I work with clients from a variety of backgrounds, and I’m having a hard time figuring out how to dress for them. My older clients seem to feel more comfortable when I’m wearing a suit because I look professional and competent. Younger representatives, however, find such clothing stuffy and impersonal, and prefer a trendier and more casual look. I often have meetings with multiple clients in a day. It sounds like a silly question, but… what should I wear? – Justine in Waterbury, VT
LYNN: Look for the happy medium. Think in terms of layers – what you can easily change between appointments. Rather than a more rigid and formal suit, pair a nice jacket with your ensemble. At your next call you can replace the jacket with a shrug or sweater. Maybe add a colorful silk scarf for flair. With a very simple wardrobe adjustment, you can better fit the culture of each client you meet in any given day.
TINA: Justine, I would suggest selecting clothing in which you are most comfortable. Understanding that business dress today can run from very casual to the traditional power suit, it is important that you are confident in your appearance. It is helpful to ask what the dress code is when making an appointment – that should help provide direction.
In short, your appearance presents an image which leaves an impression on those with whom you meet. Wear the clothing that fits your mood and the mode of the day.
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.