Most of us teach our kids not to judge a book by its cover because it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But at the same time, if you took your child to a daycare center and the workers hadn’t showered that day and were wearing dirty, ripped clothing, you’d walk right out and never let your kids go near there again. Like it or not, looks matter.

This doesn’t mean you need to have plastic surgery, but we all need to present ourselves in a professional manner if we want to be taken seriously in a business situation.

Most people know not to dress in jeans and a dirty t-shirt when meeting with clients, but just because you dress up for a meeting doesn’t mean you’re making the impression you want to. Here are a few quick tips on how to dress for meetings or other business occasions.

Business clothes should be comfortable. When someone is wearing a suit and tie and is not used to it, it shows. It’s kind of like watching a small child in their Sunday best. They wriggle and readjust and no matter what they do, it’s obvious they just don’t feel comfortable. While it’s important to dress up a bit for business meetings, don’t go so far from your normal attire that you’re going to look out of place.

Just remember not to take this too far. If you’re only comfortable when you’re wearing sandals, baggy jeans, and an old T-shirt, then you probably need to learn to be more comfortable in more appropriate clothing.

Your clothes also need to match your business philosophy. If you’re presenting yourself as a cutting edge company, then you need to dress cutting edge. If you’re the laid back fun company, then you may want to stick with the jeans or nice slacks instead of the business suit. Dressing the best you possibly can isn’t going to help you if it conflicts with your business image.

It’s not only clothes that matter, it’s the rest of you, too. You could have really expensive clothes, but if you haven’t brushed your hair or ironed those clothes, the effort is wasted. If you have a full-length mirror, take a quick look before you head out to your meeting. You may have neglected to take care of something simple that will easily give the wrong impression to clients.

Business Attire 101
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