Power of first impressions – How to make a Killer first impression before you even open your mouth

A positive first impression can go a long way in business.

Many of my clients are self employed and understand the value of dressing to reflect how they want to be perceived in business.

Neglecting to invest in developing a memorable image and personal brand can do damage. Research shows that your appearance strongly influences other people’s perception of you. If you have just started in business or you are looking to expand, its important to know your personal brand is influenced by the clothing you wear. Wether you like it or not, what you wear in business communicates what you stand for and how successful you seem to others.

Psychology today in the UK, conducted research with over 300 men and women. The looked at images for 3 seconds before making snap judgements about them. The faces were pixilated so that clothing was the focus. The images of men in well fitting clothes were judged more favourably as being confident, successful, flexible and a higher income earner.

So our clothes say a great deal about who we are. It also tells us that it only takes 3 seconds for people to make an accurate or inaccurate assumption of us.

First impressions are based on 3 factors

  1. VISUAL STATEMENT – What you wear and how you wear it.
  2. PSYCHOLOGICALLY – Your body language and how you hold yourself
  3. VERBAL – Not necessarily what you say, but the tone you say it in.

Clothing can project the right message about your personal brand. It can reflect professionalism and the level of respect you have for yourself. You can create a brand but it needs to be organic and authentic. It needs to reflect true you and your values. You need to ask yourself – How do I want me clients to perceive me?

In a networking environment, wearing a statement necklace or a bolder lipstick can make a lasting impression. Stripes demand authority. For the men, it can be wearing a colourful tie or shirt with your usual pant and jacket. If you are public speaking, you want to aim to be one of the best dressed people in the room.

Why is a visual impression so important? If someone is dressed well, we have greater confidence in their ability. If they make an effort with their appearance, then we assume they will have pride in their work. If you are a business owner meeting a client for the first time – what impression will you make if you turn up in running gear versus wearing a well put together outfit that looks like you have made an effort.

As a personal stylist, my focus is on the visual statement that you make. Are the clothes you are wearing :

  • APPROPRIATE – This is the most important factor. What level of dress is required for the situation. What is expected.
  • AUTHORITIVE – This means the details – the fit, quality, cleanliness.
  • AUTHENTIC – The touches of who you are. This is the image you intend to project. This is the real you. Authenticity can be shown through accessories, colour and print.


Confidence comes with wearing the right clothing to suit your body shape, style and lifestyle. Working with a personal stylist can give you clarity on what your unique style is and how to pull together the outfits that make you feel like the best possible version of you. If you wear something that makes you feel good, you will look and seem confident. It’s important to have a wardrobe full of clothes that fit, flatter and reflect the true you. This will save you time every morning. A definite style helps make more considered choices when your shopping. When you are clear about how you want to be perceived and what your business stands for, you buy things that are consistant with your image.

You don’t need to spend a fortune to dress well. Your style ( or brand ) is about dressing appropriately so that you feel great in what you wear and project positivity. Confidence ultimately helps you make a lasting impression – which will lead to new opportunities. Take action now and start to ask yourself if you are dressing to attract the right clients and to reflect your authentic self.


*All images sourced via Pinterest

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