by BRJ INC.
Recent articles and surveys bemoaned the fact that the growing trend to go casual indicates a lack of professionalism. Perception is a self fulfilling prophesy for success especially for professionals like lawyers, doctors, accountants and corporate managers.
In a recent survey conducted by Bespoke Shirt Makers Green and Jacks of London, participants were shown several photos people out of which one of them was a real professional such as doctor, engineer, lawyer, barrister and Company CEO. The real professionals in most cases were dressed just above average. There was no surprise that the vast majority of the participants picked out the well dressed subjects as the professionals! Though there were instances that some people did pick out the badly dressed ones, as they thought it was a trick question. However, what mattered was that unanimously, people tend to associate well dressed people wearing bespoke shirt as men of importance and a sign of professionalism.
This leads to the question, “Who is perceived as a professional?” The harsh reality is that blue jeans, sweats, spiked heels or spiked hair is not acceptable if you wish to find a job or be considered a professional in the corporate environment.
Rule #1 – Image is everything. First impressions matter and experts differ on whether it’s the first 30 seconds or the first 7 minutes before people make judgments about each other. Leaving the issue of timing aside an interviewer or client will make no less than 10-12 judgments about you within the first 30 seconds of making eye contact and speaking to you. Your appearance combined with the way you present yourself to your clients and management is extremely important.
Rule #2 – Dressing casually does not mean blue denim and T-shirt. In most cases, suit without a tie is as far as people expect you to go. However, a conservative pair of trousers, a bespoke men’s shirt, matching jacket and smart leather shoes may be appropriate on a Friday.
Rule #3 – Dress yourself the way you expect others to see you. In other words, there are four facets of your character/personality that should be assumed without you ever uttering a word:
o You are prepared and ready to meet your clients/customers
o You are a ALWAYS a professional
o You are serious about your career and your work
o You achieve your goals and keep to your promises
It is possible for the determined to be successful without putting effort into a professional image but it would be similar to climbing Mount Everest without any gear. Why would you consider jeopardizing a critical life journey?
A well fitting bespoke shirt and suit are a very powerful tool for projecting your image and all too often this is overlooked. Additionally, you are better prepared to handle things that are typically out of your control. If your most important client dropped by unannounced or if your got interviewed on TV while out to buy coffee there would be no need to feel ashamed.
Business first, fashion later – granted, fashion trends can be exciting to keep up with, but you need to be thinking about your business environment.
Should you be employed in a professional setting that enforces a dress code with a smart suit and formal man’s shirt, will make your job a lot easier. For new hires, whether at the entry-level or at the management level and higher, one of the recommendations we have made in the past is to take a “hard” copy of the corporate dress code which includes a man’s shirt and suit when you go shopping for that new attire. To express this more succinctly, a quote from Forbes.com is in order:
” …Understand (that) elegance beats flash and trash five days a week. That means men shouldn’t dress like aspiring rock stars, and women should shun the Paris Hilton look.”
On a couple of closing notes, keep in mind that professional attire varies geographically. What is acceptable in a large accountancy firm in London may fit in a small firm of solicitors in the North. Additionally, don’t overdo the after shave, cologne, or perfume. To achieve classic a look with the edge and uniqueness, try creating bespoke clothing.
Manisha Solanki works for Green and Jacks, a bespoke shirt maker based in London . She has extensive experience in the field of marketing custom made bespoke shirts and men’s accessories. For more details on men’s shirts, suits and men’s accessories visit Green and Jacks .