If you’re in any sort of business where looks plays a part (which is just about any business where at some point you have face-to-face interaction with people), then you need to know about style. My personal favorite clothing designer is Kenneth Cole, so when I found an article written by him in Details magazine I definitely took a look.
I’ll give you the run-down on Kenneth Cole’s rules of style. One of the big take-aways of style is that clothing is a form of self-expression. It’s usually the first thing people see before you even open your mouth. As first impressions are usually formed within the first five minutes of meeting someone, this means it’s essential for you to get your personal style together. You’ll get better results in your business life and your personal life with just a few tips.
- Before you open your front door to go out into the world, take a few minutes to take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Think about what message you’re sending out with what you’re wearing. Is it exactly the message about yourself that you want others to receive? Or is there some inconsistency between your look and what you want to project? If there is, make a plan to fix it!
- If you’re wearing cologne/perfume, make sure you arrive before it does and make sure that it doesn’t linger when you leave.
- The truth is that most people don’t really dress up. The trick to look great without looking too “try-hard” is to mix a dressy look with a casual look or a rugged look with a refined look. For example, wear a blazer with your jeans or a casual top if you’re wearing dress slacks. Also, of the items you’re wearing, one item should be more tailored. If you’re going to be wearing a t-shirt, then wear cleaner jeans.
- Your choice in footwear is critical. Your shoes are the most important accessory in your wardrobe – they allow your entire outfit to come together and make a huge impact in your look.
- Find your own “personal uniform”, then layer in something new in order to maintain the freshness of your look. For example, Kenneth Cole always wears jeans, a white shirt, and his boots. He then mixes up the rest. He may wear a white shirt, a pin-striped blazer and a V-neck sweater. Another day he may wear a graphic t-shirt, with a white shirt and a vest. However, you must always have a comfortable blazer and a white shirt in your wardrobe.
- If nothing else works, wear black.
- The accessory of the season are vests. You can use them as an element of sportswear or you can wear a vest with a suit – but make sure they’re not matching. Vests are best used to break up a suit and wear them as separates. Your suit jacket, either with or without the vest, can be worn with jeans. Your suit dress pants can be worn with sneakers, hooded sweaters, and t-shirts.
- Patterns and stripes need to be very subtle. You don’t want to look like you’re wearing a matched wardrobe (or that you’re an escapee from the local prison). Think about putting on a jacket that doesn’t match your pants and wearing a shirt that doesn’t match either. You don’t even need to have your belt and shoes matching, as long as your whole look seems to work together.
- You know you’ve put together a good look when people tell you, “You look great.” What you don’t want, is people asking you, “Where did you buy your jacket and how much were your shoes?” You want your look to help present you.
- You should never look like it took you more than 10 minutes to get dressed, no matter how long it actually took you.
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