Image and Impact for Interview, Member Monday, Men in Business, Men's Style, Women in business, Women's Style

Member’s Monday – Interview Success by Jacky Williams

Preparing for interview?

W1Increase your image and impact with top tips for interview by Accredited First Impressions Consultant, Jacky Williams.

1.  First impressions start before the interview. How you come across on paper or via on-line applications and how you sound on the telephone. Ensure your CV and accompanying letter or email is free from mistakes and speak clearly on the telephone.

2.  Show an interest in your possible future employers and research the company. Remember they may also do the same with you so be aware of what information is available to interviewers on social networking sites like Facebook! Are you promoting a credible image?

3.  Put in the effort and dress appropriately.  Make sure your interview outfit is in-keeping with the company’s dress code and always look smart and well turned out.  Wear the correct colours and styles to suit your personal colouring and body shape. Reflect your individual style with well chosen accessories.

4.  Make a list of any information you require. Asking questions shows initiative and interest in the position.

5.  Pay attention to personal grooming and personal hygiene. Always wear well kept clean shoes.

6.  Be aware of your body language, aiming for a positive and confident demeanour, using firm handshake, good eye contact and remember to smile!

7.  Communicate clearly and calmly, taking time to answer questions thoughtfully. Make sure any presentations are well prepared and practised.

Good luck!

“YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION.” Oscar Wilde

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Authentic, Authenticity, Body Language, Confidence, First Impressions, Image consultancy, Leadership, Lyn Bromley, Men in Business, Women in business

How to Express Your Leadership Presence

iStock_000017925351SmallLeaders of men and women come in many guises, from successful business people like Richard Branson and Sheryl Sandberg, to spiritual and political leaders like Gandhi or Martin Luther King.  One thing effective leaders have in common is presence and by learning how to maximise yours, you will be developing an essential vital non-verbal communication skill that will ensure you look like a leader. The art of communication is surely one of the most vital skills of any leader, the power to persuade and appearance plays and important role in that process. In this very visual world, we are all influenced by what we see and so our appearance needs to match what’s on the inside – our abilities, characteristics and values. Otherwise, we get mixed messages. The ability to manage our image is a positive communication skill and something we can easily learn like any other for career success.

Deep impact

First and foremost, you have to make an impact. Effective leaders will almost always have ‘presence’ or that indefinable X factor. They will either give an impression of quiet authority or of obvious power, according to their personal style. Your posture, demeanour and the way you interact with people – as well as appearance – will all contribute to your personal presence. It has often been described that leaders ‘take up space’ and are comfortable doing so. They stand, move and dress confidently and assertively.  Good leaders will be well aware of the subliminal messages of non-verbal communication, including image and your body language, and will use these tricks effectively. Leaders also make the rules rather than follow them and have the confidence to dress to reflect their personality and business. Think of Sir John Harvey-Jones with his natty suits and flamboyant socks, Richard Branson’s early years in his approachable knitwear or Anita Roddick’s style echoing her individuality and ethical interests. Each of these leaders has a very distinctive personal image. You need to develop your personal style to suit your style of leadership. Whatever look you choose, you must be true to your personality and remain individual to ensure you’re memorable.

Feel the quality

And, whether you believe money is the measure of success or not, when it comes to appearance, quality counts.  That doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive items you can find – it’s about seeking clothes and accessories where the quality of the material and craftsmanship is evident.  A perfectly fitting lightweight wool suit, an immaculate silk tie or a beautifully stitched handbag in softest leather – they all breathe quality.  Too often in corporate life, an individual’s impact is marred by the inclusion of an item that jars.  A smart tailored suit and crisp shirt can be undermined by teaming them with a cheap plastic watch and biro.  It gives out a message of poor judgement, poor quality and a sloppy approach to work.  The subliminal message you want people to pick up from your appearance is ‘here is someone who knows what they are doing, where they are going, with sound judgement and an eye for quality and detail’.

Role Model

Another aspect of effective leadership is taking your duty as a role model seriously.  Individuals leading their own businesses can obviously make the rules, but should remember that they are role models for those following them up the career ladder and so should set the standard for the company.  Giving clear messages to your employees about how you expect them to dress at work will make them feel far more comfortable than a confusing ‘anything goes’ atmosphere.   Make it clear to your staff or team just what you expect of them – and avoid vague terms than can be misinterpreted. The current trend towards a ‘modern professional’ dress code, where an employee is expected to make judgements about what look each day’s activities require, is a good test of their business acumen. Judging when to opt for ‘formal business’, knowing when ‘relaxed business’ will do or when ‘business casual’ is the order of the day takes perception – and that’s a valuable skill to have on your team. You will want your staff and clients to have absolute faith in you and your ability to make good decisions, so a good leader will need to earn respect.   Your clothes can play their part – err on the side of formality or, if the culture in which you work demands a business casual approach, keep it smart and co-ordinated and of good quality. And, of course, your clothes need to match the culture and values of your organisation. For example, in a young, innovative company, you’ll need to be more casual and keep a closer eye on fashion trends. Knowledge of colour will also be valuable to know how to look more authoritative when you need to. This is especially true when selecting business casual items as they are often more colourful and require good co-ordination.  There will also be occasions when you need to project more approachability and subtle changes in the way you wear colour can help achieve this.

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions  Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Director of Regional Events for FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching.  First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

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James Bond, Men in Business, Men's Style, Saturday Night Fever, Waistcoat

Men’s Style: Waistcoats

Charles II WaistcoatHistorians can precisely date the origination of the waistcoat.  It was Charles II who introduced it during the restoration of the British monarchy in 1666.  Samuel Pepys documented the occasion in his famous diaries.  ‘”the King hath yesterday in council declared his resolution of setting a fashion for clothes which he will never alter. It will be a vest, I know not well how”.  Vest was the original term for what we now know in the UK as the waistcoat.  It is thought that the term originated from the fact that the garment was cut at waist level.  King Charles II returned from exile in France to take up the English throne.  He was known for his love of fashionable dress and had been wearing opulent fabrics from France.  On his return to England he could not be seen to be wearing French fabrics, so he asked his tailor to create a new look for him.  This consisted of a coat, waistcoat and breeches in black silk over white.  This is seen as the origin of the three-piece suit as we now know it today.

During the 17th century waistcoats were generally white cotton or linen threads on a white background.  The 18th century saw the waistcoat became an elaborate and brightly coloured garment.  It also became longer and was often decorated with embroidery and in coloured silk and metal threads  It changed during the 19th century into something more restricting, often with figure enhancing properties, much like a corset.  The colour palette became more subdued too. With the advent of the lounge suit during this period, the waistcoat became more of an item that co-ordinated with the suit and so the 3-piece suits that we still see today were developed. During the 20th century the waistcoat continued to be worn as part of business attire along with the suit and also casSaturday Night Feverually as an individual item of clothing.  It was used to provide warmth as an extra layer of clothing.  As the war took hold and rationing came in, fabric was more scarce and the waistcoat started to decline in favour of knitwear. During the 70’s, the waistcoat made a reappearance and was made popular again through the film Saturday Night Fever!  They are, of course, worn by professional snooker players, without a jacket and they remain very popular for wedding attire too.

They have often been favoured by James Bond over the years from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig – you will see that the waistcoats and jackets are very similar in style – just the trousers have a slightly different cut.  Daniel Craig is wearing a Tom Ford creation.

James BondDaniel Craig Waistcoat

It is such a smart item of clothing for men, but also really useful.  For those who may have eaten a few too many pies, they can hide a multitude of sins!  They are both quite slimming and lengthening, so if your aim is to look taller and slimmer, a waistcoat it is chaps!

The fit is all important – it needs to sit flat to the body with no horizontal pulling across the buttons – this would indicate that it is too small and it mustn’t be too loose either, otherwise you will look like a hotel porter in someone else’s uniform!

Length of the waistcoat is also important – too short and we will still see the join of the shirt and trousers which can end up looking untidy and too long is not right either.  It should just cover the waistband of the trousers.

There is of course, the mystery of why the bottom button of the waistcoat should be left open – there are several theories and nobody knows for sure.  My favourite theory is that when Edward VII was Prince of Wales, he became so overweight that he had to undo his bottom button.  His court followed suit to save any embarrassment!

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions  Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Director of Regional Events at FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching.  First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

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Dress for Success, Good Fit, Men in Business, Men's Style, Trousers

Men’s Style: Trousers

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 18.22.59I was recently sitting at the train station awaiting the arrival of my train to London.  I’d done the obligatory check of my email and texts and was sitting patiently sipping my coffee.  My eyes cast around and I happened to notice that every man waiting for the train had ill-fitting trousers on.  There was one gent in particular that caught my attention.  He was impeccably dressed – a lovely overcoat, good quality shoes, the fabric of his trousers looked to be of a very good standard, but they were too-long.  It totally spoiled his look.  As I glanced around, all the men’s trousers were either  too long, too short, too worn, too baggy or too tight.

The ideal pair of trousers should have a single break on the front of the shoe and the back of the trouser should end where the shoe leather meets the heel of the shoe.  Any shorter and too much leg will be exposed, any longer and they will crease around the shoe looking unattractive.  Trousers that are too long often then become worn at the hem – another image breaker.

The fashion for tighter leg trousers means that the above does not work – the trouser needs to be slightly shorter as the width of the hem is not enough to break over the shoe.  Depending on the width of the hem, either half a break or no break at all.  Beware of them being too short as this just looks ridiculous and can also spoil a man’s image.  Too tight is pretty repulsive too, it’s similar to a woman wearing a top that it too tight – nobody knows where to look!

Men do not have as many style choices as women, so it is paramount to pay attention to the details.  Good cloth will make all the difference, so go for the best you can afford – if you are aiming to make a good impression, this will really set you apart.

Key things to bear in mind when choosing trousers:

  • A good fit at the waist – too tight or too loose are just as bad as each other – too big and it looks like you have borrowed your Dad’s trousers!  It will also mean that your shirt will not stay tucked in, adding to your untidiness.
  • Consider the fit of the leg – if you are fuller figured, a straight or looser leg will be best, if you are slimmer a slim fit will work well
  • The hem – do you have long legs?  If so a turn-up is fine, if not, just a plain hem will work
  • Don’t fill your pockets – it spoils the line of your trousers
  • Do keep them clean – regular washing or dry-cleaning to keep them sharp

The key is good fit – there is no excuse for the leg length being incorrect – every high street has an alteration shop and it is worth an extra few pounds to create a more polished appearance.

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions  Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Director of Regional Events at FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke training and workshops or one-to-one coaching.  First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK and in 20 countries around the world– to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

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Confidence, First Impressions, Leadership, Lyn Bromley, Men in Business, Women in business

Putting Yourself First

oxygen maskYou may have noticed that I didn’t post yesterday and there was good reason for that.  I was adding to my knowledge, mixing with people who ‘juice’ me, to coin a well used phrase from the weekend!  I am one of life’s curious people. I love new experiences and learning new things. It’s what makes me happy and puts a spring in my step!

There is a great metaphor for life if you ever pay attention to the air hosts or hostesses when they do their safely demonstrations.  They advise you to put your own oxygen mask on first. That may be tricky for you to comprehend, especially if you are a giver. But in order to be able to help others, you do need to put your own oxygen mask on first. What good are you to others if you are not able to breathe?!

So that’s, what I was doing this weekend, putting my own oxygen mask on first and filling up my lungs, my head and my heart.

The training was fantastic!  I was learning all about how to become financially free.  In these uncertain times I’m certainly not going to fut my faith into the Government to look after me in my old age, so before I get too old, I’m making sure we are maximising our own finances so that my family and I are secure.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.  I was training with Ann Wilson – The Wealth Chef – she gives such practical advice, delivered with high energy, enthusiasm and love.  If you want to be financially free – I’d definitely check out Ann’s work.  http://thewealthchef.com/ She’s a self-made millionaire and it’s her mission to teach as many people as possible how to be financially free.

Wishing you a fabulous week

Lyn

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Dressing Down, First Impressions, Leadership, Lyn Bromley, Men in Business, Women in business

iStock_000015022319MediumAs it is Friday, I thought I would write about dressing down today!

A few years ago the City, followed by businesses across the country, abandoned the suit and embraced ‘dress down’.  Firstly, it was ‘dress down Fridays’ and then gradually dress down became the norm from Monday through Friday.  But clothes are always cyclical and the suit never really died.  These days, many companies adopt a ‘modern professional’ dress code which expects employees to wear whatever is deemed appropriate for the activities they are involved in each day.  But ‘deemed appropriate’ by whom?  Whilst the really smart ones will know how to get the ‘suited and booted’ look right for external meetings with clients and the ‘business casual’ look spot on for internal meetings, for many it’s a mystifying labyrinth of unwritten rules that leaves them confused and bewildered!

Without proper guidelines and direction, as was common in the past, standards slip and bosses start to feel uncomfortable about an ‘anything goes’ culture.  They may be more tolerant, with smart casual being acceptable in many environments, but they still expect a business-like look.  Whilst most staff can manage to look reasonably professional in their jackets and suits, when it comes to dress down it’s a different matter.  Any employee who wants to go places should know what smart casual (or business casual) should look like.

Dress down allows more individual choice, which is where the problems creep in.  People don’t intentionally disregard policies – what employees wear can be attributed to their own individual style personality, job profile and age and this leads to some amazingly inappropriate choices.  However, companies should be able to trust employees to dress appropriately – it’s all part of being able to do the job properly.  One City firm sent a memo to its employees stating that anyone reporting to work improperly dressed may be instructed by their manager to return home and change their clothes, with further action and possible termination not out of the question!

The fundamental benefit of dress down for staff is that it allows freedom and choice, enabling them to express their individuality.  Comfortable, happy workers should be more productive so in theory employers like dress down too.  However, there are staff at all levels who find all that choice just too much of a good thing.  It was all so easy before but now every occasion requires thought, planning and a different dress code.

Whilst it might seem churlish to single out British men, a quick look around any city business district anywhere in the UK will show that chinos with a crumpled casual shirt is the uniform that many have simply substituted for the suit.  An alternative is the faded logo-emblazoned T-shirt with scruffy combats, denim or corduroys.  And when it comes to shoes – don’t even go there!  British women aren’t guilt-free either – with underwear showing and too much flesh exposed being the most common crimes.

So how should dress down be properly interpreted?  A simple definition of ‘business casual’ is ‘A comfortably relaxed version of classic business attire, with no sacrifice of professionalism or personal power.’.  Propriety, quality and co-ordination are the watch-words of dress down.  Clothes should never be distracting and therefore they should suitably cover you (legs, arms, chests, cleavages, midriffs or any other body part that might otherwise get exposed).  Exposing too much diminishes credibility faster than anything else – you have been warned!

You should also expect to spend as much on your business casual wardrobe as on your formal suiting – the quality of construction, fabric, finish and attention to detail should be no different from that of a formal suit.  It is simply the colour, fabric type and style details that will make a jacket, skirt or pair of trousers look casual rather than formal.  The many and varied versions of cotton, linen, silk and lightweight wool, often mixed with clever new fibre technology, gives you a wide range of fabric choices for business casual clothing.  Clothing structure will also affect how formal or casual a garment looks.  In general, the more tailored or ‘structured’ a garment, the more formal and authoritative it will look.  For business casual looks garments can be more softly structured, for example a soft collar rather than a sharp collar or a softly tailored jacket rather than a sharply tailored jacket.

Co-ordination is also a vital element of business casual, although you can select lighter shades and more colour and pattern than for formal dressing.  Whilst it is hard to get it too wrong with a suit, with business casual you have to THINK about what goes with what!  That means you have to know what suits you, including the colours, styles, proportions and details that will work for your individual colouring and physique.  Your outfit should look so well put together that your clients, customers and colleagues can all get on with the job in hand, instead of being struck dumb by the amazing colour combinations you’ve selected that day.

Another ingredient of more casual dressing is fashion and, whilst in some creative industries it might be vital to look as fashionable as you can afford, in others it will be perceived as shallow and not conducive to the business environment.  It’s more important to ensure you are ‘current’ as this implies that your thinking and ideas will be current too.  Regularly update your wardrobe so that it looks relatively ‘of the moment’ without looking overtly fashionable and that way you’ll attain the right ‘modern classic’ look that works for business casual.

Consistency is also vital with business casual.  You can’t look fantastic one day and like a dog’s dinner the next without ruining your credibility.  You’ve got to look good every day – that way you’ll give consistent messages of your personal ‘brand values’.  Decide in advance how you want to be perceived and then ensure that your business casual look echoes this message.  For example, you can still achieve an authoritative look using colour – simply select the darker shades or clothing combinations with more contrast from your business casual wardrobe in order to create a stronger look.

Whilst for many the advent of dress down throughout the week has meant a whole new wardrobe, it’s best not to view formal and casual as two separate wardrobes.  ‘Modern professional’ has many nuances and you should develop a flexible wardrobe that allows you to slide seamlessly from formal, through relaxed business, to business casual, making minor adjustments to your look to suit your working day and lifestyle along the way.

Think of your wardrobe needs as a sliding scale with formal business at one end and casual at the other.  Just below formal business will come ‘relaxed business’ – a suited or jacketed look that’s not so sharp as ‘formal’.  Below that is ‘business casual’ – still smart and polished but using casual garments and accessories.  These are the three looks you need in the workplace.  Below ‘business casual’ comes ‘casual’ – an entirely different thing!  Casual is denim, trainers, t-shirts, combats, flip-flops, Timberlands, chunky sweaters, fleeces…need I go on?  If it’s in this last category, it shouldn’t be worn for work.  And that’s where all the trouble started…. employees wearing their ‘casual’ clothes to the workplace.

So spend some time shopping for your business casual wardrobe, just as you would for your formal suits.  Learn to enjoy putting different looks together and you’ll feel confident whatever the dress code – the suit may not be dead but there’s no doubt that dress down is here to stay!

Top Tips for Dress Down

  • Aim for more softly structured garments for business casual
  • Go for lighter shades and an increased use of colour
  • Budget to spend as much on your business casual wardrobe as your formal office attire.
  • Avoid distracting clothes and exposing too much flesh
  • Regularly update your wardrobe to keep your clothes ‘current’
  • Aim for consistency to retain your credibility and personal brand values
  • Develop a flexible wardrobe that can adapt to various work scenarios
  • Don’t confuse business casual with ‘casual’ – save fleeces and trainers for the weekend!

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions

 Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Membership Director of FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching. 

First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map.

Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038

Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com

Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

 

Solving the Dress Down Puzzle

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Colour Psychology, First Impressions, Lyn Bromley, Men in Business, Women in business

The Psychology of Colour

Colour psychologyWhen you visit another organisation, what are the first things you notice?  One of your initial observations is likely to be the general ‘feel’ of the environment and this will include the colour scheme, even if you are not aware you are noticing it.  You may not realise that the colours used are giving strong messages but they are – some colour schemes shout trendy, imaginative, forward-thinking and others give quite the opposite impression – dull, unimaginative, stuck in a time-warp or just plain run-down.  Your feelings will be greatly influenced by the subliminal messages you absorb within a few minutes of arrival.

If colour contributes strongly to the impression you form of an organisation, so too will it contribute to the impression you form of an individual, or that others form of you.  The colours you, and others, choose to wear will speak volumes about you – your ability to decide what’s appropriate; your creativity; your sense of style and ability to co-ordinate; your sense of what’s right for each situation.

Scientific studies show that blood pressure can alter in response to colour and appetite can also be affected!  Many people are familiar with the effect that music can have on mood and colour can have a similar influence – it creates both a physiological and emotional response.  It follows that individuals will be affected by the colours around them and the colours they, and others, wear.

Every morning you decide what to wear to work – which shirt, which tie, which suit, which top – decisions, decisions!  How do you make those decisions?  In order to ensure that colour works for you in the workplace (and, for that matter, out of it) you need to consider two things.  Firstly, what colours work for your individual colouring and secondly, what is appropriate or inappropriate for the environment and role you are going to be in.

By recognising the characteristics that make up your own colour pattern and applying them to your clothing choices, you will achieve the right balance with your colouring so that attention is drawn to you and not your clothes.  Whilst some colours will overwhelm you, you’ll overpower others, and the key is to find colours that work with your colouring to flatter and enhance – ensuring you look your healthiest best.  Take a bit of time also to think about the psychology of colour and the messages associated with each before you make your choices.  That way, you can be sure that your brand values and messages, and those of your organisation, are being echoed by your sartorial decisions.

Colours and their common messages

Blue is a popular colour for a working wardrobe, suggesting professionalism, intelligence, trustworthiness and reliability.  However, blue can also seem cold, aloof and conservative – so too much blue might not be right if you are working for an energetic and creative young company.

Purple is a very popular alternative, in every shade from deep to palest lilac – and it works for both sexes.  Throughout history, purple was the most expensive colour to produce so was always reserved for royalty and the clergy.  Signalling creativity, innovation, confidence and success, it can work well for workplace attire.

Black on its own can be sophisticated and assertive but it can also seem intimidating and even menacing.  Often chosen by those in media, fashion and design, its connotations can be different in these industries – with an intimation of understated modernity and urban cool.  In other industries, however, it could be perceived as too austere if you want to come across as warm and friendly, especially if worn alone.

Stark black and white contrasts usually signal authority and power which can be positive but which can also intimidate, so decide just how authoritative you want to appear.  Think of judges, the police and security guards – they would have a much harder time wearing beige!  White on its own signals purity, empathy and approachability but, once again, can be stark and severe. Grey can be cool but be careful, it needs to be used stylishly and with attention to quality, otherwise it can seem dull and lacking in energy.

Choosing red needs care – it can appear powerful, dynamic and assertive but, like black and white, can also seem aggressive and demanding.  Red works best as an accent to focus attention – that’s why speakers often wear red ties as it draws attention to the mouth and concentrates attention on the speech.

When calm, balance, harmony and empathy are the messages you want to project, choosing green will help you to create the right atmosphere.  It is one of the most restful colours to look at but needs to be used in a dynamic way and accessorised well to avoid looking dull and bland.

So what of beige and brown – aren’t neutrals the most popular 21st century scheme for interiors?  Well, yes, used in a modern, sleek and creative way and with their associations with the earth and nature, they can convey both seriousness and respectability with creativity and innovation.  They are also associated with empathy and supportiveness.  Just make sure they are used in a high quality, sophisticated way to avoid looking dreary.

 What to wear when

Apart from the common messages that certain colours signal, your choices should include some thought for what you’ll be doing – what will be most appropriate for the day’s activities?  For formal work occasions, such as client presentations, choose a darker suit or jacket and combine it with a light or bright top or shirt, in order to create contrast.  This will give you a stronger, more authoritative appearance and will help you feel confident.  If you have a difficult meeting with a colleague and wish to appear approachable and non-threatening, choose softer contrasts and use more colour.  A lighter suit or jacket with a more colourful shirt or top would work well.  The colours you choose within the workplace should also fit the nature of your message.  If you need to communicate difficult news, wear suitably sober clothing to echo your message.  Likewise, an upbeat report on an award won or outstanding results can be communicated wearing something similarly bright, upbeat and energetic.

Whatever colours you choose, a professional working wardrobe for both formal and business casual looks should consist of ‘structured’ items, ideally in plain, closely woven fabrics.  Your own colouring should be part of your decision and the colour you choose to wear should be selected in the depth, tone and clarity that suits your individual colouring.  If this sounds like double-dutch, find an expert to help you understand what works and why.  You can make a start by thinking of an item in your wardrobe that you love and wear a lot and another that you don’t like and rarely wear.  It’s quite likely that the favourite item is in a colour that’s good for you and that the rarely worn one isn’t – although there could be another reason such as the style or fit, of course.

Your clothes, and the colours you choose to wear, should help you in your daily task of creating rapport, influencing others and ensuring you create the right impression.  Never underestimate the power of appearances and especially of first impressions – that smart, sleek coffee and cream head office is a world away from the magnolia and beige one in the same street.

Best wishes

Lyn

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions

 Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Membership Director of FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke image training or one-to-one coaching. 

First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK – to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map.

Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038

Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com

Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

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