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First impressions count, so you better make a good one!

What your attire says about you and your organisation.

Upon your first meeting with someone, you have a seven second window to present the best version of yourself and create a winning first impression. Consider this: 7 per cent of that first impression is driven by what you say, 38 per cent by how you sound and a resounding 55 per cent by how you look!

Dressing the part – whether it’s for work, social events or sports – has such a huge impact on personal and public perception. I am a strong believer in the energy or vibe certain outfits create, be it for the individual wearing the clothes or the impression a person gets when interacting with an outfit. First impressions only happen once, so consider what you and your team are wearing each day and the many first encounters you are likely to have. What are those seven seconds saying about you, your brand and your company?

I often reflect on the importance of first impressions when travelling in a foreign country for the first time. As I walk the streets looking for somewhere to stop for a meal or coffee break, my final choice is always driven by the presentation and overall look of the venue.

We are a culture based on first impressions, and in a market that is more competitive than ever it’s important to make your brand stand out in the crowd. Leading companies ensure their environment, team, marketing and message are consistent, and that all elements that impact their brand are a clear representation of the ethos or culture of the company.

Staff uniforms are a big part of this message; they are the first impression the consumer has of the brand and yet they are often overlooked.

Here are my tips for a great seven second first impression:

  1. Think about it! Spend time evaluating your week; who you are meeting, what you need to do and what outfit/outfits work best.
  2. Understand your brand – whether working for yourself or for a company, you need to understand the culture, the service and product expectations and the overall marketing message. You will be surprised how much this will influence how you dress.
  3. Look around – what are your colleagues wearing, what are senior management wearing, what about your major competitors? Know the expectations and set your standards for dress based on the best in your industry.
  4. Dress for your shape. Understanding your body, shape, age and what is appropriate shows you are in total control of who you are and what you do!
  5. Get the basics right – ensure you have your wardrobe staples; great fit trousers, summer and winter options and formal and casual options.
  6. Be pressed and Polished – Make sure your work wardrobe is always clean, ironed and not overworn. Old, crumpled clothing looks messy and unprofessional.
  7. Project what you expect. Dress the part, walk the walk and talk the talk. If you are dressed the way you would like to be perceived, you start to feel and then act that way. You will be surprised at the change in customer and team interaction when you dress and feel the part.


Pamela Jabbour is the founder and CEO of Total Image Group, which designs, sources and manufactures uniforms for companies across Australia.

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Paul Ikutegbe
Paul Ikutegbe

I totally agree with your take on first impressions based on how your look in terms of dress attires. Although HR professionals push for an unbiased approach to workplace interactions, the power of looks tends to have a huge impact on how we interact with each other. If this impact goes unchecked, we may tend to come across as bias in our judgement. This is likely to occur in recruitment and selection environments. I believe more awareness is needed in this space. Thank you.

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