The Clothes Make the Man – How the Right Look Can Help You Reach Your Goals

By Bruce Sturgell

By Bruce Sturgell

In this day and age, you can make a six-figure salary while working from home in your boxers. Technology allows us to do some amazing things, but it can also keep us from connecting with people and making the most of actual personal relationships – especially outside of your inner circle of family and friends. They say, “Clothes make the man” and, like it or not, to an extent, that’s true.

Below, you’ll find a few tips to help you pull together a more professional look that can help you land a job, get that promotion, or move forward in just about anything you’re trying to do.

Clothing: Dressing yourself well shows that you put thought into the way you present yourself, and how you want to be seen. If you’re headed to a job interview, be sure you know what level of work attire is expected. Business formal? Break out the suit, and add an interesting tie that helps show your personality. Understand which colors best suit your complexion, and build a variety of outfits around them.

Don’t be afraid to dress it up a bit. You can look good without being stuffy or feeling stiff and constricted. Get creative!

Grooming: David Beckham can get away with a 5 o’clock shadow, but you might not be able to. Shave as often as you need to and, if you’re like me and you’re sporting a beard, trim it into a style that you’re happy with, as opposed to letting it grow wild. My beard is still long, but it looks well groomed and adds symmetry to my face. Unless you’re making moonshine in the woods for a living, you can probably stand to trim the beard or goat a bit.

If you deal with dry skin or acne on a regular basis, it’s even more important to wash your face and use moisturizer. Having skin problems most of my life, I can tell you that using the right kind of soap and moisturizer has made a big difference in the way my skin looks. If you’re already doing these kinds of things and your skin isn’t getting better, consider visiting a doctor or dermatologist – they can offer you more in-depth assistance.

It’s probably obvious, but dental care is pretty high up there as well. Clean teeth and healthy gums can help you avoid bigger long-term issues, so it’s worth going to the dentist for a checkup every 6 months.

You’ve dealt with the hair on your face, now it’s time to do something about the hair on your head. Be sure to hit the barber a few days before a big meeting or interview – that gives you enough time to get used to a new haircut…or in the event your trim doesn’t go the way you wanted it to, you can get it cleaned up somewhere else. Don’t be afraid to use product! From pomade to hairspray, to a thousand kinds of gel, there’s something out there that’ll help you tame your mane. Try different product to figure out what gives you the exact look you like, or ask your stylist.

Posture: I’m horrible about this, so it’s something I try to work on regularly. The way you carry yourself can make a big difference in the way people view you. Slouching or leaning back in your seat says that you’re less sure of yourself, and can come off as defensive in some cases. Sitting up straight, and just generally carrying yourself with purpose, though it sounds like something your Granddad might say, can make people perceive you in a different way. This is especially important in situations where you’re trying to negotiate something – a salary, loan amount, funding for your new website. Though it seems like a small thing, it can make all the difference in the world.

Attitude: Your attitude can trump almost all of these other things we’ve discussed. Be open and friendly – make eye contact with people when you’re talking to them, and speak clearly. All of these things show that you can be direct, open, and accessible. Of course, stand your ground when you need to, work on your negotiation skills (there’s a difference between negotiating and arguing – learn it), and master how to speak in front of crowds. Once you get the hang of dealing with multiple people, everything else will be simple.

Remember, ultimately, it comes down to you being comfortable in your own skin, no matter what you’re wearing. Though they’re in the minority, there are most definitely big, long-bearded guys out there wearing suits to work. This is simply a guide to help you amplify all those things about you that you want to share with the world.

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