In today’s world of work, doing your job well is simply not enough. Paying attention to your image and personal style is vital to success. On the publication of their new book ‘Trusted’, Lyn Bromley and Donna Whitbrook share their top tips on creating a professional image that will wow the workplace. 

Lyn Bromley and Donna Whitbrook

Lyn Bromley and Donna Whitbrook

Invest in your wardrobe

Think of your working clothes as an investment in your future success and spend most of your budget on the items you will wear most often. Invest in some key pieces that you can mix and match, season to season. Spending a little extra will ensure your pieces really go the distance.   

Dress confidently

The clothes you wear can affect your behaviour and change the way you think. Dressing with confidence and knowing we look good has a knock-on effect on how we feel. How we dress not only affects how others perceive us - it also greatly affects how we perceive ourselves. Wearing clothes that make us feel good improves our self-worth and self-image, and in turn, this impacts on the relationships we build.

Dress appropriately

Consider how much authority or approachability you need to display to ensure your message is congruent with your visual appearance. Authority is depicted through maximum contrast of colour and a formal style of clothing. For example, a smart dark business suit with a white shirt. A more approachable appearance is created by wearing softer fabrics with less contrast, for example knitwear with a less formal top.   

Flatter your figure

It is important to understand your body shape and how best to dress to flatter it. We have all seen people wearing clothes that don’t fit them well or don’t suit them. Gain an understanding of how a garment will work for you. Consider how it will perform when you are standing, sitting and bending. You should also ensure that the garment fits well.   

First impressions count

About 90 percent of your body is clothed in business - the remaining 10 percent of your impression is made through your grooming. Immaculate grooming is vital if you want to look professional and credible. However well-dressed you are, poor grooming can ruin your entire appearance.   

Think about colour

Every colour of clothing has a message of its own. How you put them together sends out your message. For example, dark colours - black, navy and darker shades of grey - psychologically connote power, authority, knowledge, responsibility and success. White is a good choice for a blouse or shirt since it presents a clean, formal and sophisticated image.

Express yourself

Express your individuality within your organisation’s dress code. Your personality has a profound effect on the way you choose to dress and present yourself. You create your personal style by wearing clothes and accessories that reflect your individual personality. When you feel and look comfortable in your clothes, you give off an air of self-assurance and ensure that you (and not just your clothes) get noticed.   

Respect your client’s dress code

Be considerate of your client’s dress code and take notice of what is generally worn in their organisation. Giving it even a small amount of consideration can positively affect client relationships in a big way.   

Dress-down carefully

If your organisation engages in ‘dress-down Friday’, be mindful of the impression you may give clients if you are too casually attired. Ensure there is nothing out of your holiday or evening wardrobe!   

Reflect your brand

Determine how to reflect the brand image of the organisation you work for. Standards for dress are essential to ensure the company’s brand is consistent and professional.  

Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training and Donna Whitbrook is a Corporate Associate. They are co-authors of the new book 'Trusted: The human approach to building outstanding client relationships in a digitised world’ (Practical Inspiration Publishing). Find out more at: