"Get Scrappy!" Blog
Simple Reminders for Dressing for Success this Holiday Season (and for all of your presentation opportunities)
Posted November 29, 2012 by Terri Sjodin in Archive, Public Speaking, Sales Presentations, Small Message Big Impact
One of my mentors and dear friend, Nido R. Qubein says, “If you want to make it on Wall Street or Main Street, pay careful attention to the clothes you wear and the visual impact you have on others.” This wonderful pearl of wisdom is just as appropriate during the holiday season as it is in our day to day business lives. It’s natural for everyone to think that the way they dress is absolutely “fine” all the time, whether or not they know anything about clothes. Unfortunately, dressing for most people is a habit and many of us just throw on clothes without much thought behind the impression we will make on other people. As long as we don’t wear shorts to work and a tuxedo to the company picnic, we assume no one will notice, or even care. This is a big mistake, particularly if you deal with the public on a regular basis.
Here are a few simple dressing for success tips to keep in mind when presenting (and to consider during business holiday events as well):
- Put some thought into your “look”, and dress appropriately for the type of meeting you are attending. There is a big fat line between overdressing and under dressing, so get to know the culture from which your audience will be drawn. Special Note: During the holidays, if you are attending a special function, you should still consider your business image. If it’s a company party, you should not dress like you’re going to a night club.
- Be comfortable, and look neat enough so as to feel self-confident.
- Make sure everything fits properly. Get to know a good tailor or dressmaker. Whether the clothes are new or old, they simply must fit well.
- Colors need to be coordinated. If you don’t know the rules, do some further research on what goes together. This is where a clothing consultant is invaluable.
- Shoes should be clean and polished. ( FYI, your socks should match your pants not your shoes.) Accessories need to be tasteful and should compliment your clothes. Don’t overdo it. When in doubt ask for the opinion of someone you trust.
- Clothes should let people know you are aware of what is currently in fashion without looking like a page out of a magazine.
- When in doubt, dress conservatively. Better safe than sorry!
Cost of Dressing Well
Yes, dressing well does represent a financial investment, but it is one that will pay you back many times over. It may cost you a little to upgrade your wardrobe, but it’s an investment in yourself and your career. Some people spend thousands every year to look good. You can too if you want to, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money on clothes to look neat, professional, and attractive. There are discount stores that sell clothes for practically less than what it costs to make them overseas. I also know people who dress extremely well without ever buying anything new. Yes, you may have to shop around a little, but it is not hard to find bargains.
If you have a special event where a lot of decision-makers will be present and you don’t want to buy an expensive outfit – borrow one from a friend or relative. They might be happy to lend you a dress, blouse, shirt, or tie. You are only going to wear it once anyway, and, who knows, it may deepen your friendship. Just remember to give it back to him or her after the obligatory trip to a reputable cleaner!
Dress so that every single day when you walk out of the house, you’re “dressed up” and feel like a million bucks.
One final note… Holiday luncheons, dinners, and networking events are excellent opportunities to employ your three-minute elevator speech. So, you may want to polish that up as well!
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