In a Blink of an Eye, A First Impression is Made

iStock photo courtesy of STYLEdge

By Patty Soltis, Guest Columnist

With more and more business conducted outside of typical business hours, networking has become a buzz word and a real necessity to drive your business.

We all love the idea of working 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the reality is that the day stretches into evening with dinners, networking events, philanthropic activities and many other functions.  As a professional, you must make the transition from Day to Dinner flawlessly, presenting an image of power, success and results into the evening hours.

How do you transition from the office to an evening event?

First, it’s important to know what kind of evening event you will be attending. Are you meeting clients? Is it a networking event? Or are you going on a date with someone special? What kind of venue are you heading to?  Is it  a gallery opening, wine bar, upscale restaurant or something less formal?  Going from Day to Dinner requires that you soften your look. You do not want to  look like you’ve had a tough day at the office when you walk in the room and make that all important first impression. Rather, you want to step in elegantly with a glistening smile, hair smoothed and ready to mingle.

I know that you are in a hurry,  but take that extra minute to make sure that your presentation is as impeccable as it was all day long. There may be a whole room full of people, an important client, or someone special that you are about to meet and greet.

Like anything else, preparation is the key.  Outline your schedule for the week prior to Monday so that you know when and where you will be.  Doing this is helpful on so many levels.

Red lipstick is sold in a variety of colors and shades/iStock photo courtesy of STYLEdge

Follow these ideas listed below to turn after work events into more of a treat. 

  • For women, one of the fastest ways to transition is with red lipstick, which are sold in a variety of colors, shades and formulas; find the one that is right for you — and as you apply it, your whole mood will change.
  • For men, the pocket square is key. By adding this item, you will change your image instantly. There are so many videos on You Tube to watch about how to easily fold a pocket square.
  • Lighten fabric weights a bit for the evening. Think about softer fabrics like chiffon, satin silk, even the man made versions of these are now very good.  For women, this means a soft skirt with a bit of fullness or a blouse with a chiffon sleeve.  For men, think about an unlined jacket as an option to the navy blazer.
  • Neckwear for both men and women can change. Ties are now optional in most workplaces, so maybe you want to add one that is a bit more lively for the evening.  For women, adding a bit of bling with a shiny necklace can turn heads as you stroll in for the evening.
  • A bit of metallic can go a long way, too. Transition into a pair of gold, silver, brass or pewter shoes for women. This includes open toe sandals.  Plus, your feet need a change into another pair of shoes too.  For men, add a pair of cuff links for a more conservative look or a masculine bracelet. A soft sheen to your necktie in gold or silver can work as well.
  • Lighten up before you go. For men, arrive with your wallet, phone, keys and business cards.  Remove all of that extra stuff in your pockets.  For women, scale down your handbag to one that will fit on your chair at the small of your back.
  • Brighten up with a bit of color or animal print. Add a scarf that lightly drapes on you or a pair of shoes that pop.  A tie or pocket square can add that splash of color.
  • Business cards are a necessity. Make sure they are in an easily accessible place.  For men, in the breast pocket, and for women, in the outside pocket of your handbag.

Now you are ready to stride into that evening affair with the same confidence that started the day.  Your smile will light up, and this added boost not only makes the evening more enjoyable, it pulls others toward you.

Remember, that a first impression is made in the literal blink of an eye.

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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