Human beings are inherently visual creatures. We make snap judgements about everything from the restaurants we’re considering for our lunch break to the new member of the team at work on first impressions based on outward appearances. For better or for worse, the way in which we present ourselves can enhance, supercede or even contradict what we say and do. While this effect tends to be fairly negligible in our personal lives, it can be far more impactful in the world of work. At home or on the street, nobody will judge you for schlubbing around in a hoodie and sweatpants if you’ve has a bad day, turning up for work in a dishevelled state can potentially impede or even damage your career whether you’re in a salaried job or working away at a startup business of your very own.
This time of year, in particular can be potentially troublesome. As the mornings grow colder and darker, it can be tough to take the time and effort required to show up for work immaculately presented every single day. Even if you’ve made the best of effort, sometimes your wardrobe may conspire against you…
Let’s start with public enemy number one. Your shirts can undermine your appearance, even if you rotate them regularly. Professionals who divide their time between standing, sitting and driving can find themselves experiencing creasing particularly around the waist which can detract from the sense of crispness or sharpness of a shirt. Investing in shirt garters or ironing regularly can help to mitigate this damage. In a busy and stressful working environment, it’s important to invest in an effective antiperspirant. The last thing you want is to have your professionalism undermined by funky smelling yellow pit stains.
The fit of your shirt is also important. It’s important to choose a shirt that is fitted without being too slim fitting. If a heavy lunch causes gaps to appear between buttons, permitting stray stomach hairs to escape it’s definitely time to go up a size.
Your cuffs can easily betray you, especially if you have several shirts in rotation. While the pits may stay fresh and the front may be free of creases, over time the cuffs can become dirty and discolored even if you wash your shirts regularly. Make sure you treat your cuffs with a stain removing agent on a regular basis (at least once a week). Dirty cuffs can sour a first handshake and cheapen your overall look.
If you use cufflinks, make sure that they are appropriate for your role or any given occasion. Your Batman logo cufflinks may be fun for a casual Friday but might not make the best first impression for an important new client.
Sitting and getting up and sitting and getting up for 8-10 hours a day 5-6 days a week can have an unintended negative consequence on your unwitting trousers. This behavior can cause unsightly creases that leave an unflattering impression when you turn your back. You can mitigate this by:
- Wearing completely dry fabrics (damp fabrics are more prone to creasing).
- Pulling clothes flat against your thighs when sitting.
- Using anti wrinkle spray.
- Ironing every day.Choosing non-crease fabrics.