When making first impression, one can rarely convey all of his or her qualifications, years of experience, or knowledge. Instead, key to a first impression is appearance, which includes dress, grooming, and body language. Many professionals refuse to acknowledge that appearance can have such an impact on success. But the reality is that a positive image is an important complement to any professional’s abilities and experience.
At Corporate Class Inc., we are here to help individuals create a professional image that conveys confidence, competence, and a unique personality. In both our personal consultations and group presentations, we discuss the 10 essential elements to creating a credible image. In this post we’ll review these elements, looking at a few in greater detail.
What are the 10 essential elements to creating a credible image?
- Fit and tailoring
- Fabric choices
- Finishing touches
- Age appropriate dressing
- Managing trends
- Dress codes
A look at …
Fit & Tailoring
No matter how sharp your suit or stylish your dress, an outfit needs an appropriate fit and tailoring. When you buy a new jacket, pants, or dress, getting the necessary alterations to find the perfect fit is necessary before you wear a new piece. Often the clothing store where you purchased a garment will offer alterations; if not, visit your local tailor.
- Areas to watch for:
For women, common areas in need for adjustment are the waist, shoulders, chest, and hips. The general guideline is that a suit or dress should never be tight, but should rest comfortably (not loosely) on the body. For example, at the waist, loose fabric should be brought in so that a dress doesn’t appear to be baggy. Shoulders greatly vary in size among women – if you have wider shoulders, an unaltered jacket can look tight and cinched at the shoulders. The shoulder seam should fit comfortably on the base of the shoulders.
- Flattering your body type:
Alterations are about making an outfit work for you. Just a few alterations can make a huge difference in your appearance – highlighting the most forgiving aspects of your body type and making you look neat and composed.
Knowing your context is essential when choosing an outfit. Where are you going, and what is the occasion? What is the dress code of your office, or what is the formality of an event? Answering these questions will help you narrow down the appropriate attire choices.
- Workplace Culture and Dress Code
For everyday attire, understanding your workplace culture and dress code can help you to build your wardrobe. Consider not only what is appropriate for daily attire, but also what others wear for formal meetings (like board meetings or presentations) or dressing down (like casual Fridays). This will help you to find a range of pieces appropriate for any day at work.
- Special Occasions
For special occasions, appropriate dress must be determined on a case-by-case basis. When heading to an interview, business formal is usually the norm – and it is safer to dress up rather than down. For events like galas, dress codes can range greatly: be sure to verify in advance whether an event is black tie, white tie, black tie optional, or other. These dress codes have varied requirements, so understanding the differences in advance is key.
A great ensemble isn’t simply about clothing: the finishing touches of well-chosen accessories make an outfit complete.
- Stylish Accessories:
Accessories can add style and pop to an outfit. Subtle jewellery, such as small pearl or diamond studs, can create a look of sophistication. Bold and bright pieces, such as striking necklaces or glitzy bracelets, can make a statement at parties or holiday events.
- Business Accessories:
Accessories can also serve practical purposes. Business accessories that are sleek and elegant are important for creating a coherent look and for functional ease. Ensure your repertoire includes a fine portfolio, briefcase, or business bag, as well as business cards, cardholder, and stationery that align with your personal brand.
This post captures just a few components of a credible image. To learn more about how you can develop your own professional image, see our page on personal and business image consulting services in Canada and the US.