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Dressing for a good first impression

First impressions are everything. Whether you're meeting with a client, going on a first date or trying to nail that first interview, it pays to ensure your appearance is looking as good as your CV. 

This means no scruffy jeans, no greasy hair and no Lynx Africa. The Graduate Recruitment Bureau suggests there is a seven second window before the person you're meeting makes up their mind about you. 

You may quote the old adage, "Never judge a book by its cover," but in a world where we are meeting new people more than ever, it pays to be a Lord of the Rings instead of a Da Vinci Code.

What should I wear? 

It's time to relegate sweatpants and t-shirts to the back of the wardrobe and start dressing to impress. This is especially key for a job interview, even if the company claims their dress code is smart casual. It’s common sense that looking smart puts you ten steps ahead of the game but many remain unaware of its psychological advantages. If you're looking good, you're feeling good; if you're feeling good, you're going to get good results. 

A man's first port of call for a big meeting or an interview is a suit and tie but, as every man and his dog are going to be rocking up in a suit, it pays to be creative. A fitted shirt and a tailored suit doesn't go unnoticed while pairing this with a covert coat with velvet collar guarantees your status as the smartest man in the room. You could also opt for a tweed check sports jacket paired with a silk tie to ensure you remain smart but stand out from the crowd, too.

"Looking smart puts you ten steps ahead of the game"
"Looking smart puts you ten steps ahead of the game"

Your scent, your musk, your fragrance 

It is not just your appearance that your peers will notice. Your scent will also be a big factor; for the deodorant obtuse, raising your arm to shake hands with a client can therefore be a huge problem. On the other side of the spectrum, caking yourself in Joop may not go down well. 

As a result, it's important to maintain a balance when applying aftershave and, going one step further, the modern man should be pairing their aftershave with their outfit. Going for the classic country gentleman look? Try a spicy, woody fragrance. Going for a sharp, pristine suit? A fresh, crisp aquatic fragrance could do the trick. All it takes is a couple of sprays so don't overdo it!

"If you're looking good, you're feeling good"
"If you're looking good, you're feeling good"

Final touches 

Save your piercings and tattoos for the outside world; for most interviews and meetings, it is good practice to remove or cover any body artwork from view. Opt for a fitted long-sleeve shirt to cover a sleeve tattoo while buttoning a shirt up to the top (or wearing a stylish cravat) can cover any upper chest pieces. 

In the modern era, facial hair is generally acceptable as long as it is smart. Set your trimmer for 1mm or 2mm at the most in order to sculpt the perfect beard or goatee. A clean shaven neck and upper cheek area, combined with a perfect symmetry of facial hair, is perfect; a scruffy, overgrown beard that looks like it has been on a gap year does not. 

As you can see, preparation is paramount. Nailing those seven seconds can be why you eventually secured your dream job or turned round an on-the-block client. Plus you'll have looked amazing doing it.

"Nailing those 7 secs will secure your dream job"
"Nailing those 7 secs will secure your dream job"


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