I don’t think people realize what an impact that first impression has in the immediate moment when you meet someone, or the impact it has on their lasting impression of you. On my business cards I state that “Your clothing speaks long before you do.” What that means is that whether you say a word or not, what you’re wearing is talking. Your clothing could be talking softly, or it could talking very loudly. What do you want your wardrobe to be doing for you? Or better yet, what do you want your clothes to NOT be doing for you?
As a wardrobe designer, my job is to get to know my clients well enough to help them communicate the overall message they want to convey with their image. What are some of the messages your clothing communicates, you might ask?
Clothing can communicate your position in the company.
It can communicate how much you need the other person’s business in a sales situation.
It can communicate what your attention to detail is, or your lack of attention.
I’ve always taught that selling is nothing but a transfer of energy. If you’re excited about whatever you’re selling, that will be transferred onto the individual you are talking to. You will very likely sell your product, because you get them excited along with you. If you’re not excited, that will also be transferred, this time with the opposite result. So, relating that to what you wear and how you wear it, when you look good and you feel good, and your clothes communicate the exact message that you want to convey, the result is harmonious.
Your wardrobe communicates trust, wisdom, status, and wealth. It reveals how conservative you are, or how much of a risk taker you are. If I listed all of the things that one’s wardrobe does, and how it communicates the message when it’s all put together, they would take up the rest of this article. They are truly that powerful. Whether you are making first impressions, building relationships, or enjoying the relationships you’ve already built, your clothing is always communicating.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been addressed as Mister Baker just because of the way I was dressed. I’ve been given VIP treatment on airplanes and at restaurants because I looked like a VIP. I’ll never forget the first time a flight attendant ask if I wanted to sit in first class, just because of what I was wearing. Since that time, I’ve always dressed very well when flying.
So what is your wardrobe saying about you? Are your clothes communicating that you’re done and tired of business and the problems of life, or are they conveying how serious you are about what you do, or that you enjoy what you do? The crazy part of it all is that your clothing sends this message long before you even say a word.
It’s not about brands or styles. It’s about how it fits, how it feels, and what it makes you feel.