75 percent of employers surveyed in the U.S. claimed that grooming and dress strongly influenced their opinion about a job candidate even before the interview began. Make sure you nail that first impression and every one thereafter.
Why dress for success?According to a recent study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, students who thought study participants were wearing a doctor's coat showed higher attentiveness to those in the coats than students who thought participants were wearing a painter's coat. In reality, it was the exact same coat. The moral of the story? What you wear has an effect on how you perform, so dressing professionally allows you to perform like a professional.
The dos and don'ts of professional dressWhether you're negotiating the best direct TV deals for your hair salon waiting room, or speaking with investors about partnerships and stock opportunities, your wardrobe says a lot about who you are as a professional and a person. Take advantage of the potential of style with these simple dos and don'ts.
- DO show some personality — Dressing for success doesn't mean you're doomed to a life of black pantsuits and beige pencil skirts. However, choose colors wisely, since colors have stronger psychological reactions than you think, note researchers at St. Cloud State. You can add appropriate hints of personality in your professional attire with classic patterns, bright splashes of color, and some fun accessories to balance out the bland.
- DON'T go too crazy — There's a time and a place for trying out the latest, funkiest fashion trends, but meeting with an important client isn't one of them. Some professional fashionistas like to experiment with risky trends, but it's best to save those for the weekend to be safe.
- DO accessorize — Small and simple accessories can make any outfit pop. Not to mention, they're always a budget-friendly, versatile choice. Think pearls, thin waist belts, minimalist earrings, and nude clutches. Basic gold and silver jewelry can be used to enhance an attention-grabbing get-up, while colorful statement jewelry should have a relatively simple background.
- DON'T underestimate the power of a nice cardigan — You don't have to spend a lot of money on a professional wardrobe. Blazers and cardigans are the ultimate fashion addition for toning down a loud look or adding a pop of color to something a little too basic. These versatile pieces are ideal for quick transitions from day to night looks.
- DO consider the audience/setting — Like most entrepreneurs, you probably work with several different clients in different atmospheres, which all affect the appropriateness of your attire. For example, heels are a nice, professional choice for a quick meeting at the office, but if you're going to be running from place to place, they're not quite as practical. Furthermore, lunches, meetings at coffee shops and other laid-back settings call for casual professional wear.