Dress To Be Your Best For Your Business
Whether we like it or not we are judged on how we appear to others and the old saying that first impressions count still holds true today. Did you know that 90% of people will form an opinion of you within 10-40 seconds of meeting you? What’s more, if you’re in an interview situation, for a job or perhaps pitching for a piece of business, research has shown that you will be fully judged within just four minutes.
This is something we do subconsciously. It relates back to early man when we were constantly assessing the world around us to determine whether fight or flight was required. We look at people, prejudge on our past experiences and decide whether we want to spend time getting to know them. If you like, we are filling in gaps in our heads about who somebody is. Look at the images below and ask yourself what you think these people do based on how they appear.
Frequent answers to this question are that she’s a CEO or a television presenter. That he’s a creative or a musician. The fact is she’s a preacher who travels the world spreading the word of god and he won a Nobel prize for economics. A study by Albert Mehrabian concluded that initial impressions are based 55% on how you look & behave, 38% on how you sound, your pitch and tone and only 7% is related to your message, what you actually say.
So, to represent your business in the best possible way and make sure you nail that all important first impression, you need to think carefully about what you wear. I know things haven’t exactly been normal for the past 12 months and clothes retailers have specifically developed loungewear ranges to meet demand for a more relaxed vibe, but, if you haven’t bothered about the quality of your appearance, why should a perspective client or customer assume you’re going to bother about the quality of the product or service that you provide.
Don’t worry I’m not suggesting you all rush out and buy sharp suits and high heels, not unless your profession calls for it or if that’s your personal preference. I am suggesting that you spend some time thinking how you’d like to come across to people when you meet them for the first time. As business owners our aim is for people to “know, like and trust” us and want to buy our services. Creating harmony between us and what we do increases our authenticity. What is your business about? Is it something creative? Make sure your look reflects that creativity in some way. Is it all about clarity and structure? Then make sure your outfit is well put together, reflects your “I’ve got this” capability. The likelihood is that you will already naturally incorporate elements of your personality in the way you dress, so give it more thought and focus so others see it too.
You’re always going to be more at ease with yourself if you like and feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. If you feel confident, others pick up on this and will react positively in return. To work out what feels you, the devil really is in the detail. Keep a clothes diary for a week recording the cut of each garment, the material, the colours, sleeve length, neckline etc. and, most importantly, write down how you felt about each outfit. You’ll start to see patterns and be able to pinpoint what works for you. If something doesn’t feel fab, don’t wear it. The chances are it’s not the right cut for your body line or shape and if you feel awkward others will see that too.
The other important aspect is colour, both in terms of what you wear and your business branding. We’ve all seen those people who we think ‘wow’, they look fab with great skin and sparkling eyes. This will be because they are wearing a colour that compliments their natural complexion, that harmonises with their skin, hair and eyes. We all have an undertone to our skin that determines whether we better suit warm or cool colours and once you know which you have, you can shop and put together flattering outfits with real confidence.
It was Johannes Itten, a Swiss artist and lecturer at the Bauhaus Institute, who discovered that as individuals we have an affinity for those colours that harmonise with our natural complexion. This means you will already be drawn to colours what flatter you most and personally, I think this is hugely important when you’re considering your business branding. Once again, it’s all about consistency and being authentic. So, don’t opt for bright colourful branding with loads of zingy colours just to catch the eye if, at heart, you are actually a softly spoken person who spends the weekend in beautiful pastel shades and more muted tones. There will be a disconnect between what people see and what they get. Obviously if you’re a vibrant, bubbly person who loves radiant tones then zingy colours will be the way to go.
Already knowing the colours which worked well for me (I’m an Autumn with warm and deep colouring) meant I was able to give my designer clear direction and together we created a brand for my business which feels completely ‘me’ and reflects who I am. Not only does it feel cohesive for my clients, it makes me smile too!
If you’re looking at your business branding and would like to know which colours harmonise with your natural complexion, having your colours done will give you the answers. To find out more about Colour and Style Consultations contact me to arrange a free exploratory chat at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Natural Colour & Style helps spirited women find their natural style, dress with confidence and feel fabulous. Founder Helen Kershaw is a member of the Federation of Image Professionals International.