Like it or not, your appearance speaks volumes about you before you even open your mouth
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” While it’s almost always a good idea to avoid making snap judgments about people, studies show that we unconsciously form opinions about others at first glance.
The first impression you make isn’t just about your firm handshake and friendly greeting – it’s about your overall appearance, mannerisms, and bearing. The way you carry yourself signals your intentions to other people – whether you want it to or not.
Dress well, groom yourself, stand tall, and you’ll tell others that you mean business. If you choose instead to take an extra 15 minutes of sleep and throw yourself together on your way out the door, you’ll be sending the message that you’re not all that motivated to tackle the day.
Do your clothes really send a message?
If you’re tempted to dismiss the idea that your appearance may be holding you back, think again. There is a body of scientific literature showing that we do indeed form appearance-based opinions about others’ personality, status, and competence.
This means that, whether you’re trying to step into the dating scene, score that dream job, or level up your status at work, you need to take a look at how you present yourself.
Most of us have heard or experienced a first-impression horror story – be it an interviewee who shows up inappropriately dressed or a date who didn’t bother to change out of their sweats before meeting up. When we choose to get out of the house and meet with other people, we need to avoid these faux pas and send the silent signals of success.
If you recognize the power of appearance to sway others’ perception of you, you can use it to your advantage. If you’re applying for a competitive job or trying to get that dream promotion, you can stand out from the herd with just a little extra effort – how easy is that?
What’s even more interesting is the power of appearance over our own perceptions of ourselves. That’s right – a recent study shows that good dressers report having more confidence, a sense of power, and greater attention to detail.
With all this in mind, let’s talk about how to make sure your outer appearance reflects your inner drive.
Tips for nailing the professional look
If you know you need to revamp your style, whether it’s for personal or professional reasons, start by making a thorough assessment of your closet, accessories, and grooming habits. Be honest with yourself when you go through your routine – and consider what your current choices might say about you.
Are your outfits a little too flashy for the office? Are you perhaps erring on the side of too much pizazz and letting your clothes outshine your intellect and abilities? Or, do you have the opposite problem – a dull, drab wardrobe that doesn’t convey your creativity and originality?
Think about what your goals are and tailor your look to meet them. And don’t stop with your closet. Consider your hairstyle and color, your makeup routine, and anything else that makes you, you.
If you take stock of what you have and realize you need to make some changes, don’t fret. You don’t have to drop bundles of cash for an entirely new closet or break the bank on new beauty treatments. In fact, a few simple changes may be all you need to get on the right track.
Here are a few universal tips that won’t require a ton of effort:
· Dress for the atmosphere. If you’re working in a corporate environment, choose coordinating outfits in muted colors. For creative jobs or personal outings, choose clothes that show your sense of style without being overly flashy or provocative. Whatever the ultimate destination is, create outfits that match the tone and style of that atmosphere.
· Focus on neatness over brand names. The most expensive clothes in the world will look cheap if they are wrinkled and faded. Conversely, even a more modest clothing budget can look sharp if your items are well-pressed and clean. Put your time and energy into keeping your clothes and accessories vibrant by cleaning and storing them properly.
· Hygiene. The classiest outfit imaginable will fall flat if it’s paired with stringy hair or too much fragrance. Make sure you keep your hair washed and combed, and limit fragrances – especially in the workplace.
· Carry yourself confidently. The perfect complement to a crisp appearance? Confidence. Hold your head high, give a firm handshake, and make eye contact. These body-language cues will send the message to everyone you encounter that you’ve got it together.
In the end, looking sharp gives others an excellent first impression before you even open your mouth. It’s an easy way to impress, and it might just make you feel even better about yourself. Before you step outside, take a look at yourself and make sure you’re presenting your best self to the world.
If you would like to learn how to become unstoppable like Gigi, and want to find out how to get beyond your limits and fears to really start living with fulfillment, contact her today.