The phrase “it’s not what you know but who you know” means as much in today’s business world as it ever has. Networking events are popular, and first impressions are often the foundation of professional relationships. You can improve the impression you make at these events by dressing appropriately. Here are some tips on how to look your best and stand out for the right reasons.
Start Off on the Right Foot
Clean shoes in good condition are a must. The exact style of shoe will depend on the rest of your ensemble, but it is essential that whatever you wear is polished, in good repair, free from scuffs and business appropriate. Casual shoes like sandals, tennis shoes and flip-flops should be avoided both in the office and at networking events. Conservative heels for women and dress shoes for men are the safest choice.
A Perfect Fit
To represent your company in a manner that would make any leader proud, it is important to ensure the outfit you choose fits your body. Your clothes should be properly tailored, not too tight and not baggy. A properly fitted outfit conveys attention to detail and accuracy.
Making a Statement
The purpose of attending a networking event is to make business connections that will result in increased sales and a better reputation for your company. Your clothing should be representative of your company and its goals. If your company specializes in cutting edge technology, for example, a modern dress or business suit paired with contemporary tie can be appropriate. If you work for a longstanding company with a reputation of trust and dependability, more traditional business clothing may be more appropriate.
A World of Color
For centuries, cultures have understood the importance of color in day-to-day life, and it is applicable to clothing, as well. Different colors convey different impressions. Red has long been seen as a power color; choose it if you wish to accentuate your strength in your field and make a bold statement. Black is a classic color that implies stability. Purple is a regal color associated with wisdom, and blue has been shown to increase trust in a product or person. Depending on your company’s specialty, yellow may be appropriate if you wish to display friendly attributes. Green is representative of health and well-being.
Don’t Go There
Flamboyant styles, garish colors and extravagant trends should generally be avoided unless they are exact fits for your company (but even then you should exercise caution!). Multiple pieces of jewelry, facial piercings and tattoos are not generally accepted and should be avoided or covered.
There are two phrases that can help you remember the importance of what you wear: “Dress for success” and “Dress for the job you want.” Your clothing says a lot about you and your goals, and it conveys information about the company you represent. Before stepping out the door for your next networking event, make sure your clothing says you are professional, hard-working and goal-oriented. A strong first impression is the first step in forming business relationships that will pay off for you and your company!