Dress to Impress

You have probably heard it said that it takes just seconds to make a great first impression, and it’s true.  Whether we are aware of it or not, we all decide how to treat people we meet for the first time on the basis of how that person looks.  You will take into consideration how they look, what they are wearing, their posture, and how appropriately they behave, all in a matter of seconds.  Of course, everyone who meets you for the first time will be doing exactly the same.  
So whether you are looking for a new job, about to go on a first date, or hoping for a free upgrade on your next flight, there are lots of things to consider to give you a better chance of achieving your goal.

I’m not going to get into the deportment or behaviour side of things here, I’ll just concentrate of the way we dress and the fact that what we wear tells other people how to treat us.
A classic example of this in films is the scene in Pretty Women when Julia Roberts’ character is sent out by Richard Gere to buy some new clothes.  Needless to say that the superior sales assistants are very unhelpful and scathing when she walks in wearing thigh-high boots, a mini skirt and a crop top (exactly how you might expect a woman of her profession to dress).  They could not imagine that she would be able to afford anything in their boutique and simply wanted to remove her from the shop in case her appearance damaged their reputation and repelled prospective ‘respectable’ customers.

When she later returned, dressed in more appropriate attire, they didn’t recognise her and couldn’t do enough to help her.

You might say that the way a person dresses shouldn’t be important, but unfortunately it is, and it’s not just about being appropriate for certain occasions.  Your perception of what is appropriate may well vary from one person to the next, as it also depends on individual personalities.  For example, if you tend to dress in a classic style, you are more likely to be drawn to people dressed in the same way, than someone who is perhaps dressed as a biker or a punk (or vice versa).

As a general rule of thumb, here are 5 top tips to choosing clothes that ensure you set the right tone and gain the respect you deserve:
1.    Choose only your best colours, those that make you look healthy and feel great.
2.    Select only the best styles to suit your body shape, scale, proportions and personality.
3.    Wear clothes that you feel (and, therefore, look) great in.
4.    Choose clothes that are appropriate for the occasion.
5.    Don’t settle for ‘it’ll do’ – you will never be completely happy or comfortable in it.

Get that job
For that important interview, it’s vital that you dress smartly, in fairly sombre colours if you want to be taken seriously.  High contrast gives you an authoritative look (black and white being the classic example).  If you have a dramatic personality it’s best not to let that come to the fore in this situation, although you could choose a dramatic colour or style of handbag or shoes (this will also make you memorable).  It does also depend on the type of job you are going for – if it’s in a creative industry you are more likely to be able to express your personality.

First date success
On a first date, make sure you don’t send out the wrong signals by dressing too provocatively, or indeed too severely.  Wear something that you have previously received compliments about to give you added confidence, and make sure you are comfortable – you don’t want to spend all the time fidgeting.  Bear in mind where you will be meeting and tailor your outfit appropriately (check it out online or ask friends who might know the venue).

First class travel
If you’ve always hoped to be offered an upgrade when you fly, it’s best not to turn up in your favourite ripped jeans or comfy jogging pants.  You certainly want to be comfortable, but not to the point of slouchy.  Choose a pair of smart trousers with a good amount of stretch and replace your hoody with a smart jacket.  It will also help if your luggage looks smart – no supermarket carrier bags as hand luggage or battered old cases.  Plus, even if it’s a really early flight, make sure your hair is clean and tidy and add a quick slick of mascara and lipstick to look ‘polished’.

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