The Look of Success

The recession has largely killed “casual Friday” according to respected business sources. It seems workers who once who seemingly did not care about their appearance, now do not want to appear “irrelevant” or even worse, “expendable”.

Over the years I’ve heard plenty of people lament “the world should just accept me as I am” and where that might be nice, it’s not reality.  We are all judged by our appearance.  People decide whether or not we are professional before we even open our mouths.

Your wardrobe sends subtle messages about your abilities and potential to both superiors and customers.   I often talk about this with other professional speakers; people assume if your look is dated, your information is dated.

While this may seem a trivial matter in a time of economic upheaval; in fact there is no better time to address your look.

First, it’s within your control. Much of what is going on in the world today is not.   This weekend, spend a couple of hours in your closet.   Jackets, pants and skirts from suits can often be re-purposed as separates for an updated look.  Most importantly, if it’s faded, worn, stained or just doesn’t fit – it has to go!  If you keep it in your closet, you will be tempted to grab it one morning when you are in a rush.

Second, you don’t have to spend a lot of money – often you just need to  make minor changes to what you are already doing.   When you go in to have your hair cut next time, instead of saying “the usual please”, talk to your stylist about subtle ways to update your look.

Reallocate some resources – pack your lunch one day a week and bring your own coffee once a week to free up some funds to spend at your neighborhood dry cleaners.

Early on in my working life I spent HOURS ironing my clothes.  I’d get to the office on Monday and the sales team would be standing around the coffee pot talking about playing golf over the weekend or water skiing on the lake. Frustrated, I finally asked, “How do you have time?  It takes me all weekend to do laundry and iron my clothes for the week!” They looked at me as if I had just sprouted a 3rd eye – “We don’t launder our clothes – we take them to the laundry.”


That’s when I learned how inexpensive it is to have clothes,    particularly dress shirts, professionally done!  In some  markets there are 99 cent cleaners where every item is only  99 cents!  In others the price of a neat, crisp, professional  shirt is about $1.50.  That’s less than $10 a week!

Lastly – you can’t afford NOT to do this.  Robin Ryan, best-selling author on job hunting and renown career counselor often has to coach clients to update their look as well as their resume.

The right look can have a major impact on the bottom line of your career – and your business.  Invest in yourself TODAY!

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