In order to score with new clients right from the beginning, the first impression - as you know - is important. That is why sales managers quite often ask me to address the topic of dress code and style. And obviously it hits a nerve because the participants in my seminars have a lot of questions when it comes to it. Because most of my participants are men, I’m addressing them today.
By the way: nobody notices when you are dressed perfectly. Carelessness, on the other hand, hits the eye immediately.
Here are five selected tips:
- Dress trousers - the bulging misery: If you have to wear suits for your job all the time, you might be happy that they don’t have to be washed very often and therefore do not take too much effort. Unfortunately, they tend to bulge with time. Temple folds disappear and knees, butt and elbows gain space. That doesn’t look neat. And that means: Bring your suit to the dry cleaners or at least to ironing1. With a little talent (and a damp cloth) you can iron them yourself. But when it comes to the jacket, ironing is an art.
- Too large is just as bad as too small: If you’ve lost or gained weight, there is no help - you have to invest. Clothes that are too large as well as too small look wrong. Surprisingly, many men don’t even know their dress size and tend to buy too large. A few tips2: The sleeve hem belongs onto the outer edge of your shoulder, not five centimetres outside of it. But if the shoulder muscle bulges, the sleeve the jacket is too small. The waistband should fit. You can compensate one or two centimetres (but not more) with a belt. The jacket size is perfect if you can comfortably fit three fingers between button and waist when it’s closed. If you don’t have a body shape that fits into conventional clothes, take them to a tailor and let them alter to your fit. That investment is always worth it. And if you are unsure ask a good men’s outfitter for help.
- Ties don’t last forever: Especially if you don’t like wearing ties, you might neglect this piece of clothing. When you have to wear ties for your job, treat yourself to a new one every once in a while. They do not cost a fortune and they can lift a neutral or even boring outfit into something tasteful. Ties are a subject of fashion too. They also wear out when you wear them regularly, especially if you just pull the knot open and closed all the time. Please tie it newly every day. And bring it to the dry cleaners once in a while, and not only when it’s stained.
- Clean, maintain and replace your shoes. Shoes have to bear a lot. And because many men wear their favourite shoes almost every day, they get worn out over time. The mean thing is that this happens in small steps, so you might not notice it. The crease gets deeper and the sole thins. If on top of that you forget to polish them they can look quite desperate - even if they were expensive. Please take care of your shoes regularly, treat them with shoe polish, bring them to a cobbler for new soles and if necessary get a new pair.
- You have to be able to stand it if you want to be an original: If you have a very unique style, you will cause offense. There is no way around that. The mistrust you gain, you will have to break down first. As such, it’s easier if you live your individuality in your free time and reduce it when you visit clients. Nevertheless, very unique personalities are sometimes successful just for that reason. At least no customer will forget them. But to position yourself like that, you need very strong self-confidence.
1 While I wrote this article I travelled in a train, 1st class. About 60% of the trousers of the businessmen around me needed a dry cleaning. So it’s not that rare anyway.
2 This comes from an expert - in my first life I was trained as a gentlemen's tailor.