red cardigan sweater

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Believe it or not, you are a walking message to others.

'Looking the Part' communicates an attitude toward the goals you are pursuing. People see what you are before they hear what you are. Your clothes sends a message about you. Your style of attire speaks of your economic status, social circle, sophistication level, morality and mood. Right or wrong, clothes often generate judgments about a person. Make sure you know what your clothes are saying about you.

Presentation is your gift to others. It reveals what you consider most important about yourself to a client, employer or potential mate.

Regardless of the dress code at the potential client, employer or social gathering find the best appropriate outfit to wear. The chosen ensemble should make you feel like a million bucks.

What to do days before:

It is often said 'proper planning prevents poor performance'. It is true in accomplishing any goal, especially fashion.

Try on your outfit for the occasion. If your suit is too large, pants / sleeves, see a tailor. If your suit / outfit is too small purchase a new one. Make sure all buttons are present and that there are not any stains on anything you are wearing. By all means, make sure your shoes are polished. Oftentimes hiring bosses, clients and potential mates determine what type of person you are based on how your shoes shine (no scuffs).

The Night before:

Determine what you will wear, entire ensemble, suit, jewelry, handbag, shoes, watch. Iron anything in your ensemble that needs attention. Determine how you will style your hair? Men keep it neat, Women keep it stylish to the occasion. Make sure you give yourself a 'spa bath' and apply a 'feelin fresh' deodorant, just in case you find yourself in an uncomfortable environment that makes you start to sweat.

Ladies Helpful Hints

Make sure the ensemble fits correctly (as close to the perfect image as possible). In the personal grooming area remove unwanted facial hair, upper lip area, chin, eyebrows, fingernails / toenails manicured, make sure polish is not chipped, nails are not too long, light on the perfume. Although you've brushed in the morning, chewing gum or chewing a mint before entering the doors of the event does not hurt.

Men Helpful Hints

Make sure the ensemble fits correctly (as close to an athletic look as possible). In the personal grooming area trim ear, nose hair and eyebrows, trim and clean fingernails. Also get a haircut, if you are wearing a suit make sure you can button it. The pants need to have the crease, no stains on shirt, tie, pants and polished shoes. The socks need to be long enough not to show skin when sitting in a chair. Accessories need to be color coordinated, for example if you do not know how with color, most occasions you can get by with black belt, black shoes, black socks and a black band watch. If wearing a suit, the tie needs to be the correct length, end of the tie should be right by your belt buckle, sprinkle cologne on lightly, add a simple watch and ring. Finally as you are driving to the occasion chewing a mint or gum can save the day.

Remember, there are four basic body types; the inverted triangle, rectangle, triangle, and hourglass. Within those body types, no two are the same. Before you shop it's important to start with an understanding of your body type and then dress to balance. Other tips to help you project the right image include:

  1. Consciously choose clothes that make you feel authentic, that say something about your personality before you even say a word.
  2. Align your clothes with your personal and professional goals. In other words, dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
  3. Use your clothing as a form of social communication. The clothes you wear can change the professional attention you get, the kind of people you befriend and even the kind of dates you attract.
  4. Shop your image. Do not simply focus on the style of the moment. Shop at the stores that project the image you want to send.
  5. Consider conceal and reveal strategies which help you show off your best.
  6. Find your best color and body scent.

Scan fashion magazines to find someone you admire how they dress to figure out what you could do differently to enhance your look, add color and accessories. Men if you are looking for role models in the fashion area to follow Michael Jordan, George Clooney, Russell Simmons, and Ryan Seacrest are not bad to follow. Women, Beyonce, Michelle Obama, Faith Hill and Kate Middleton introduce you to a world of colors, scents, styles and accessories.

Your career and life is much likelier to blossom if you look like an extension of your dream job or the company's public face rather than an eyesore who escapes from the 'dawg pound'.