Somewhere in the ’90s, casual Friday happened. At the time, many businesses were concerned about client perceptions and would post notes at their reception desks to brace visitors for the shock of seeing their employees in Dockers and button-downs. Casual Friday soon morphed into the business casual movement, which led to an across-the-board acceptance of simply dressing more like normal people. And guess what? Professionals and other business owners loved it! Gone were the three-piece suits and pocket squares. Never again would women have to wear pantyhose and pumps.
Dress like a News Anchor in your Virtual Conference Room
You are more important to your customers and clients now more than ever! That said, you need to look the part as you go virtual with your business! Remember the mantra: Dress like a news anchor. That means, when you’re sitting in front of clients “in person,” maintain your focus of looking professional – from the waist up at least.
What Does a Successful Person Look Like?
When you reflect on the traits and characteristics of the most successful people you know, you might focus first on how smart and skilled they are in their fields. But move beyond that to their image and appearance. If you close your eyes, you will see they are well dressed, well groomed, manicured, pulled-together, sharp dressers. They use tasteful accessories, have great posture, smile with warmth and integrity, and literally personify confidence.
Conduct an Honest Self-Assessment
How do you measure up to what your mind’s eye perceives a successful business owner or professional to look? When was your last haircut? Do you dress down because you’re now working from home? You must dress the part of a successful, competent businessperson. A good rule of thumb is to dress as well – or even better – than your boss, or your bosses’ boss (when we all went to offices each day).
The Cinderella Concept
Remember what happened to the stepsisters when they tried to get the glass slipper to fit? They smashed and smooshed, and tried to force their foot into a shoe that was just too small for them. Maybe you have gained a little weight and your professional wardrobe doesn’t fit like it used to. Stop punishing yourself. Go to your favorite web-based clothing store and invest in a few high-quality pieces that look great on you and that you feel great in! Remember, it’s your view from the waist up that matters now!
While you don’t want to overdo it, a unique necklace or scarf, combined with your successful person look (and for men, it might be a pocket square and a nice silk tie) can really catapult you higher on the best dressed list of professionals who are now working from home.
The First Impression
I don’t need to repeat the adage because you all know it. I just want to reiterate that it’s true. You will have opportunities with new clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure you demonstrate your expertise and confidence by looking (and acting) like a successful professional.
If you dress every day as if you were going to meet an extremely important person and had to make a great first impression, you will notice that your confidence will increase, your attitude toward work will improve, the quality of your work will be higher, and you will start to see yourself as the successful professional you are. But first, you must dress the part. Even if you are meeting people in your virtual conference room.