into your business wear, consider subscribing to a clothing service such as Rent the Runway, MM LaFleur, StichFix, Trunk Club, and or Le Tote.
Taking Care of Business
Clients will come from all walks of life, so make dress prep one of your priority research elements. When meeting with a client, dress to their level—better yet, one step above. Pair a suit jacket with a nice pair of clean cut jeans or a skirt with a simple t-shirt. Knowing how to boss up your wardrobe can add a simple elegance to your presentation. Adding one element of professional wear to a casual outfit can be vital for an informal meeting. If you’re are meeting with a potential vendor to network or discuss partnership, default to a suit or a nicely fit business dress.
When dressed professionally for any situation, it’s good to be stylish but not at the expense of function. Dressing to impress doesn’t have to mean being uncomfortable. If you need to invest in a tailor to make sure that your clothes fit properly, do so. If all else fails–it’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed, so consider investing in at least one business suit. Don’t be afraid to add a little color, print or texture to your workwear–but don’t go overboard. The most important thing is that you feel confident and true to your own sense of self.