Our appearance makes an impression on others. The clothes we wear communicate information about us. How we dress reveals things about us to those we encounter.
We have all heard about the importance of making a great first impression. Why is that? Simply put, as humans, we make snap judgments about others based on their appearance.
While our fashion sense and style may be a habit for us—doing what we have always done, wearing what we have always worn—changing how we dress may help us alter and improve the impression we make on others.
As a 50+ male, I long ago recognized that most clothing advertising is geared to the young, beautiful generation. Let’s face it: there are not a lot of over-50 models, of either gender. It can be challenging to discover how to dress for success, dress our age, or meet any other variety of external expectations the people we deal with daily impose on us. And they do—whether we like it or not.
The pages of fashion mags are still suited to stereotype body shapes and looks. Models are still expected to meet certain proportions, height, and weight. But we aren’t really talking about looking like models when we are discussing how to make a great impression because most of us are not models, but ordinary everyday folk working to get what we want out of life.
Our clothes and how we dress communicate huge impressions about us to those we meet and do business with every day. Other humans reach their assessments in the first few seconds of seeing us. These evaluations reach beyond how well we are dressed and how well put together we might look.
The way we dress exudes confidence. The clothes we wear communicate how successful we are and how flexible we might be. The way we look tells us others a great deal about who we are and signals pertinent impressions to others, even if their initial impression of us turns out to be totally off-base.
The next time you walk out of the house, think about the impression you want to make, especially if you are headed to meet a client for the first time or preparing to visit with a prospective new employer. Headed out on a big first date? Think about what you want your clothes to say about who you are, what you do, and what matters to you.
As in all things, be intentional. Don’t leave it up to others to manage your persona. Invest time in making the impression you want to make on others.