First impressions matter. Before you speak a word, prospective clients and business partners are assessing your worth. What you wear makes an impact on the message you communicate. Are you an accomplished professional, or just another distraction? In an increasingly competitive business environment, exploiting every edge impacts your ability to make connections and open up opportunities.
Make a statement and stand out from the crowd. Invest in a wardrobe that conveys your personality and makes you memorable. The first rule of dressing well is finding clothing that fits (yes, you’ll need to see a tailor). Once you’ve mastered that concept, here are three areas to step up your game.
1. Shirt and Tie Combination
For most professionals, especially young professionals, our wardrobes consist of one or two suits. Creating variation in our daily outfit is primarily driven by our shirt and tie combination.
Shirts and ties come in solid and patterned (checks, plaid, stripes, etc.) alternatives, which are available in a number of colors. An easy way to match is to adhere to the solid/patterned principle. If you’re wearing a patterned shirt, match it with a solid tie. If you’re wearing a solid shirt, match it with a patterned tie (a solid tie works too).
Engaging in advanced pattern mixing requires some judgment and experience to ensure you don’t create a look which overwhelms (don’t try this at work). Be especially cautious of executing the monochromatic (one-color) look.
While dress shirts are relatively standard in appearance, ties come in a number of different textures such as silk, knit, wool, and cotton. Mix and match tie textures with your shirts, but be aware of the business setting and conservatism required.
Make sure your tie width and tie knot are symmetrical with your collar size. A skinny tie with a large collar is unsettling. Also, tie bars are awesome.
Add thought to an often thoughtless article of clothing and get creative. Socks act as a transition between your pants and shoes and are available in colored and patterned alternatives such as stripes, dots, argyle, and checks.
Your shirt and tie will play a role in the types of patterns and colours you want to incorporate into your socks. Where there is already an abundance of patterns, choose a solid color for your socks. If you’re wearing a purple check shirt with a solid purple tie, look for a purple which compliments the purples already in use, while using similar color intensity to that of your pants or shoes.
3. Pocket Square
Pocket squares offer a subtle and distinctive finishing touch when appropriately incorporated. Avoid matching the patterns of your tie and pocket square (this looks finicky). The pocket square works best when it compliments your shirt and/or socks.
Acquiring new pieces for your wardrobe is a gradual process. Being cognizant of each item’s versatility and purpose will help you maximize your dollar for an endless number of combinations.
Stefan Seah is the Founder and President of Puresweats.com, a premium loungewear apparel brand operating out of Vancouver, BC specializing in slim-fit quality, locally made sweatpants for men.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.com
Category: Personal Branding