While it has often been said that “Clothes don’t make the man,” the reality is that what we wear does have an impact on how others perceive us to be. To be successful in the professional world, the impact your fashion sense has on how you are perceived is the first step in developing a personal brand.
The moment you meet a new client, for example, can make or break a business relationship based on that all-important first impression. You could be at the very top of your field in terms of expertise, but if you don’t look the part, you are already at a disadvantage. When it comes to business, clothes do make the man (or woman!) and this is why you should understand how your fashion sense expresses your personal brand.
It’s All About Marketing
Believe it or not, there are tons of ways in which we are sized up without even being aware of it. In fact, the people we meet may not even know that they are making assumptions about you based on what you are wearing, the bag you are carrying or even that perpetual coffee mug you wouldn’t leave home without. Show up to a meeting carrying a tote bag from Walmart and your image will portray anything but the success.
Show up at the same meeting carrying a chic Chloé Backpack or Chloé bag and you will automatically be judged as someone who has gained an unrivaled level of success in your field. Just as you would pay for marketing to launch a new business, so too does it pay to invest in yourself. You owe it to yourself to invest in a Chloé bag, Prada shoes, and even perfumes from renowned perfumers such as Clive Christian or Chanel. Think of this as an investment in brand marketing – you, your personal brand.
Choices, Choices, Choices
No matter where you turn in life, you are always being confronted with decision making. Do you want to take a taxi to work today or are you willing to spend $25, or more, at the parking garage? Which email are you going to delete based on the image conjured up by the sender and which will you choose to open at least long enough to see what it contains.
Consider for a moment the marketing guru, Neil Patel. Businesses may get dozens of emails sent daily from marketing firms around the world but that one email from Neil Patel sparks instant recognition and is likely to either get opened or saved for later reference. Neil Patel is more than a marketer, he’s a brand unto himself. That’s what you are striving for and if your line of work takes you face-to-face with clients a good percent of the time, you want to be that spark of recognition and it all starts with your personal image, your brand.
Dress to Impress
Perhaps a better way of looking at that timeworn adage, “Dress for Success” would be “Dress to Impress.” Obviously, success is your ultimate goal but how do you gain a modicum of success? Each and every time you are recognized as a leader in your field, you can bet your bottom dollar there was something about you that was memorable. It isn’t always what you did or said, but sometimes the cool air of confidence that ‘sold’ your personal brand.
Dressing in a haphazard way may be acceptable for someone working in a back office with no aspirations of climbing the corporate ladder, but if you want to climb to the highest rung within your field, you had better do something about defining your image. It all begins with your fashion sense, so dress to impress. Make your visible mark on the clothes you wear and the accessories you use to complement each and every outfit.
It’s a Wrap
When you’ve put together the total package, only then can you say, “It’s a wrap.” You have finally put all the finishing touches on that image you wish to portray and it’s time to show the world what you’ve got. If you ever hope to get that curtain call, you had better develop an image that is memorable – but for all the right reasons.
There is so much competition out there that you will need to work towards being that one face that stands out in the crowd. While you never want to come across as arrogant, remember that your fashion sense will enable you to walk with cool confidence. You are the best in your field and what you have to offer is a cut above what the leading competition has to offer. So then, you are that actor on the stage of life, now look the part, dress the part, and the gig is yours.