Appearance Matters

“Fashion is being recognized for your appearance in the right way.”

I heard Veronica Webb say this when I attended a forum last year entitled “From Hottentot Venus to the White House: Black Women on Beauty and Bodies” at the New York Open Center.  It clarified for me the importance of fashion in the workplace and also in everyday life.  I read recently that for every job available, there are 17 people competing with you.  How do you stand out from the crowd?  The answer to this question is becoming more and more evident.

Every day we all make snap judgements about the people we see because it is a biological survival mechanism.  Is this person safe?  Is this person sane?  The answers to these questions usually take more time to determine.  However, we are not always given ample time to make a good impression on people.  The old saying is certainly true.  We really only get one chance to make a first impression.  Laura Sinberg wrote an article on Forbes.com entitled “Think Looks Don’t Matter?  Think Again.”  She reiterates that the more people perceive you to be attractive, the more likely you are to get hired, promoted, and excel at work.  This may not be fair, but for the most part, it is true.  Even Desiree Rogers, former White House Social Secretary mentions how appearance matters here.

So how does this relate to your brand?  Well, I ask you as I ask myself.  What are your clothes saying about you?  Have you been taking care of yourself?  Are you eating properly and exercising?  I know that I certainly have some work to do.  Do you?

Many topics were discussed at the forum I attended.  Here is a link that gives a pretty thorough recap.  Also speaking on the panel were Michaela Angela Davis, cultural critic and writer, Susan Akkad, Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing & Diversity for the Estée Lauder Companies Inc., and Tricia Rose, professor and chair of the Africana Studies Department at Brown University.  All of the ladies were extremely eloquent and knowledgeable as well as passionate about the topic.  Namely, how the perception of Black Women has changed in this country over many centuries.

The forum along with the article has influenced me in that I now better understand the importance of fashion.  I always knew that appearance is important but the fashion aspect is more specific.  By making sure that we look our best, we stretch our opportunities to make positive first impressions because people will be more inclined to hear what we have to say.  Honestly, I need to make some changes.  An article here on BrandMaker News has some good tips to help me get started.

That being said, do you think there are any correlations between fashion and success?  What is your appearance saying about your personal brand?

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2 responses to “Appearance Matters

  1. There is a reason why the saying goes, “Dress for Success” because how a person presents his or herself through fashion is the first thing that an employer will judge a candidate on.

    If a man is dressed in a suit and tie. His shoes shine. Basically, he is well-groomed from head-to-toe, an employer might interpret his appearance as someone who is organized, and takes pride in himself, which also can translate to: This is a person who is organized, and cares about results. Thus, he is willing to put in the work, for a job, well-done.

    On the other hand, if a man shows up for an interview, and his hair is disheveled. His clothes are wrinkled, and his shoes are worn out, this appearance could translate to an employer, that the man is lazy, unorganized, and doesn’t take pride in hard work.

    So appearance can definitely play a part on one’s career path, and how others view you.

  2. Desiree Rodgers was pretty accurate when she said character judgements are usually based on what we look like. Society co-signs “the image is everything” mantra since our generation is VERY visual. Image informs people of our personality and lifestyle…it is a form of communication. Whether at work or play, we have to ensure that we put effort into dressing and grooming. We make a better impression when we look good simply because it makes us feel good.

    Great topic Joey! Looking forward to updates!
    And thanks for adding me to your “Sweet Sites” section!

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