How To Create The Best First And Lasting Impression

Published on
October 9, 2021

Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

“You are saying something with your appearance whether you mean to or not, so you may as well mean to.” - Lyle Lovett, ‘Cowboy Man’

People often undermine the value that their appearance creates in presenting a strong message in society. Studies show that grooming and personal appearance play a major role in formulating our perception of attractiveness for both men and women. Attractive characteristics are defined as “those characteristics that make an individual appear presentable and pleasing to others.” Even though we say that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, it seems that is exactly what we tend to do. 

Every living and working individual must understand and evaluate the impact they create in a highly competitive and complex society. Communication is not restricted to only speaking good English but it is the ability to make your audience understand what you want to express, irrespective of your situation or language. Hence, communication is a means of exchanging or transmitting ideas, thoughts, views, opinions, facts, information and emotions between two or more individuals. It is said that out of the total effect of communication, words account for only 10%, whereas non-verbal communication accounts for 90%, of which 50% of this impact is due to a person’s visual appearance.

Photo by Pj Go on Unsplash

Why Is A Good Appearance Crucial?

Physical and Personal appearance is a means of non-verbal communication. Physical appearance relates to your body language, facial expressions, eye movements, postures and gestures, and other physical elements of your personality. Personal appearance mainly refers to clothing and grooming, the way you look when you step out of your house, including your attire, hairstyle, clean-shaven face, make-up, accessories etc. 

Your appearance is easily accessible, unhidden and is a statement of your values, personality, creativity, credibility, goals, interests, ambitions and attitudes. Our clothing symbolizes the kind of image we wish to convey to the other person. Consciously or subconsciously, our family, friends, colleagues, employers and employees react and respond to our appearances in a negative or positive manner. 

Imagine you are wearing a black suit, a crisp white shirt with an elegant satin tie. How will you feel? Wouldn’t you feel like a confident and powerful boss? Or if you are not in a good mood and you think of wearing a nice yellow or pink coloured dress to go out for lunch, won’t you feel lighter and good? Such is the power of clothes. 

It influences perceptions about us, indicates approachability, flexibility, social and self-awareness, respectability and comfort. Every outfit; its size, quality, colour, length and so on sends messages as our outward appearances reflect our innermost beliefs, moods, values and attitude. We dress to celebrate, mourn, marry, bid farewell, relax, enchant, attract, succeed and win.

What Are The Grooming Standards?

Formal and informal dressing conveys different messages. So, the dress one wears should be appropriate for the event. For example; important meetings, conferences, social functions and other ceremonial occasions call for formal clothing. Get-togethers, dinner dates, parties and celebrations usually call for informal wear. Many organizations also have an unwritten dress code, any breach of this will dilute the effectiveness of communication. Good grooming and a hygienic appearance go a long way, irrespective of you wearing a casual or formal dress.

Given below are some of the universal grooming standards that one can follow to make themselves look presentable and tidy:

For Men 

  • Length of hair should not exceed the shirt collar and should be regularly trimmed.
  • Facial hair should be freshly shaven. Mustache and beard to be trimmed neatly.
  • Jackets and suits should be worn in one coordinated colour.
  • Undershirts should generally be tidy, crease-free and plain, with no designs or patterns.
  • Wear an elegant tie that matches the shirt. Avoid cartoon patterns.
  • No visible tattoos, earrings and rings. Watches should also have a professional shape.
  • Trim your nails regularly. The length of the nails should not be more than 0.05 cm.
  • A belt with plain buckles is preferred.
  • Shower on a daily basis and apply perfume, deodorant or cologne sparingly. Your smell should not linger after you leave.
  • Always wear plain and polished shoes for formal settings.
  • Socks worn should be without holes.

For Women 

  • Tasteful, professional accessories and jewelry are allowed. Only one earring should be there on each of the ears.
  • Shoes should be well-maintained and regularly polished without any worn-out straps or broken soles. Heels should be a minimum of 5cm in height.
  • Use makeup sparingly and keep it natural-looking, with lighter shades that match your skin tone.
  • Wear nail polish that has a natural and neutral colour.
  • Hair should be neat and nicely brushed, regularly trimmed so that it doesn’t lose its style and is easy to manage.
  • Use only black or brown bobby pins and bands to tie up your hair.
  • If your hair is not tied, it should not cover any part of your face, especially your eyes. Keep it neatly in place.
  • Highlights or hair colour should be in line with your skin tone. Avoid extreme colours like pink or green.
  • Female employees wearing skirts to the office should prefer wearing dark or black coloured pantyhose.
  • Shower daily and apply perfume or deodorant modestly.

As fashion changes, so do the acceptable standards of grooming. A few decades ago, displaying bare skin in public was not acceptable. However, with changing times bare skin or body display is not considered a big deal. So, when you are appropriately dressed and groomed for every occasion, you feel more at ease, comfortable, confident and secure. 

A positive physical appearance is a fusion of personal style, socio-cultural norms and generational influences which should have the ability to match your communication objective, i.e., to have your words, ideas and opinions be taken seriously by your listeners. It is also one of the most effective ways of enhancing productivity levels and improving individual behaviour. 

A compatible selection and coordination of attractive, authentic, appropriate and affordable clothing with proper attention to fit and care are essential to creating a positive first and lasting impression of yourself and your abilities. For a personalized solution and developing yourself to become your own personal brand, book a session with I Am Impeccable today!

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