Regardless of whether we agree or not, perception is significant — especially when we are networking. Our image is the first thing people register when they encounter us. Our appearance is the very first impression we provide.
Presentation is a serious business, driving much of the retail market. Forbes regularly publishes articles on the subject including ‘The 20 Best Fashion Blogs For Professional Women’ and ‘What Not Wear To Work’.
But it doesn’t need to be complicated. Sticking with a few simple rules can take the hassle out of figuring out what to wear. Below are my top tips for business men and women who want to succeed as soon as they enter the room — whether that room’s filled with colleagues, clients, or potential new contacts.
- Classic works. A well-cut above the knee black tunic can be a mainstay for women. Similarly, men can always rely on a good suit and silk tie. As Coco Chanel once said “Elegance does not consist of putting on a new dress”.
- Don’t flout the code. Codes exist to preserve a standard, so stick to it. A man with an untucked shirt will make him look like a slob, not a relaxed, approachable businessman, as intended.
- Know when to stand out. A chic after-hours function is not your runway. These events are not designed for you to debut a new look, or push any boundaries. Stick to an outfit you know and already feel comfortable with. You can always experiment on the weekend.
- Prepare for the worst. You should always prepare for the worst case scenario: humidity, torrential rain, a coffee spill. Keep a stockpile of last-minute ‘style saviours’ on hand, including hairspray, nail polish remover and bobby pins. For men, keep a spare tie on standby.
- Do your research. Gauge the dress code by looking through photos of the same function held the year before. And if in doubt, there is no harm in clarifying what to wear with the organiser.