Close the Deal with Your Image

For the High Impact Meeting, it’s game on/iStock photo courtesy of  STYLEdge®

By Patty Soltis, Guest Columnist

It’s time for the meeting that you have been working towards for such a long time, the presentation is complete, materials are prepared and talking points are covered. Then the moment arrives when you must make a first impression of power, success and results. In the blink of an eye, a first impression is made with a judgment on trust, competence, dominance, ability, and strength; communication is 7 percent of the first impression –and that leaves 93 percent of this first impression on your appearance. Time, energy and funding have been spent on the preparation and presentation of materials, hours logged attaining this game-changing meeting and now is the time to make a killer first impression.

For the High Impact meeting, this is the time that you are going to step up your game and present yourself as a power player! Your color tones are going to be darker and more serious, which means deep, rich colorations of black, navy, grey, brown. Leave the brights and bold colors in your closet. This is the time for a suit, matched to make the point, something that you are going to invest in and wear for years to come. Be prepared to spend money, knowing that these pieces are going to last.

The fit of the suit is key, looking at the shoulder, torso, body and length. The jacket is the first place to start and it must fit in the shoulders initially to move forward. If it does not fit in the shoulder, do not look at anything else as it will not work. When it does fit in the shoulder, then look at the proportion to know if that is the right one for your body.

Too often, especially for men, the fit of the suit is oversized in the body and the length. The days of the three and four button suits have passed and modern suiting has one or two buttons. The cut is more slender and fortunately, the trend has moved away from the snug fit of years gone by and suiting is more forgiving now, but still tailored. A double-breasted suit is always in style, but watch the fit because they need to be tailored to your body. The length of the jacket should be no longer than the top of the leg and the sleeve should be hemmed to ever so slightly above the wrist bone so that the dress shirt just peeks out beyond the sleeve of the jacket.

Suits for men today mostly have one or two buttons/iStock photo coutesy of STYLEdge®


For women, there are many options for suiting, starting with the jacket. You want a jacket that fits and proportion varies more for women and thus the style of jacket that is appropriate will vary as well.

For the woman with a more ample bosom, the jacket is going to come to a “V” at or right below this. For those that have a more straight up and down figure, look for a jacket that comes in at the waist. There are jackets with no lapel, narrow and wide lapels. The length of the sleeve is going to vary based on the length of your arms to your body and the sleeve length can be corrected either at the shoulder or at the wrist. If your arms are shorter in length, the sleeve should hit slightly above the wrist bone, up to one inch. If they are longer in length, they can be long enough to hit the wrist bone. Pair this jacket with a matching skirt, trousers or sheath dress for high impact.

Overall, there are many tips to add longevity and style to this look:

1. Think about custom suiting for this. It can be more affordable than you think and with the cost per wear ratio over the years, it will pay for itself.
2. Pockets can be so convenient and tempting to use. Loading your pockets with general items weighs down the fabric causing excess wear and tear. Leave the pockets on the exterior of your jacket sewn shut to remove the temptation to use them. For men, the breast pocket is for your phone and business cards. Keep the keys light if you are putting them in your trouser pocket. Some women’s suit jackets have the breast pocket and use that for your business cards.
3. When making an investment in your suit, have extra fabric built in the seams. As your body changes as you age, and it will, this lets alterations happen to the garment. The design house of Chanel is famous for doing this and their pieces last a lifetime for their clients.
4. Check the rise of the trousers for both men and women. The rise needs to reflect the proportions of your torso. For those with a shorter shoulder to waist ratio, drop the trousers down slightly more on the hips. Generally, trousers should fit below your belly button.
5. Hem your trousers for the right break. This is a common term in the world of suiting. This is where the trousers crease on your lower leg and there are multiple options for this in general. For the High Impact Meeting, you want the break to be clean and the trousers to skim the top of your
shoes. Thus, have the exact shoes on when having them hemmed.
6. Accessories should be kept to a minimum. For men, wear a timepiece and a partnership ring, that’s it. For women, light on the jewelry. A pair of stud earrings are perfection and it is imperative that your jewelry is silent. No festive clinking of bangles here or a necklace that moves as you walk.
7. Shoes are key! Make sure that yours are polished and shiny. Taps and soles on shoes must be replaced regularly and a cobbler can do that quickly.
8. Add a dress shirt and neckwear that are understated for men, a pocket square that complements the tie is a wonderful addition. For women, the underpinning should be discreet and in balance with the suit.
9. Since our Florida climate, both business and weather, does not require most to suit up frequently, get yours out two weeks before you need to wear it. Check for fit, cleanliness, fabric wear and wrinkles.

Start closing the deal from the minute you walk in the room with your look of power, success and results at your next High Impact Meeting. Your first impression starts the meeting off with the right tone and your presentation will flow so much more flawlessly.

Patty Soltis/Photo courtesy of  STYLEdge®

Patty Soltis has spent the last three years as a frequently sought-after image consultant who specializes in working with alpha business leaders to match their brand with a credible and professional image.  She worked in retail for 27 years and was the general manager at the prominent retailers Lord & Taylor and Marshall Fields.  Patty worked for nearly 14 years at Neiman Marcus, mainly as their vice president.  She has worked with thousands of professionals over decades of change on their timeless image.  Patty can be seen on television and heard on radio and podcast shows.  She has been in media in print and online regularly as an expert.  She is the author of “First Impressions Last”, a book for the professional woman to exude confidence, power and skill with her attire.

Her Five Modes of Professional Attire give the client an impression to start the journey to competence, power and success.  Most of all, her clients make an impression that exudes leadership, achievement and results as an industry leader.  As a professional speaker, Patty communicates how to dress for success in a candid and interactive manner.  She educates and trains her audience how to put the Five Modes of Professional Attire into their life with ease and simplicity.  Patty points out items to invest in for a “cost per wear” return and how to shop on a budget.

Be powerful, be impressive, be memorable.

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