Here is a short article I wrote for DC Life Magazine’s style issue.
Style is more than just how you dress—it also includes how you carry yourself. So, let’s talk about some good ways to make a good first impression (other than being on time).
When people are interested in each other, they tend to ask questions, be responsive, and hopefully share of themselves. Some other good signs are good eye contact, touching occasionally, laughing at each other’s jokes, putting themselves in your proximity, and in the case of women, play with their hair. Yes, I am simplifying things a bit–I could write several articles about body language and flirting (and may yet).
If you don’t have it, adopt comfortable (and open) body language (including good posture). This is something you work on over time. As an example, if you come off as nervous because you are fidgety and speak quickly, then you can work on calming your hands and speaking more slowly. If you come off as closed because you block yourself with crossed arms, scarves, turtlenecks, a drink, etc., then you can work on opening yourself up–your throat, chest, and groin should not be blocked by anything. Being seen as unapproachable is a problem that many women have, especially in cities like DC and New York City.
Always dress well, even if you are just going to 7-11 for two minutes. You never know where you will meet someone, and clothes that don’t fit (or flatter) you or are worn out are never appropriate. Gym clothes are appropriate when you are exercising. Women for some reason tend to have negative impressions of pleated Dockers and Hawaiian shirts on men (well, probably on anyone). I am fine with jeans as long as they are nice jeans and are not too fatigued; I like Express jeans (especially since they text coupons so are a good value), but if you have the funds for higher end jeans like Joe’s ($160 a pair), that works as well. Women notice details, including a nice belt, pair of shoes, etc. Yes, women DO look at your shoes (including the backs of the shoes for shine), so nice (and shined) shoes help. Men don’t usually look at women’s shoes, but for women, clothes or shoes that make you feel confident or sexy can help.
If you dress average, then you seem average. Is that the impression you want to make? If you need it, get help! Most people have stylish friends they can ask about style advice, but various stylish clothes stores have knowledgeable employees—if they are pushing your limits a bit, that is alright. A good style website for men is Kino Wear, and they guy who runs it performs style consultations for men (in New York City). You can also find a variety of good websites that teach you how to match colors (often with the aid of a color wheel). Yes, we all know, black shoes and shown belts do not match, unless you have one of Jon Wye’s belts that contains both brown and Black. If you like pendants, try Creative Art & Soul.