To impress the boss, you must dress like the boss.

By: Emmi


Seeing is believing, and when management sees you presenting yourself as one of them, they'll believe you should join the party.

Obviously having the quality of your work stand out is important. However, it's not enough to seal the deal for advancement. Why?

Many times the impression we make on others is based on quick, seemingly inconsequential interactions. Pretend you're the head of your company. You're strolling down the hall of your office surveying your domain and you spot two of your employees exit the elevator; Johnson walking confidently in a well tailored dress shirt, slacks, and polished shoes and Jensen ambling forward in a wrinkled over-sized shirt and pants that are slightly too short. Who would you rather represent your company?

Taking pride in your work attire isn't just about making powerful momentary impressions, numerous studies have shown that a person's productivity decreases when they wear casual clothing to work. Most men know this but think dressing well for work is an additional full time job. I'm happy to report the contrary. Once you get a handle on the basics, dressing well isn't any harder than just getting by and it can take your professional experience to a whole new level. As a men's image consultant I see it time and time again with my clients. Almost immediately after we update their professional image, they've experienced:

- Being singled out at a manager's meeting for outstanding appearance and held up as an example to follow by the company President.
- Receiving a raise that is triple the status quo at their company.
- Securing $15,000 more business of additional projects from long standing (and stagnating) accounts.
- Getting promoted.

It's no coincidence, it's confidence. These men felt like the king of the jungle in the right clothes, and it elevated their attitude and the external perception of others. It's no surprise they suddenly caused outstanding results.

So, here are the basics for dressing to impress at work:

-Know your industry and the expectations. Walk into a downtown Boston law firm and a Cambridge bio-tech company on a Friday and it's clear business casual means very different things to different employers. What do the respected senior managers at your company wear? Follow their lead. Even in industries where dressing down is the norm, you can be a cut above the rest without looking out of place. A suit's job is to make the wearer appear polished. This look can be achieved with more casual items by making sure each piece of clothing is new looking, clean and unwrinkled, fitted well to your body, and in colors that flatter you. Add distinguishing accessories to your simple button down and khaki slack like a saddle leather belt and modern lace up shoes. Dress shirts with a French cuff and cuff links are also an excellent way to elevate your appearance.

-Attention to detail. Your interactions with your superiors should never be distracted by your lack of attention to detail. With clothing that includes missing buttons, pet hair, wrinkles, lint, rips or fraying seams, etc. Men have a tendency of holding onto clothing way past the expiration date, which is also not smart since the past year has brought significant shifts in men's style. Designers have moved completely away from boxy and baggy to slim fit and tailored. If you're wearing clothing that's half a decade old and seen better days, it's time to replace it. You want your boss noticing how on top of things you are, not that you're sloppy or out of date.

-Meet your new best friends, your tailor and your dry cleaner. Wearing ill fitting clothing never sends the right impression unless the message you want to send is you are oblivious to the obvious. It's a trait that won't get you on any senior management teams other than of Enron ilk. Few men can wear everything they buy off the rack without alterations. If you have any business attire that fits you in the following ways: baggy, too tight, too short, or too long, either have it tailored or replace it with something that does fit. The most common mistake men make is wearing shirts and pants that are too big. Wrists and ankles aren't collection trays for extra fabric, so take the next step and get them tailored. $15 is a steal when you consider what that buys you, no one ever thinking again "He's way too short for those pants". Find a tailor by your place of work so it's easy for you to drop stuff off and pick it up.

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Emmi Sorokin is a Boston based men's image consultant who dresses her clients for professional and personal success.

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