Wednesday 19 November 2014

First Impression Fashion Formula

Sometimes the best laid outfits don't end up working out the morning you intended to wear them.  That's what happened to me this morning.  I was scheduled to meet and work with a new client for my private OT practice and laid out what I thought was the perfect outfit then as I was brushing my teeth with about 40 minutes till departure-time, I started thinking about my Michael Kors cobalt blazer and had a last minute change of outfit plans...
Michael Kors blazer gifted but thrifted for $7!!!

You can't really blame me, right?  Look at it - it's gorgeous!  
Mustard strand $3 Salvation Army Thrift Shop

My wild Wednesday behaviour got me thinking about why I changed my mind.  I had selected a grey blazer and neutral top but I wanted my new clients to see me as colourful not neutral; as fun, passionate and engaging; not too stiff but still professional; willing to crawl on the floor (or down the stairs as it turned out) but still polished.  Basically, I expected my outfit to convey quite a lot.  To break it down:
  1. A blazer is a must for any professional first impression.  With thrifted prices, blazers are affordable for everyone and I have always found an excellent selection.  If you are facing a more conservative first meeting, choose the neutral that I tossed aside today.  I work in pediatrics which is anything but conservative, so colourful was totally acceptable and even preferable.  Children really are drawn to colour and if you follow me on Instagram, there are always "colour days" so it never hurts to have a rainbow of options!  This particular blazer is cut and tailored impeccably and in perfect condition.  I have no idea why someone would donate it, but whoever you are, THANK YOU.  Another blazer bonus: pockets!  You need somewhere to keep your phone tissue in case of emergency.
  2. Patterned under-layer.  Floral doesn't scream November but dark floral is a Fall trend so I went with it.  I liked that the shell didn't add bulk and that the length allowed me to create a short over long over skinny look.  I don't necessarily need a coordinating colour in my pattern, but first impressions call for matchy-matchy rather than mix-not-match
  3. Neutral bottom.  In my cobalt-blazer research, I noted that black pants or denim were the most common bottom pieces.  Well, denim is obviously out -  NEVER EVER EVER wear denim to an interview or professional meeting no matter how casual - and my black pants are meh.  These cords on the other hand are stretchy and comfy yet structured.  Plus it's cold.  
  4. You could skip 2 and 3 by wearing a dress.  But I needed to leave my options open for sitting on the floor, lifting, transferring and what have you.  Also, sometimes people get the wrong idea about dresses.  They think you're uppity but really, you just don't like waistbands.  #afraidofpants  In any case, I didn't want to chance it today.
  5. Quality footwear.  No sneakers or even Toms.  #sorrynotsorry  Opt for closed toe closed heel, not too flashy... unless I'm interviewing, then wear your most fantastic shoes because they might just seal the deal and next thing you know, we're friends for life.  Shoes can do that. 
  6. Finishing touches.  You know how I feel about accessories.  You wouldn't walk into a first meeting naked, so don't walk in without at least earrings and a necklace.
A scarf is a nice finishing touch, especially if it's mustard.

I think I made a decent first impression.  I fit in with the general vibe of the other staff - young, hip and accessorized...  Shush about the young part, just let me fit in.  I wasn't over-dressed and I even got hugs from a few kids including a girl in a sequins purple top.  I told her to come see me in twenty years for a job.
Love you, Cobalt Kors!
Last look at colour-wheel opposites hanging out amongst the flowers in perfect first-impression fashion harmony!

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