Among the first things people notice about you is the way you dress and the way you groom yourself. It’s an intact reality that prior to even the winking of one’s eye; your dress promptly reflects your entire personality. It no more remains means of enveloping your corporeal frame, but indeed becomes an index of your entire being. It mirrors your personality. It reveals your clandestine and gets your inside out. It’s more like the lustrous, captivating and enticing cover of the perfume that speaks for the quality packed inside. It’s the shortest key to your ultimate success.

Many highly creative people affect a casual indifference toward their personal appearance, but in reality, they’re making a purposeful statement. They’re saying, in effect, “I’m so good at what I do that I don’t have to dress for success.”

Henry David Thoreau was such a person. “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes” he wrote.

If you plan to spend your life in the seclusion, follow Thoreau’s advice. If you want to make it to merciless corporate world, pay careful attention to the clothes you wear and the visual impact you’ve on others.

When dressing for the corporate world, follow the standard advice: Dress for inclusion. Look at what the people one or two steps up the corporate ladder from you are wearing and be guided by their tastes. That’s about the closest thing to universal advice that can be given in the realm of dress. Fads and fashions come and go, and what’s in today may be passé tomorrow. Wherever you’re — in Lahore, Karachi, Mumbai, Dubai, London or Sydney, or Singapore or Luxembourg — follow the fashion lead of the successful people in your business.

The perennial choice for the corporate executives is the gray or blue suit, with lighter shades in warm weather, darker ones in cool weather. Brown suits are generally regarded as less authoritative than blue or gray ones.

Women have greater latitude for individuality in fashions, but the general rule still applies. In most businesses, it’s best to avoid extremes. Seductive or coquettish outfits may draw admiring stares, but they won’t enhance your reputation as a corporate woman. The same standard advice for ladies as well: Dress for inclusion. Look at what the ladies one or two steps up the corporate ladder from you are wearing and be guided by their tastes but in all cases your taste should be steered towards a modest dress that compliments and supplements your personality.

Solid colors in women’s clothing convey a message of seriousness and character. Plaids and prints are more whimsical. Different colors flatter different women. Find your best colors and stick with them.

Shoes should always be shined and in good repair. Adlai Stevenson, the American statesman, may be remembered for the famous photograph showing the hole in the sole of his shoe. But he’s also remembered as the loser of two presidential elections.

“Mama always said you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes.”

–TOM HANKS, AS FORREST GUMP IN THE MOVIE, FORREST GUMP


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