We all know that dressing well boosts both our confidence level and changes the way people perceive us. This is especially important in business: if you only have a few minutes, or even seconds, to capture someone’s attention and stand out, you need to make sure there isn’t anything in your way. Whether it’s lunch with a colleague, attending drinks, or visiting a conference, you should always dress in a manner that prepares you for any eventuality.
Business never stops, and neither should you
The way we dress says a lot about us: a freshly ironed shirt or wrinkle-free jacket demonstrates attention to detail and signifies a person who is willing to take the time out of their day to go the extra mile. By contrast, scuffed shoes may indicate someone who is distracted and isn’t thinking about the bigger picture. These are not responses you want people to have about you, and certainly not about your business. Rather, as a representation of the business you conduct, you want to radiate confidence, trustworthiness and command others’ respect.
The interesting thing about business is that you could meet a potential client, or lose an existing one, anywhere. That’s why it’s always important to keep in mind a certain level of respectability in the way you dress. In the twenty-first century there is a tendency for people to adopt an overly casual approach to clothing: this is fine, as long as you don’t let your understanding of your private life and professional life get too mixed up.
We’ve come up with our best advice on how to dress in three different everyday scenarios, so you can be sure to make the best impression.
You never know who you may be introduced to at a lunch meeting. Whether it is another member of a client’s team or someone from a parallel organization, if you make a strong impression you can add them to your contacts. For many people, lunch meetings are more important than those that take place in the office: interacting with people in a social environment can be very telling about their personality and habits.
Men: a casual suit should suffice for lunch and without the need of a tie. Depending on your industry, for some people, khakis and a golf shirt may also be appropriate. Try to do some research on the venue beforehand to get an idea of the atmosphere and clientele you might expect there.
Women: a dress or tailored trousers and camisole ought to be fine in this scenario, as long as they are still fairly conservative. Brighten the outfit with classic accessories, such as simple jewelry, a handbag and nice shoes.
Conference or Event
At an industry event or conference you never know who you might be rubbing shoulders with. This can really be an opportunity to shine: make sure you pull out all the stops when planning your outfit for a conference, as events are sometimes liable to be more formal affairs than anticipated.
Men: it’s imperative to have a smart, well-tailored suit in a high quality material. Choose a statement tie or opt for an eye-catching status item, such as a watch from the likes of Montblanc to make sure you stand out.
Women: a fitted sheath dress that is well accessorized and accompanied by a smart jacket or pashmina (weather dependent) is always certain to make a good impression. Don’t pick anything with overly bright colors or a loud pattern, but instead try to personalize your outfit through an interesting handbag or necklace.
After-Work Get Together
One-on-one or in a group, after-work drinks are an age-old means of breaking down the normal formalities of the office and relaxing into a different setting. Ultimately, this means a better and more cohesive working environment for everyone. Of course, it goes without saying that this kind of event does not mean you have free reign to drink too much, but instead to demonstrate your ability to be professional whilst kicking back and having a good time.
Men: toeing the line between too casual and overly stuffy can be hard in this situation. Try some smart slacks with a long-sleeved shirt and a jacket for a certified level of acceptability. For extra personality, you can add a pocket square or a cravat.
Women: a classy dress is always a good option for bar drinks because it can be easily dressed up or down, depending on the kind of venue.