Before I trained to become a Personal Stylist, I took some convincing that the way we dress can seriously effect the path of our career. Some 25 years later, working as an independent Image Consultant, I have seen first hand, how many have fast tracked their careers, by cultivating a brand image that implies I am not only capable of perfectly handling my current role, but the next level up too.
Since the digital explosion, we have become apt at digesting vast amounts of information in split seconds, and according to Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, we now get only 2 seconds to create first impressions. Are you making the most of your 2 second window?
Judgements are made, especially in an often, unforgiving corporate world, whether we like it or not. Many assumptions are made about your capabilities, social class, financial and relationship status, all within 2 seconds. NLP teaches ‘people like people like themselves’ and suggests ‘matching and mirroring’ behaviours, body language and voice tone, to enable successful rapport. (We do this unconsciously when we meet someone we connect with).
Getting off on the right foot is especially important when business relationships are key. Use your first impression window at interview wisely. Most HR Managers will agree, they can tell whether the candidate is a good fit for their business within the first few minutes of meeting them. Which suggests the most crucial part of the interview occurs before you've even reached the office!
We communicate through our clothes. Statistics show 57% of first impressions are formed on your physical stance; your look and body language. 36% is based on your vocal tone and only 7% based on the words you use.
My job is to ensure my clients maximise these opportunities and feel confident in what they are wearing, paying particular attention to the details in their look, which projects an image that says, I can be trusted with your project. I will dot the i’s and cross the t’s. I'm ready for that promotion now.
We start by looking at what's working with their existing wardrobe with regards to colour, style and fit and replicate it. Emphasis is always placed on creating appropriate outfits which offer value for money and empower confidence.
Corporate dressing has become somewhat diluted since the introduction of dress down days, resulting in a ‘smart casual’ uniform which many struggle with.
With summer having made a quick appearance and with hopefully more warm weather on the way avoid short skirts, shorts, backless and crop tops and go for cap or short sleeves as opposed to spaghetti straps. Aim for clothes that skim rather than squeeze. Loose trouser suits are a great option, paired with a silk or fine gauge cotton top. Luckily this season’s footwear of backless mules and sling backs are perfect for those toe phobic offices.
Not forgetting the men, go for cottons and breathable fabrics. Choose short sleeve shirts. Shorts, flip flops and logo t-shirts aren't usually a good idea, but it depends on the business.
My advice is to remember you’re at work, and if you’re keen to progress, go more smart than casual. Remember your appearance is your main form of communication, use it wisely!
Kim Miller, Personal Stylist
Kim has been a personal stylist for 20 years following a gift of an image makeover in the corporate world, which changed her life. She couldn't believe the way discovering your own style made you feel. Since then she’s been helping people to feel this confident too. She’s styled hundreds of professional women in Hertfordshire, who are now dreaming bigger because their new wardrobe allows them to face each day with much less stress and much more time and confidence. They have been able to fast track their careers and transform their personal lives by defining their own signature style and developing their unique business image brand.
For more information contact Kim at www.kimmillerstyles.co.uk