Dress Smart - The Packaging Of You – How To Clothe Your Self
May 11th, 2007
YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
As David McNally and Karl Speak stated so well in Be Your Own Brand, “A brand reflects a perception or emotion maintained in somebody else’s mind… It doesn’t matter nearly as much as you think. It matters a whole lot what other people think.
YOU ARE THE BRAND
With corporations spending millions on establishing brands, redefining brands, and expanding brands, it should come as little surprise that you, too, have a brand: Yourself. And how you package that brand will be integral to the path of your career. By understanding that your identity can be defined by the way you dress and by deciding what clear message you are going to send out, you are defining your image and not allowing other to shape it. for you. This is the first important step to taking control of your career.
CLOTHES AS BRAND ATTRIBUTES
Tom Wolfe always wears a white suit. Johnny Cash is the Man in Black George Will favors bow ties. Pat Riley lives in Armani suits. Men such as these define themselves by what they wear. Their trademark styles immediately telegraph who they are and what they stand for.
Signatures such as these have long been understood by politicians. Consider some past presidents: Bill Clinton sported Donna Karan suits, suggesting that he was the very model of a modern man. Ronald Reagan epitomized the man who wears red power ties. Jimmy Carter chose cozy sweaters to imply that he was a warm and fuzzy president, a man of the people. And John F. Kennedy famously brought about the demise of the men’s hat because he refused to wear one.
The same principles apply in business. A boss who rolls up his shirt sleeves at work is telling his staff that he is unafraid of hard work. A young assistant who carries a briefcase is letting everyone know how hard he will work and how organized he is. In the early stages of a career, having a signature look is hardly important. In fact, if one is too stylish it may actually be a distraction for many in the office. Early on, you want to show people that you are competent and reliable. There will be plenty of time to amass that Hermes tie collection.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
What may be appropriate in your office may not be ideal for the world at large. Simply following a dress code blindly, without taking your audience into account, can be perilous. For instance, a black suit, which is perfectly acceptable attire in New York City, may seem off-putting and too edgy for those in the South. Likewise, a white-collar manager who works mainly in the office might seem out of place if he dressed in a suit and tie to meet the branch office in the Midwest. The message you are delivering may loud and clear, but you may be delivering it to deaf ears.
THE CONVERSATION YOU NEVER HEAR
Like ancient Greek poetry, an office dress code is rarely written down. When you are hired, you are unlikely to be told how to dress for your first day on the job, and this may leave flummoxed. So what can you do? Simple: Look around you and ask. When you went on interviews, what wear the people who hired you wearing? What were the people who work for them wearing? Pay attention and follow suit. If that fails and you are still unsure, ask before you begin. It will only reflect well on you one more example of how conscientious you are.
Similarly, if you have already been working somewhere and you are inappropriately dressed, you may not hear it until it is too late. Don’t show an employer a weakness such as poor dressing. It’s too pay attention to your peers. Who knows, the dress code may be changing right before your eyes and you wear busy waiting for the memo.
“Be your self’ is the worst advice you can give some people.”… said by TOM MASSON
Dress Better, Spend Less: Wardrobe Economics -
DRESSING FOR THE JOB INTERVIEW
You spent years getting the education, weeks setting up the appointments, and days polishing the resume, so don’t let a few minutes of bad clothes or poor grooming undermine all that. This is your first, and perhaps only, encounter with a potential employer, and you need to make the most of it.
Think of a job interview as a blind date, albeit a professional one, You and your interview have a finite amount of time to figure out if you have similar interests, compatible work ethics and skill sets, and whether you are comfortable enough with one another to spend eight hours a day together. And, just as on a blind date, you want to make the best first impression. Appearance counts. It’s not that you have to be attractive to an interviewer, but you do have to appear professional and highly competent because if you don’t the next guy will.
INVEST IN YOURSELF
Preparing for a career comes with start-up costs, but there will be a return on investment a salary. While it may hurt the bottom line at first to buy a suit, shirts, ties, and a nice pair of shoes, you have to trust in your ability to get a job and understand that this will be a relatively low-risk investment. The right suit, paired with be a and tie, will provide you with a good shirt and tie, will provide you with enough c9onfidence to walk into any interviewer’s office. It’s a confidence that speaks not only to your skills as a potential employee, but also provides you with peace of mind; while interviewing, you shouldn’t be thinking about what you’re wearing.
DOLLARS AND GOOD SENSE
Tempting as it may be to go out and purchase expensive first suit, it would be very unwise. Looking good has nothing to do with how much money you spend, and at this nothing to do with how much money you spend, and at this point in your life, why blow your budget on a $1,500 suit, when one for $250 will suffice? You need to determine what your greatest needs are and understand where to put the most money and where not to.
SHOP SMART. QUALITY = VALUE
If splurging on an Armani suit isn’t answer right now, what is? Quality. Whether it’s a handsome suit or a good pair of shoes, it is more important to buy items of quality rather than name-brand designs. To understand how quality can make a difference, go to a department store and try on some high-end suits notice, how they are constructed, how the fabric feels to the hand. Then, head over to the cheaper racks and look for suits that resemble the pricey versions you just tried on.
To dress well without spending a fortune requires foresight. If you know what you are willing to spend the most on, and roughly how high you can afford to go, you will be a much smarter shopper. One of the most basic rules when staring out is to stick with the classics: Blue suits, white shirts, simple black lace-up shoes. These items can last you for years and will never go out of style.
The majority of your investment should go to that first suit. After all, it is the armor that will protect you as you head off to interview, and you need to be flawless. A single-breasted navy suit in medium-weight wool is the way to go. You can wear it all year, and it won’t go out of style before your third promotion.
Think about the elements that will go best with it: Shirts, ties, shoes. And again, remember that you don’t need to spend a lot to get good quality: A $25 tie can look just as sharp as a $150 tie.
Whether you are graduating from school with a small national debt in student loans or wear recently laid off, the idea of spending money on clothes may appear laughable. Deal with it; if you don’t have the vision and courage to bet on yourself then what’s the point? It always hurts to win but so does losing. Pay attention, read care-fully, make a list and stick to it. You are buying your uniform for your first job, a new job, a new start what could be money better spent?