Dress to Impress:
Accessorizing Your Way to Top-Tier Influence

See also: Positive Body Image

They say that first impressions are important, but we often underestimate just how much they hold sway over how others perceive us.

If you walk into a room, you want to turn heads for the right reason. This isn’t just relevant in social situations, and in fact it’s arguably even more important in professional scenarios.

Getting on top of your personal appearance can open doors, both figuratively and literally. And if you want to win friends and influence people, the clothes you choose are only half the battle.

This is where accessorizing comes into play. There’s a careful balance to strike when adding the finishing touches to an outfit, whether you are going for a job interview, attending a meeting with clients, or visiting an industry conference.

With all that in mind, here are some tips and talking points regarding the use of accessories, and what they can mean for the impression you leave on other people.

Well-dressed businesswoman.

Choose a single statement piece

The main mistake people make when accessorizing to make a professional impact is overdoing it with a multitude of items and add-ons.

It’s far better to avoid overwhelming your outfit in this way and instead select just one piece that will act as the focal point.

The accessory in question can be anything that suits your tastes and your sense of style, whether that’s a vintage brooch, an emerald ring with diamonds, a premium brand watch, or whatever else you fancy.

The point is that if you want to be a top-tier influencer in your specific sphere, less is more when it comes to accessorizing.

Don’t sacrifice aesthetics for practicality

Another error that’s easy to fall for is forgetting about whether the accessories you select are purely designed to catch the eye, at the expense of being practical.

For example, at business events you’ll probably want to take a few essential items along with you, whether that might be pitch documents, a laptop computer, a bottle of water or a snack to keep you going on the journey home.

If you buy a handbag or satchel based on looks alone, but its capacity is compromised, then it doesn’t matter how attractive it is; you’ll end up hamstrung by its practical limitations.

Conversely if you insist on ordering functional items which also have an appealing design, then you won’t be sacrificing anything.

Consider the audience

It’s no good taking a one-size-fits-all approach to accessorizing, in the sense that you have to think about the people you’ll be meeting and the expectations they’ll have when choosing how to dress yourself.

For example, if you want to radiate success and sophistication in order to wow prospective clients and imply a level of prosperity, then high end accessories will be appropriate.

If, on the other hand, you are attending a meeting about a serious internal matter, or pleading your case to a local community group that has taken issue with your employer, arriving decked out in bling won’t play well to the audience.

Flexibility is important

You probably want to make a positive impression every day, rather than only shining out like a beacon of influence on special occasions.

This is where the flexibility of accessories comes into play. You don’t want to pick a statement piece of jewelry or a handbag which is too elaborate in its design or coloring to the point that it will only match with one particular outfit. If so, it will only end up gathering dust for weeks or months between its brief moments in the limelight.

The savvier and more cost-effective move is to make sure your accessories are adaptable to different outfits and occasions. That doesn’t necessarily mean only going for neutral or bland designs, but rather thinking about how your work wardrobe is composed at the moment, and then opting for accessories that will go together with as many combinations as possible.

This is as much about keeping your budget in check as it is anything else and will also reduce the need for endless storage space at home.

Think about your own psychology

Dressing to impress sounds like a purely external process; you put on clothing and pick accessories that you want to act as a kind of armor, as well as a calling card that sets out your stall to new contacts and old colleagues alike.

However, it’s just as much a move that makes a difference in terms of your own state of mind. If you are dressed in a way that shows you in the best light, then you will feel empowered and be better equipped to perform at the limits of your abilities, especially in professional scenarios.

One way you can put this into practice from an accessorizing standpoint is by making big purchases with your own hard-earned money. Don’t wait for someone else to buy that special piece for you, but get ahead of the game by ordering it yourself.

This is a positive affirmation of your value as an employee, entrepreneur or job candidate, made physical. You don’t need to tell anyone else that an accessory was paid for with the work you put in to get to where you are today; it’s enough to know this yourself, and benefit from the psychological implications of this pleasant thought.

Final thoughts

The last thing to consider when dealing with the accessorizing aspect of dressing for work purposes is that you don’t want to be over-thinking every outfit you put together.

It’s sensible to put plenty of thought into this over a short window around once a year, and then set yourself up with a wardrobe that just works, so that it’s not playing on your mind every morning when you get ready for the office, or for your next event.

This is definitely a skill that you will need to develop over time, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you need a little while to get up to speed.

About the Author

Cristina Par is a content specialist with a passion for writing articles that bridge the gap between brands and their audiences. She believes that high-quality content plus the right link building strategies can turn the tables for businesses small and large.