The PR consultant dress code strategy
A lot of people ask me: What do you wear when you work from home during the day?
I gotta tell you, this part of the job does not suck. I frequently wear shorts or sweat pants for the majority of my time working at home (cue the Seinfeld music–Costanza!!!).
But, I will also tell you I have a very specific strategy when it comes to my dress code OUTSIDE my home office. Basically, any time I go out in public that doesn’t involve the gym or the grocery store
* Client visits
* Speaking gigs
* Coffees with colleagues
* New business meetings
* And again, pretty much anything else that takes place outside my home during the workweek
So, what’s my strategy? There’s a handful of key elements:
Try to be “on trend”
As ridiculous as this sounds for me (for anyone who really knows me, you know I am far from a style expert), I know I have to stay “on trend” as the consultant. I learned this one from my lady friends at Beehive PR back in the day, who were ALWAYS on trend. If you’re the consultant, you’re the idea person. The cool person. The stylish person. In many ways, you need to play the role. The consultant is hip. Stylish. Cool. Remember though, I said “try”…
When in doubt, ALWAYS over-dress
This one comes into play mainly on new business presentations. If I’m ever questioning what I should wear, I usually go suit, or at the very least khakis and a jacket. I will rarely go with my standard jeans-and-a-jacket approach. Those first impressions count for an awful lot, remember.
Know your audience
For my buttoned-up corporate clients, I rarely bring out the blue suede or bright red PUMA shoes. I know I can’t pull it off. And it doesn’t look that great for them, either. But, for my speaking gigs and the times when I speak before students? That’s another story. My stiffer, corporate look would be a dead giveaway. So, I try to soften it up a bit. I’ll go jeans and a jacket, but I’ll soften it with the PUMAs. I may even just go t-shirt underneath the jacket. Know thy audience when dressing the part.
Accessories are absolutely key
Oh yeah, I said it. And I’m a male. But, it’s true. This one doesn’t just apply to women. Sure, the perfect belt or jewelry may make all the difference for you ladies. But for us guys, it just means different accessories. Like my Etch-a-Sketch iPhone cover. I get more damn compliments on that thing than anything I own (save my kids, not that I own them or anything :). I have a few hats I’ll wear on occasion–same thing. Lots of compliments. Those blue suede PUMA shoes? Same thing. The accessories make all the difference. So, don’t ignore them. (my next must-have accessory: My Kreyos smartwatch in 2014!)
OK, so those are my keys. What about you? What are your dress code tips? Especially you ladies–I want to hear from you!