First impressions – how long does it take to form a first impression? How are they created? Are first impressions lasting, or do we make a new one every time we connect?
There is a lot that goes into the formation of a first impression, but for this post, the focus is on appearance. When you first lay eyes on someone, it only takes 500 milliseconds to form a first impression of that person. That implies that before the individual in question can open their mouth to say anything, an impression is already being made, based solely on non-verbal communication, a.k.a. body language and appearance. Luckily, you have more than one chance to make a great first impression; every time you connect with someone, whether it’s your first time meeting them or a colleague you see every day, you are creating a brand new impression.
Appearance in the Workplace
Creating great first impressions in our day-to-day lives is crucial, but the stakes are even higher in professional settings – in the office, in meetings, at networking events. Creating great first impressions allow us to connect better and faster, build trust, and instil credibility – all valuable qualities in business interactions.
Yes, a lot goes into creating a great first impression. If we focus on one key piece, appearance, it becomes a bit easier to navigate.
Cutting Through the Dress Code Clutter
One of the most critical parts of your appearance is of course the clothing that you wear and how you wear it, which ties into the fact that your grooming is the most important aspect of your appearance. By clothing, I am referring to: fit, colour and dress codes. Because of shifting business landscapes, the boom in open office environments and tech start-ups, and the overall shift to more “casual” professional-wear, it’s become more complicated to dress appropriately for work. The difference between business-smart and business-casual can sometimes be confusing!
T.M. Lewin, the British heritage brand, has made our lives easier by cutting through the dress code clutter. They created a thoughtful, well laid-out infographic that outlines the differences between: business-formal, business-professional, business-casual, smart business-casual and creative, for both men and women. For instance, business-formal wear should always be worn to an interview (a two-piece suit with dress shirt and tie) but is usually too formal for day-to-day at the office.
We thought we’d share this graphic with you to help you navigate these subtle differences. Are you dressed appropriately for your surroundings? Are you congruent with your company’s corporate culture? Are you clear about the differences between business-professional and business-casual? Successfully managing your appearance will go a long way in helping you create favourable first impressions every day you go into the office!
About T.M. Lewin
London-based tailors, T.M.Lewin are historically renowned for the innovation of the coat-shirt, better known today as a button-down shirt or dress shirt. As dress codes and business cultures continue to change, one things that remains classic in professionalism is the button-front shirt. We see this garment as a staple in global professionalism. If you find yourself in need of a sharper style, T.M.Lewin has a noteworthy collection of tailored women’s blouses and men’s shirts.