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The Tom James Company has been a global player in the business of fine clothing since 1966. Our sales team locally works with over 10,000 top executives and professionals, assisting them with their professional and personal wardrobes.
Today, I will talk about the finer points of business dress for men and women and how to build an appropriate, timeless business wardrobe.
Let’s start off w/ a little trivia. What should men match their socks to? Trousers Can men wear cuff links with a sport coat? No Is a formal cummerbund worn with the pleats facing up or down? Up, tradition says to catch crumbs. What is the appropriate length of a skirt for business? 1” above knee According to experts, what is the appropriate amount of exposed skin a female executive should show? – 4” below nape of neck and no more than 2” above the knee
Studies have shown that 55% of our business image is visual. Our wardrobe and grooming make up most of this nonverbal communication from which others judge us everyday.
The good news is that you can do something about the way you are perceived. You can increase your effectiveness by changing and improving your business and professional image!
Regardless of who you really are, your clothes and body language always speak first. Some of the perceptions people can form solely from your appearance are: Your Professionalism Your Level of Sophistication Your Intelligence Your Credibility Your Tidiness Whether these perceptions are real or imagined, your appearance instantly influences the opinions of strangers, colleagues and superiors. The benefits of being well dressed in a corporate setting can reap many rewards, including respect, favorable consideration, and advancement. After all if you are going to be noticed, you may as well be noticed for the right reasons.
So what’s right and what’s wrong? First, there are no written rules. The most you will find is a few written guidelines in your organization’s dress code, if it has one. There are a handful of characteristics that most successful corporate communicators share when it comes to dress and grooming. We will focus on more formal business attire. Let’s go over a few common sense details that will pass the litmus test for almost any corporate professional.
Many men and women are baffled about the finer details of dressing for success. For most, it’s something they simply have not focused on. But as you climb the corporate ladder, you have to watch what you’re wearing to make sure you’re not sending the wrong message. After all if you are going to be noticed, you may as well be noticed for the right reasons. Here are a few common details that are occasionally overlooked and easily corrected. 1. Short Sleeve Shirts
4. Flood pants
Ladies – A good basic rule of professionalism to follow is not to show skin 4” below neck down to 2” above the knee.
There is nothing more unprofessional than seeing a gentleman with his coat sleeves at his thumbs or a big fat role under his collar. Or a lady with a baggy seat or oversized jacket on.
Over-the-calf – Why? Don’t want to show man furr when crossing legs. Color- Always match your trouser. Panty hose during Fall winter seasons unless you have the perma tan
Pleats vs. plain front – Pleats on suits …plain front trousers are being done more in sportswear and casual trousers. Cuffs or plain bottom – preference but I recommend cuffs as it adds weight to the bottom of the trouser and provides better drape. Length – 1 ¾ inches up from the floor provides a good standard break in your trousers.
LOOK GOOD: Regardless of what you’re wearing, make sure it works. Make a thorough assessment of how you look in front of a full-length mirror. Don’t hesitate to get a professional opinion. FIT: Check not just for fashion sense, but also for fit. Nothing sends a worse message than a poorly tailored jacket. COAT LENGTH : Should be long enough to cover your seat. SLEEVE LENGTH: The jacket sleeve ends at the middle of your wrist bone, with the shirt sleeve extending three eights of and inch beyond. IN STYLE: Women’s clothing changes every six months but men’s fashion tends to stick around a bit longer. 2B, 3B or double-breasted explain best options for size.
Belts match the shoes ALWAYS. Buy the same time as the shoes. Braces – Avoid clip-ons
Colors – white and blue are the foundation (especially for newer associates) Collars Style – talk about counterbalance with their facial structure Cuffs (regular, french, etc.) Monogram Fabric (oxford, end-on-end, pinpoint, broadcloth)
1. Cummerbund or Vest 2. Lapel Style – notch, peak, shawl 3. Shirt Collar Style – wing, traditional collar 4. Pant Style – NO CUFFS - ever
1. 100% Wool – fiber under microscope is very porous, breathes better 2. Blended Cloths – less expensive, wrinkles less, shines sooner 3. Higher “Content” – Explain what super 100’s mean and what to look for
1. Length 2. Variety 3. Coordination
COLORS What color should I wear today? While it may seem simple, this wardrobe decision has significantly more impact in today’s society than most executives realize. And if you’re like the average business man who only has a handful of suits in his closet, choosing the right one is even more of a challenge.
Gray is your best confidence color. It speaks “financial stability” in the eyes of your peers. The darker the gray, the more formal the look. When you want all the odds in your favor and you must close the deal, wear charcoal gray
Earthtones remain very popular and will give your appearance a casual touch of influence. Browns and olives are wardrobe favorites that convey an approachable, relaxed look.
Proper Rotation- Explain a two week rotation and why it makes sense DRESS TO FIT YOUR AUDIENCE When you're in front of a group giving a presentation, making a speech or just plain talking, you need to choose your attire to match the event. For example, you will typically want to dress one notch of formality above your audience. That means if they're wearing slacks and shirts or blouses, you may want to add a sports jacket to your ensemble. Also, consider the image and impact that your office surroundings make with your clients. Last Word Companies spend millions of dollars on their identity. Yet, when customers walk through the door, it is the people they're doing business with. Your dress should reflect your business’ culture, its values and its industry. It should also reflect you. So treat your wardrobe like a tool to achieve your personal and professional goals.
You may be a lawyer but not an expert in accounting so you hire an accountant You may be the best accountant but not an expert in the medical field so you hire a doctor The same holds true for your professional appearance. Seek out a true professional that will give you objective advise on your professional appearance.
Tom James Spring 2012
Dress For Success Presented by Tom James Company
Tom James Introduction <ul><li>Tom James Company Fine Clothing Since 1966 </li></ul><ul><li>International company </li></ul><ul><li>Locations in almost every major city </li></ul>
??? Trivia ??? <ul><li>What should men match their socks to? </li></ul><ul><li>Can men wear cuff links with a sport coat? </li></ul><ul><li>Is a formal cummerbund worn with the pleats facing up or down? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the appropriate length of a skirt for business? </li></ul><ul><li>According to experts, what is the appropriate amount of exposed skin a female executive should show? </li></ul>
Key to Success <ul><li>“ You never get a second chance to make a first impression!” </li></ul>
Non –Verbal Cues <ul><li>Human behavioral scientists state that it is a scientific fact that people who don’t know you will make up their minds about you on a subliminal/subconscious basis in 30 seconds or less. </li></ul><ul><li>This evaluation of you by others is lightening fast and deeply etched in the cerebral cortex. </li></ul><ul><li>Behavioral scientists tell us that we notice the following about another human being and in this order: </li></ul><ul><li>Appearance (clothing, grooming, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Bearing (height, body language, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Direct Eye Contact </li></ul><ul><li>Speech </li></ul>
Good News <ul><li>YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE WAY YOU ARE PERCEIVED! </li></ul>
The Basics <ul><li>“ What ARE the rules?” </li></ul>???
Overlooked Details <ul><li>Men - Never wear a short sleeve shirt with a tie. Short sleeve shirts are generally perceived as lower class apparel. Fine as part of a uniform or if you aspire to be a fast-food manager, not if you want to project a professional image </li></ul>
Overlooked Details <ul><li>Shoes are one of the most evaluated elements of a man’s wardrobe. </li></ul><ul><li>Your shoes should be clean and in good repair as well as appropriate for the occasion. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t wear the same shoe on consecutive days. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep shoe trees in your shoes when you’re not wearing them. </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure to edge dress and polish your shoes before going out for the day. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a fact that people will make judgments about your tidiness if your shoes are scuffed and old looking. </li></ul>
Overlooked Details <ul><li>Minimal glitz - Choose a couple of key accessories </li></ul><ul><li>Men - a nice watch and cufflinks </li></ul><ul><li>Women - small earrings and simple rings </li></ul><ul><li>The suggestion is that lot's of sparkles and glitz can be distracting. Understated accessories suggest a practical more serious approach to work, "less show and more go”. </li></ul>
Overlooked Details <ul><li>Ladies- Suit coats are a must. It is harder for females to quickly establish a professional presence without a suit coat. </li></ul><ul><li>A skirt is recommended, again, because it conveys professionalism much better than slacks. Skirts should be no more than 2” above the knee, and not much longer than mid-calf. </li></ul>
Overlooked Details <ul><li>Tailoring your garments to fit </li></ul><ul><li>Spend what is necessary to insure that your garments fit you. Regardless of what they look like on a hanger or what they cost you should ensure that they are fitted to your body by a proper tailor. </li></ul>
Overlooked Details <ul><li>Scent (For Men & Women) </li></ul><ul><li>Any perfume, cologne, or perfumed grooming product should not be noticeable at normal business proximity. This means that you can exit the elevator and no one entering should be able to guess that you were there. As with the other aspects of your grooming, scent should not call attention on its own. Scent should never be a distraction, but, if anything, a subtle adjunct that the vast majority of people you encounter will never notice or be close enough to perceive. </li></ul>
Socks & Hose <ul><li>Over-the-calf </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate Color </li></ul>
Pants <ul><li>Pleats vs. Plain Front </li></ul><ul><li>Cuffs or Plain Bottom </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate Length </li></ul>
Navy <ul><li>Power Color </li></ul><ul><li>Odds in your favor </li></ul><ul><li>Public speaking </li></ul><ul><li>Big Meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Presentations </li></ul>
Gray <ul><li>Confidence color </li></ul><ul><li>Financial stability color </li></ul><ul><li>Darker = more formal </li></ul><ul><li>“ Close-the-deal” color </li></ul>
Earth tones <ul><li>Great Friday suit </li></ul><ul><li>Approachable color </li></ul><ul><li>Nice change of pace suit - mixes up your rotation </li></ul>
Black <ul><li>Your most formal color </li></ul><ul><li>Best color for evening events </li></ul><ul><li>Great travel suit </li></ul>
Final Thoughts <ul><li>Explain what a proper rotation should be </li></ul><ul><li>Dress to Fit Your Audience </li></ul>
Working with a professional clothier <ul><li>Most successful business people have a mastermind group of people that help them get where they are. Working with a professional clothier will help you get where you want to go. </li></ul>