Looks play a huge role in the business world, where people often base million-dollar decisions on the trustworthiness of the people they’re talking to. That’s why you’ll see businessmen and businesswomen always dressed for success – they want to make a good impression.
They only have about 7 seconds before the other person forms an impression of who they are. Then they’ll likely base their future decisions on this short interaction. This is why it’s important to know how to dress better for a professional look.
Read on to know how to dress for success to make the best first impression you can give.
1. Choose Professional Clothing
Professional clothing usually involves a suit, a tie, and a nice pair of pants. The most important part, though, is the suit since it’s the biggest piece of clothing you’ll wear, hence it’s the most visible.
Make sure that it fits you well – a suit that doesn’t fit well on your body won’t make much of an impression. Pay attention to the suit cut, there are 3: full cut, slim cut, and modern cut.
Those with a thin build and men in their 20’s would look good in a slim cut, while older gentlemen prefer a full cut. Modern cut, on the other hand, is great for people with boxier builds.
Visit a local tailor if you’re not sure how to dress up with a suit. They can whip up a suit that fits well on you, and they’ll know what you need for a professional look.
Stick to neutral colors; you must have at least 1 solid black suit and a dark navy one. If you want to sport other colors, make sure it matches with your age, eye color, skin color, and hair color. In general, you might want to avoid loud and bright colors, like pink or yellow.
Don’t know where to find great clothes? You can start at Modern Luxury Menswear.
2. Know How to Tie a Knot
Most of the time, all you’ll need is to learn how to tie a Half or a Full Windsor knot. There are other popular styles like Four in a Hand, but if you must learn only 1 or 2, you’d be good with these 2.
If you’re only beginning to learn how to tie, a Half Windsor can still give you that professional look. It’s easier than a Full Windsor, and it’s pretty versatile as well. For these reasons, along with the fact that it looks good and even, it’s the most popular tie knot.
Note that this knot is best for ties with medium to thick width. It also requires shorter ties than the Full Windsor, making it a good choice for tall men, too.
Polish your tie skills in the mirror every chance you get. A sloppy tie knot is obvious and unprofessional.
3. Get a Haircut and Style Your Hair
Your hair should be sleek and clean, conforming to conservative styles. Don’t hesitate to use some gel or other hair products to keep your hair out of your face and to give it a nice finish. With that said, make sure to get the right products for your hair and choose between pomades or mousse.
We recommend getting a regular haircut with a professional barber you can trust. Get one at least once every 4 weeks, but many experts recommend also getting one before an important event or an interview.
For men, you also have to trim your beard, but you don’t have to cut it all off. You’ll only have to make sure it’s neat and well-maintained by giving it a trim every now and then.
4. Wear Complementing Accessories
Many believe that your look isn’t complete without some accessories, like a nice gold watch. However, you have to be careful when choosing accessories; know when to add some more or when to stop. In general, less is more when you’re shooting for a professional look.
A watch and some cufflinks can complement your whole look, but be careful not to overdo it. Choose ones that will blend in, not the ones that will stand out.
Luxury watches will not only impress other professionals, but it will also show you care for quality. Make sure you have 2 cufflinks: one pair in gold and one pair in silver.
Wearing accessories that stand out too much may take away the attention of the person you’re talking to. Bracelets for men and wrist chains are a no-go, while rings are acceptable if they’re wedding rings, a family crest, your school crest, or if it’s a simple non-distracting one.
If you’re going to be spending some time outside, a fine pair of sunglasses won’t take away anything from your look. Some simple wayfarers and aviators are nice. If you have some budget, though, you may get the designer versions of those, as well.
As for the bag, go for the classic leather ones with a handle, and never use a backpack. Shoulder straps make it easy to carry them, but these can wear down the shoulder pads of your jacket. Use the handle instead or carry it under your arms.
If appropriate, don’t forget to wear a pocket square in the breast of your pocket. If you’re not that fussy about it, choose a white one – it’s versatile and it’s the most formal, too. With that said, reserve it for formal events, not for work or any normal day.
5. Wear the Right Shoes and Socks
If you can only buy 1 pair of shoes, choose a black cap toe oxford – one without any hole perforations. It’s a classic staple that will look good paired with anything. Once you already have that, you can move on to other styles with perforations and other colors.
While black is the safest color to wear, any color is okay as long as it’s dark. Oxblood shoes are pretty nice – they’re dark and they have a nice depth of color. It’s not as bright as tan, too, and it works well with gray and navy suits.
Of course, it should complement the color of your suit, tie, and belt, as well. Make sure it’s always clean and well-polished each time you step out the door. It might be worth having a cleaning kit in your office in case it gets wet or muddy.
Then, get some dress socks matching the tone of your shoes and suit. If you’re not sure which color to wear, pick black – you’ll never look out of place with black socks.
6. Other Things You Need to Consider
We’ve covered all you can wear for a professional look, but there are some other pointers you need to consider: your perfume and your tattoos.
While we do like to smell good, your perfume should never be strong and recognizable in an instant. In other words, you shouldn’t overpower an elevator with the smell of your perfume.
This is because of 2 reasons: one, you wouldn’t want the other person to notice your scent instead of you. Two, it’s offending and it might even cause an allergic reaction to the person you’re talking to. Some people’s noses are sensitive, and they will feel attacked by a strong scent.
When in doubt, don’t wear perfume at all, but make sure you practice good hygiene so that you don’t smell.
If you have visible tattoos, make sure to cover it up with the proper clothing for the same reason as keeping accessories minimal. They can be distracting, and it won’t do good for your first impression if they’re in poor taste.
If you’re applying to a company, you might not need to cover it up, though, as more companies are becoming open. If they’re on the conservative side, however, you’ll have to hide your tattoos so you’ll look clean. If you have any piercings, especially in your face, it’s best to remove it as it can be distracting as well.
Your nails are a small part of you, but they’re visible when you shake hands, sign contracts, and so. Due to that, they can contribute to the impression you’ll make on other businessmen, too.
Keep it trimmed and clean; it will make you look more professional. At the least, it won’t make you look unprofessional even if other people don’t notice your clean nails.
Dress for Success Today!
As you might have noticed, the general idea of these dress for success tips is to look clean and allowing the other people to focus on you. Divert their attention from other things like the strength of your perfume, the color of your shoes, your wild hair, or your untrimmed nails.
Looking for more fashion tips? We’ve got a plethora of other guides for you to follow. Keep in mind you don’t have to have an impeccable fashion sense to look presentable, but know why your fashion sense is falling short of expectation.