in Plotting Your Course

On First Impressions

I think it was instilled in me at a pretty young age that it’s important to dress well and look good. It’s less about money and more about making sure that you take the time to care about your appearance. There’s probably some politics to this, but I think at our core, we all want to reflect how we feel and if we’re feeling good, it extends to how we present ourselves through our outfits.

One of (many) things many of us don’t find out as kids are how to navigate the waters of dressing well and what that even means. We’re all probably seen enough “What Not To Wear” episodes to recognize that some of us are just less sartorially minded than others.

As I contemplate stepping into a different role, there’s a comfort (and a fear, frankly) associated with the first impressions and perceptions people have of you. A lot of this stems from when you first walk through the door. My music teacher in high school used to always say dramatically that when you walk in the room, everything should stop and people should take notice.

He usually illustrated this by throwing a music stand but that’s neither here nor there. His point is and remains well-taken.

For all of the chatter in my social media world about brand identity, personal brands, Klout scores and follower counts, few things have the same impact of a first meeting. It’s why so many people flood our inboxes trying to schedule meetings. They want that face to face. Whether it’s a date or an interview, folks are always looking to size up others to see what they’re made of.

Still, we don’t really spend a lot of time talking about clothes because it’s a personal thing. There are general dress codes and I know for men, the politics of these things aren’t as deeply fraught with controversy as they can be with women. All of these things are an entirely different conversation than I’m riffing off of here.

Ultimately, I just think it’s interesting to consider the idea of transition to a new place and how our look impacts how we begin building relationships and ultimately present ourselves to an entirely new audience. You lose the comfort of people knowing you, of having an established brand identity and have to rebuild and refresh.

It can be scary, but it’s a good opportunity to revisit, revise and revamp as necessary.