Before I go on, I must apologise in advance to any female readers
As I am a male, the content is going to revolve around a males appearance (the non drag type). If you’d like to add to this from a females perspective, I’d be happy to include it in the post (with credit)!
Lets face it, when you know you look good, you feel good! By “good” I don’t mean something out of a catalogue (or worse, a typical salesman!) … just make sure everything actually fits, there are no ridiculous contrasts (and you’ve got your fly done up).
I love a good fit on a shirt, so much so that it made me change my lifestyle when I started to get serious about my career.
Sadly, the “average man” these days is a bit overweight … so companies have adjusted to this to accommodate it. I realised how ridiculous I looked because I was the average as and I could not fit into what is now classed as a “slim fit” (what used to be normal) because of the belly I had to hide. I changed my lifestyle to make sure I never had to hide my figure again (I’ll go into this some other time). I also used to always wear a jacket to help hide “the average belly”, these days I only wear it for formalities or if its cold. If you’re wondering, a typical shirt off the shelves tends to look like this if you’re under the “average”.
Hey, I’m not saying I’ve got a six pack … but I’d say I’m average … and I have to buy “slim fit” shirts!
Also, I’m not saying we should all be in the “slim fit”, if you’re not, make sure you have a shirt that fits.
Hey, guess what !? Bell bottoms are out! (Ok, so I was late to this party). Again, a good fit is the way to go. Times have changed and trousers are a little bit slimmer these days (although trends seem to have gone a bit too far in some cases and some look like they’ve been painted on).
If you’re not so tall, like me (apparently I’m the average at 5’10” … what a load of bo**ocks as I seem to look up at everyone I know !), non hammertime trousers make you look a bit taller.
This is very subjective as everyone I meet seems to have different taste. Actually, I think I need to gauge whether you know what I mean by this … If you know what the difference between a quarter brogue and a round toe derby is, then you’re good to pick for yourself. If not and you think there’s “smart shoes” and “trainers” … then leave this site ! (okay, or just go to mr porter and have an education).
Although a lot of people would disagree with this, I would never stick on a suit and tie to turn up to a manufacturing facility when I knew I would be on the factory floor. In fact, the only time I wear ties these days is for weddings, funerals, interviews and high level board meetings (even then I struggle, I hate them!). That said, most of the clients I meet are engineers that work line side and ties can be a bit of a health hazard in those environments. Yes, tie clips (and jackets) stop them being loose, and in the boardroom, you’re not near machinery anyway … so I guess you need to judge it for yourself. Especially if you’re in an industry where its the norm (for instance, banking!).
Obviously you cant wear all of the eventualities to all of your meetings. So, where/how should you gauge it all ?
I find a cut away collar shirt, smart chinos and quarter or chisel toe brogues work well for most occasions for me (with steel toe cap boots wherever necessary), but as I said, I work in an engineering environment, and that works well there.
It’s a gauging game, use common sense and dress appropriately ! Lets face it, you’re a sales guy and they’re expecting you to look like this and sound like this . Figure out what the customers/prospects you’re going to visit wear and make sure you look slightly better than them. I stress slightly better because you want them to think “wow, he looks smart, I could do with taking a page out of his book” … and not “wow, what a flash pr*ck, he thinks the sun shines out of his ar*e!”.
They’re expecting you to look presentable, but you need to fit in (so don’t wear a suit to a coal mine!). Obviously its impossible to get this spot on with new prospects as you have no idea to know exactly what the dress code is / or what the envir.onment you’ll be visiting is like. For instance, I’ve been to see new people over at the Ford manufacturing facility quite a few times … sometimes I’m line side, discussing operations on an engine build and sometimes I’m in the board room, suited and booted.
I’ve f*cked up a few times with this and I now keep a “just in case” pack in the boot of my car (as well as my PPE) this includes (with the lessons learned):
- A shirt – Lesson learned: I was given a dribbly cup with my coffee during a morning meeting (ok, I dribbled). Stained my shirt and had two more meetings that day, not good!
- Polo top – I was at a factory for 4 hours, in the middle of summer (35 degrees), there was no air-conditioning on site … and I was wearing a suit! Paedophile in a playground got mentioned a few times.
- Jeans – My “smart” trousers didn’t enjoy navigating through a mile of thorns bushes
- Tie – I hate them, I haven’t had a situation where I felt the need to have one on … but you never know!
- Jacket – the hoodie doesn’t quite cut it sometimes :p
- Trousers – yes … I’ve split a pair before!