The moment you walk into the room for that important meeting, job interview, presentation, or networking event, your leadership presence takes center stage. Within five to seven seconds, people are making decisions about you, and 55% of these first impressions are typically based on non-verbal clues – like your clothes.

Take control and manage your presence by ensuring that your clothes convey an accurate portrayal of the best and authentic you! After all, the old adage is true: first impressions are lasting ones.

Extensive research has proven that physically attractive candidates are viewed more favorably than unattractive candidates. Tall candidates are seen as more competent than short candidates. (Have you ever noticed how many presidents are over 6 feet tall?)

Choosing the right outfit can become a symbol of presence, status, and a real door opener! Find ways to package yourself, visually reflecting your inner characteristics with a style that expresses your personality and personal preferences. Remember, our clothes speak for us, so pay attention to the details of dressing. Convey your message with clarity, consistency, and class.

Here are some valuable visual branding tips to help you keep it classy:

1.  When attending a work-related social function, try to determine how your host or hostess would like you to dress. There is nothing wrong with asking about dress codes beforehand. Wear clothes that allow your presence to appear friendly and approachable.

2.  ‘Casual’ generally means that you can wear whatever you want. But in business, there are many do’s and don’ts. Do dress comfortably but don’t look too comfortable. Business casual for the complete leader means no flip-flops, ripped or faded jeans, or plunging necklines.

3.  Take note of the context of the meeting and the seniority of the company, as well as the venue. Obviously, lunch at a burger place is more casual than lunch at a star-rated restaurant. A meeting with board members is more formal than a meeting with your staff. Dress accordingly. When in doubt, be conservative. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. You can always remove extra layers of clothing.

4.  Never wear or purchase anything that does not make you feel good. Make sure it is flattering in every respect. Enhance and showcase your attributes reflecting your authentic style in a tasteful and professional manner.

Lastly, you are constantly presenting your brand to the world, both in your personal and professional life.  Your leadership presence is too valuable to overlook and downplay. Strategically choose clothes from your closet that express your style and sophistication visually. Stand out! It’s your time to shine…. so be bold, brilliant, and remarkable brand yoU!