Why It’s Smart to Care About Your Appearance
For many of us ambitious women, we want to be evaluated based on the quality of the work we produce, not what we wear or how we look. We see women being objectified every single day, so instead of putting any extra effort into our appearance, we should only focus on our work, learning more and climbing that ladder, right? The problem is, when we neglect our appearance we may not get as far ahead or climb as high on the ladder. When our image is communicating that we don't have our stuff together, anything that comes out of our mouths will either prove or disprove that. And it is a lot easier to confirm what someone is thinking versus convincing them otherwise.
We only get seven seconds to make a first impression. That's it. So if you are meeting someone for the first time and look disheveled, are having a bad day, and/or have on your “back of the closet” outfit because you haven't picked up your dry cleaning in a week, you could be unintentionally setting yourself back. Just this past week there have been three times when I have experienced or a friend has mentioned experiencing meeting someone and being surprised by how smart, talented or accomplished they were despite the impression they initially made. As a result, what their image was saying made us have low expectations on what they had to offer and they had to work harder to convince us otherwise without even knowing it. Think about how that could hinder someone looking to gain a new client, get a new job or make a new contact.
Here's the deal: if you indeed only get seven seconds to make a first impression, spending extra time making sure you appear polished and refined rather than sloppy and disheveled does not make you any less smart. It actually helps your work speak for itself, since that's what was expected anyway.