The Details Do Matter!

Want to take your appearance from good to great? Then it is time to focus on the details. So often, I see professionals making the effort to dress well only to fall short by overlooking key details like the length of their pants in relation to heel height, the hairstyle or the condition on their shoes. These details can enhance or detract from a polished appearance. They can even signal a message that you simply don’t care or you are just not paying attention. Neither is positive. A polished look comes from focusing not only on the appropriate clothing and styles for your body shape and work environment but also focusing on specific details.

I’ve provided some tips below that will help you view your appearance and the image you project in a different light.

  • Review your wardrobe and make sure everything fits your body shape and size. If it doesn’t fit, have it tailored or let it go! Tailoring guidelines:

  1. Tailor your pant length to the shoe heel you plan on wearing with each pant. You cannot wear the same black pant with a heel and a flat.

  2. If your suit coat, sport coat or blazer is too big, have it taken in. That goes for ladies’ suits and blazers too.

  3. Tailor your jacket sleeves right above the fleshy part of the thumb. If you want to show a small section of your shirt cuff then have the jacket sleeve tailored a bit shorter. The key is to avoid the sleeve covering your hand. Ladies-please do not roll up a jacket sleeve unless it is designed to do that. You will appear lazy and sloppy.

  4. If your pant leg is too wide or the seat of the pant is too baggy have your tailor make the appropriate adjustments. It changes the look of your pant completely plus you’ll look thinner!

  • Guys - figure out the style pant that suits your body shape and style. I love the flat front pant but that style may not work for everyone. Avoid a cuff with the flat front style and make sure none of your pants “pools” over your shoes.

  • Select dress shirts that complement your body shape. There are a variety of styles available from classic to slim fit. Figure out the one that works best for you. There is no need to have extra fabric around your middle. It creates unnecessary bulk and looks sloppy. Your tailor can take in your shirts as well if you cannot find the perfect fit. A custom made shirt is also an option if your budget allows!

  • Nothing ruins your look faster than a worn out or scuffed pair of shoes. Check the heels and soles. If they are in bad shape take them to the cobble. Polish or clean your shoes each time you wear them. They will last longer and certainly look better.

  • If you don’t have time for a manicure make sure you nails are trimmed and clean. Hands are a focal point. Chipped or dirty nails don’t support a professional image. Clean and trimmed nails goes for the guys too.

  • Please don’t go to work with wet hair. Nothing screams poor time manager than not having yourself together before you arrive at the office. Invest in a great hairstyle that is easy to manage. You never know whom you’ll encounter on your way to work.

  • As far as perfume and cologne go, either skip it altogether or wear a very small amount. Many people are allergic to fragrance or they may simply not like it. No one wants to work next to someone doused in perfume or cologne.

  • Invest in an overcoat. Wearing a fleece over a suit coat screams unprofessional all day long! In the event of a snow storm a parker style coat is acceptable but an overcoat is preferred the rest of the time.

  • If your computer bag, tote or handbag have seen better days, then retire it and invest in one that says you are serious about the direction of your career.

Creating a polished and professional appearance requires an investment of time, energy and a bit of dough. No need to break the bank, but aren’t you worth the investment?


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Margaret Batting - Professional Development Consultant, Executive Coach, Brand Strategist and Keynote Speaker, Servicing Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Beyond
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