image | Dressing for success a lot cheaper than alternative
Nashville Business Journal – by Joe Morris Nashville Business Journal Contribut
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Todd Stringer | Nashville Business Journal
You only get one chance to make a first impression. And there are many, many pitfalls to be dodged.
But a little common sense and some attention to detail usually can save the day, says Mila Grigg, president of MODA Image Consulting. Grigg is often hired by companies to coach top and emerging executives how to dress to win.
“You’re really creating a brand, and you do that with what you wear, how you wear it and how you are groomed,” Grigg says. “All that determines how people interact with you, and whether or not they’ll believe what you have to say is going to be of value to them.”
When advising people on image, Grigg sticks to the basics. Your hair and grooming should be neat and tidy, regardless of style, and by going with some classic elements, your wardrobe will project a quiet confidence.
“If your clothes don’t fit, if they’re wrinkled or stained, nobody is going to take you seriously. It’s just that simple,” Grigg says.
For women, the closet must-haves include well-fitted black slacks, a classic white shirt – Grigg recommends Brooks Brothers – and a matching bag. Add to that good shoes that are clean and scuff-free and nondistracting jewelry.
For gentlemen, a well-cut, tailored suit is the major player, with appropriate shirt and neckwear playing secondary roles. And, as for women, check to make sure those loafers aren’t scuffed.
Grigg also strongly suggests dropping the backpack in favor of a briefcase.
“Do not take a backpack anywhere unless you’re going to class,” Grigg says. “You’re attempting with your appearance to say I’m in charge,’ and that definitely doesn’t do it.”
At the end of the day, it all boils down to basics.
“You’re competing for a job, and by looking your best you go a long way toward getting hired, or getting that piece of business,” Grigg says. “It doesn’t matter how smart you are if they’re looking at the gap between your blouse buttons instead of listening to what you have to say.”
5 Tips For Dressing To Make The Right Impression
1. You have 30 seconds; check to make sure everything’s where it should be before entering the potential employer’s, or client’s, office.
2. Be thorough: Is the skirt at the knee, the blouse buttoned, the tie free of stains? If you notice a problem, so will everyone else.
3. Cut your hair, trim your mustache, shape your sideburns. Hair, especially facial hair, that’s out of control on men will kill an opportunity quickly and efficiently.
4. Don’t complain about the cost of a suit. If the MBA cost $30,000 and the cheap suit keeps you from getting hired, where’s the value?
5. Accessorize appropriately. Dangling and jangling are don’ts, whether it’s earrings or other jewelry. Save the bling for later.
Joe Morris is a Nashville-based freelance writer.
Image | Brand | Fashion
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