My wife quotes from Mark Twain all the time—“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” You’ve heard it said that “The Days of wearing suits are gone. Casual Fridays? Appearances are irrelevant, it’s only the results that matter…”
All of these comments ignore the fact that I have and always will continue to judge a man by his appearance. I remember “Dress up Day” in High School and what a difference “dressing up” made in the mood of the school. Doors were being open to me as a courtesy to me, manners were the order of the day—even the way everyone ate lunch—what a difference.
We all know that people make a decision about you within the first three or four seconds of meeting, then the next 90 seconds or so of confirming our first impressions. Even before they open their mouths, I seemed to have sized them up and profiled. My thoughts may change in time, but I still think a person only has one chance at the “first impression.” And that “first impression” is the one that stays with me.
I remember my father, and how he never left the house without a hat. At many of the companies he worked with, a hat was mandatory and part of the dress code of the day. At restaurants in NY, a jacket and tie were required for seating-and even in the Washington area, jackets were required in the main bar in Clyde’s of Tysons and many other Washington restaurants and bars. Walking into a room filled with well-dressed men made the bar scene more comfortable for me—and I was sorry to see it go.
Amazing how one of the “powers of clothing” is that it can transform an individual’s state of mind. Dress like a professional businessman and you’re more likely to act like a professional businessman.
Dale Carnegie once said people know you four ways, the first one being “What you look like…”
Jeans and T-shirts are fun, I admit—but give me a well-dressed person and I’m more likely to be interested.
In a nutshell: Focus on “Fit.” Clothes too tight make you look cheap and heavy. Clothes that are too large tend to make you look fat. Choose your colors—Dark Blues and Grays will give you the look of authority—it says “I can make a difference.” And get yourself a consultant now and then. Trends change, as do colors and “cuts.”
Finding a “Personnel Consultant” is always a great idea—let someone help you in your search for that traditional look that is all yours.
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