How to Stand Out in your Profession

September 19, 2017

It almost never fails. I meet with someone looking to purchase a new custom suit or sport coat and they’ll begin the conversation with this:

“I work in (X industry) where everyone dresses very conservative, so no bold patterns or bright colors” -or- “I really like the look of bold patterns and bright colors but I can’t pull them off.”

I know I’m biased but when did your industry decide what type of pattern or color you’re allowed to wear? Do your clients/superiors/co-workers get offended if you appreciate fashion and wear what you want to wear? Just because this is what EVERYONE ELSE wears in your industry, why do you have to? And if you think you can’t pull it off, you most certainly can.

This will sound conceited/arrogant but I’m complimented on my attire almost daily. Whether it be someone telling me they like my sport coat, pocket square, or shoes, I am noticed in a crowd because of they way I dress. I don’t do this for attention, I do it because it’s what I feel most comfortable in. Before I entered the clothing industry, I was given the option to wear what I wanted to yet I still dressed the same as I do today (only everything fits MUCH better).

I recently spoke at a financial planning firm to their 1-5 year advisors on how to stand out by what they wear. In an industry such as this, financial planners are a dime a dozen and one of the quickest ways to separate themselves at a networking event or day-to-day business is the way they dress. If I’m approached on the street, at a networking event, or attending a social function, one of the questions I’m asked is what industry I’m in because of what I’m wearing. This is a bonus for me because I can tell them custom clothing but it works just as well having a different profession. To them, when I say custom clothing, they respond with “that makes sense.” But if you are a financial planner, selling insurance, a realtor, or in another profession where you’re seeking new clients, it almost works better for you because they might not remember your name but I can assure you they’ll remember what you were wearing. We live in a somewhat superficial world where your appearance might be the only thing someone remembers you by when meeting you for only a few minutes.

The first “bold” suit I ever purchased (granted it was off-the-rack and fit horribly) was a royal blue suit with a chalk white windowpane pattern. At first, I hesitated wearing it because I definitely stood out in a crowd and didn’t like the attention. After gaining the courage to wear it, I would always receive compliments. I made it my go-to suit or sport coat separate when attending networking events or social functions because of the amount of people who would approach me and tell me how sharp it looked. I realized that without dressing the way I did, I might have never been approached by said people.

Bold patterns and bright colors might not be your thing. I’m not saying to step way outside of your comfort zone but don’t let what industry you’re in make the decision for how you’re “supposed” to dress. I’m also not saying the only way to attract the attention of others is to dress as loud as possible. As long as it’s well-fitting and you go the short extra mile and add something like a pocket square, I can guarantee you’ll be complimented.

All of this to say, wear what you want to wear. Wear whatever makes you feel the most confident. Wear what makes you feel most comfortable. But most importantly, WEAR YOU!

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