Do clothes make the man?

Sorry ladies, I’m going to focus on the men here, mainly because I’m a guy and that’s what I know.

You know that old saying?

You never get a second chance at a first impression.

Clichés are clichés because they’re often true. It’s really important that when you dress – and I’m not just talking about a formal client meeting here or a job interview,  I’m addressing the whole activity of relationship building – when you need to speak to someone to get advice or arrange an introduction, or pitch for new business the best thing to do is to wear a suit. You may not want to wear a tie but, you know, it’s probably better to have a tie than not.

With suits there a few simple things to remember.  Here are the key ones in my view:

  1. If you’re wearing a tie, make sure the tie length touches your belt buckle or goes just past it.
    It’s such a silly look when you see these guys tying ties that go halfway down their shirt fronts. It’s just ridiculous. Especially if someone has a big pot belly, like a beer gut, it’s even worse.
  2. Make sure you wear nice shirts.
    Don’t wear tatty or cheap-looking shirts. Shirts need to show sleeve cuff when you’re wearing the suit. That’s important. With the sort of people that I work with, they tend to wear expensive suits and that’s fine. It’s all the rage to wear shirts with French cuffs. Try to reflect what your best dressed audience tends to wear.
  3. With shoes, invest in a decent pair. 
    They don’t need to be a thousand dollar pair of shoes but a brand like a Florsheim (that’s what I wear) is fine. They’re not super expensive but they’re not dirt cheap.  You can really tell a lot about a man by the shoes that he wears.  I tend to just wear just black leather shoes, but I always make sure that they’re very clean and shiny.
    I also tend to “half sole” them.  What half sole means is that when I cross my legs (not crossed like a lady – but cross them so that my lower left leg is horizontal to the floor) that the person can see that I take care of my shoes because they’re half soled. Also a half sole protects the leather. Good shoes always have full leather soles.
    I also make sure that the heel is nice and fresh.  It’s important that you keep the heel square because what tends to happen is that the lower part of the heel wears out and it’s designed to do that. And when it’s worn out, it looks shabby.

The reason that I’m going into so much detail is that you can tell a lot about a person, about their self care, their attention to detail and about how organised they are by the way they take care of their shoes.

Am I being overly pedantic or just plain weird? Maybe. But I’m the one who is usually giving advice not asking for it!