Dressing for success when conducting business

It's important to look neat and tidy and not be too flashily dressed. If you look untidy, you're considered to have an untidy mind - it's as simple as that!

Lynda Chalker MP, Flying High

First impressions are important, because there’ll be many situations where you won’t have the time to get to know someone very well; instead you’ll need to decide then and there whether you trust and believe the person who you are dealing with.

By getting first impressions and the image of your employees right, you can expect an increase in sales or positive feedback, simply because your clients will like what they see and start to trust and bond with you more quickly. Clients always feel more understood and valued when they can speak and deal with someone like them.

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Michaela Jedinak’s key notes and info about power dressing:

The first step to power dressing is honest self-assessment

  • Power dressing is about being honest with yourself, and knowing your strengths and weaknesses: the same rules as in business

  • Every woman has features which are better than others – the skill is bringing the good ones into focus and distracting from the weaker ones

  • It is important that a senior business woman looks groomed and at her best. You can’t afford for your outward appearance to be what is letting you down and there’s no excuse for it. A woman in that position has the means and the resources to achieve it. If the problem is a lack of skill or time then get a team that can help you – again, the same rule apply here as in business.

  • Nowadays it is also much easier to do your clothes shopping since the advent of online shopping, but the difficulty still remains of what to buy and where to look when you’re short on down-time. That’s why we started Joy of Clothes; to equip you with choices when it comes to how you search - it can be fast and efficient, or it can be an indulgent search but it’ll always be a successful one: www.joyofclothes.com. The key is still knowing what to buy.

  • Defining a signature look: A successful business woman holds her position because of her unique skill set; because nobody else can do what she can. That uniqueness should be reflected in her outward appearance and image too. It shows that she knows what is doing, she is at ease with herself, and that she feels comfortable in her skin. She needs to show that she can make clothes and fashion work for her.

  • "Power Dressing" means different things for different women - every woman is different in her needs, her build and her personality and therefore everyone needs to be evaluated in their own right.

What are power outfits?

Power dressing requires clothes which reinforce your performance rather than distracting from it. So you need clothes that you can:

  • rely on: So you can focus 100% on the job rather than checking if your look is ok

  • feel comfortable in: the days are long and you’ll need to perform different tasks e.g. internal meeting, external meetings, presentations, travelling, client entertaining - you don’t want to be fussing around because trousers are too tight, shoes are aching etc.Your clothes must be as multi-tasking as you are; fitting for the various engagements you have throughout the day

  • Plus you need to be prepared for unexpected situations (same as in business - you need to have a Plan B and be prepared for it, so you don’t waste time) and therefore need back-up or emergency supplies in your office, e.g. spare tights, shirts, suit, shoes, tooth brush, socks, underwear

MJ's method

With each client an evaluation is done before dressing, styling, and shopping. This needs to be done before I can start building with them a "power wardrobe" for their job

I help them by assessing the following criteria:

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New Client

  • Body

    • Shape

    • Proportion

    • Scale

    • Height

    • Face shape: haircuts & shape of eyebrows

    • Age

  • Company

    Need to know what the company values, principles, philosophies are As a senior member of staff you need to embody these factors in your outward appearance.

  • Position

    • Dress code needs to be appropriate – e.g. jewellery, make up

    • Internal or external job: meaning are you working mostly within the company or are you client-facing?

      • If you are client-facing, what sort of clients do you look after: e.g. insurance, telecoms, media companies, entertainment companies?

      • Do you travel for work?:

        • Clothes need to be hard-wearing and multi-tasking for travelling since you won’t have time to iron them, go shopping when something is missing or if there’s a defect

        • You will need to create different looks with few pieces therefore you must know which pieces will works in a number of ways

        • Do you need to adopt to different climates and weather conditions? You need to decide on one trend that will work with your travel destination, the occasion itself and also reflects whatever function you are performing.

        • They need to be appropriate for the country, culture, customs and occasion - it is always good to integrate a bit of the culture and tradition of where you travel; adopt as much as is appropriate because people will see you as friendlier and barriers come down much more easily. Business is always done better with people you like, or connect with on some level rather than with strangers or people who seem to be disconnected to all of it.

    • Do you have your own team- men/ women/both: what are the age differences/ nationalities?

      As a senior member of staff you need to connect to young and old, and different nationalities in order to get your team working and gain respect. You need to reflect an image which is in tune with your skill set and experience.

  • What are your company’s engagements: charity event/ conferences/ exhibitions/ workshops/ parties?

  • What is your budget?

  • What is your personality? This pulls the whole look together. It is important that you try to be yourself, not someone else. If you have a natural or classic look, don’t try to go ultra-glam - you won’t pull it off. This is not the time to experiment, leave that to your private life. Instead go with what is familiar to you and comes naturally – trying out other ‘personalities’ will take up much time and will be more of hassle than it’s worth.

Ongoing Client

Ongoing clients are assessed on a monthly basis, always keeping in mind the following factors so as to maintain a current or relevant image:

  • Body

    • Has it changed? Lost or gained weight?

    • Pregnant

    • Change of hair colour

  • New job

    Either within the company or you’ve moved to a different one

  • Change in work routine e.g. more travelling/focus on a different market like Europe or,Asia

  • Promotion

  • Fashion season

  • Upcoming events

  • Updating on investment buys/ fashionable accessories/ hair-cut - in order to keep the wardrobe updated and fresh

To dress for success it is crucial to have a current and fresh look. Current because you need to reflect that you know what is going on out in the world and that you are connected to both worlds: outside and inside your office. Plus it shows you keep up and are informed! Looking fresh is important because it shows dynamism, eagerness, and a ready to go attitude: nobody wants to work with somebody who embodies a tired and ageing look.

Dress gives one the outward sign from which people in general can, and often do, judge upon the inward state of mind and feelings.

H.M. The Queen

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