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50 Fashion Forward

5 Ways to be "First Impression Ready"
By Karen Mathis

Fashion is our greatest tool for personal expression.  At first glance you may think, Really? Yes, fashion can be used as a tool. Studies show that clothing is a non-verbal form of communication. Fashion can be used as a personal tool for creating a positive first impression in many ways: 

  1. Fashion is non-verbal
  2. Fashion can create a positive response from others
  3. It uses colors that enhance your natural skin, hair and eye colors
  4. Studies show particular silhouettes express authority therefore command respect
  5. It not only effects others, but studies show it has an internal one as well

"I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the make-up made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked onto the stage he was fully born," ~ Charlie Chaplin (

Whether you are aware or not aware, studies show what you wear, and how you present yourself is your opportunity to communicate the lasting message you want received: Your first impression. 

The following five factors of first impressions, explain why and how they’re formed, and how fashion is one of your greatest tools to send messages that can effect how others perceive you.

         1. First Impressions are made in a fraction of a second.

Yes, before you've had a chance to speak or make eye contact, first impressions have been formed by others. This first impression has a positive impact on relationship development among new acquaintances (L. J. Human).
Take the time to plan for this important event. Build a wardrobe that enhances your best features, in colors and fabrics that express your personal standards.  Make fashion a very important tool for personal expression.

             2. A Picture is worth a thousand words.
How exactly does the brain capture so much in a fleeting moment? Psychologists say our brains take a first-impression Polaroid – an impression from a snap judgment of quick visual clues that equates to an impression larger than their sum (C. Flora: Psychology Today).
Therefore, before you go to your next important event, take a  long look in a full size mirror. What picture will others see of you? Express your best self with your clothing and accessories.

             3.Power of Attractiveness 
Human beings need to form impressions of others for their own social interaction. Studies show that people seen as attractive are also given ratings as being more competent, sociable, intelligent and healthy (Social Psychology 9th Edition).

             4.Non-verbal behaviors help form first impressions.
One easy way to establish an emotional connection is with the warmth and friendliness of a smile.  Eye contact is also emphasized in the research as being important especially in professional settings (Journal of Experimental Social Psychology).

             5. Well-fitted clothing makes a big difference.
Research confirms that after just 3 seconds, 300 people judged more favorably for a man in a bespoke suit versus an off the rack suit. Even when they controlled for other differences like color and fabric, the man was rated as being more confident, successful, flexible, and a higher earner in the tailor-made suit (Ben C. Fletcher D. Phil., Oxon: Psychology Today).

Ways to Manage Your First Impression

By Karen Mathis

CREDIBILITY – use classic and tailored silhouettes to communicate rank, based on spoken or unspoken dress codes of your industry or social group.

CONFIDENCE– use well fitted garments in silhouettes that match your body type and accentuate your best features.

  • Bespoke/tailored fashion is best, or get “off the rack” altered to fit. 
  • The right fashion options help you feel and express confidence.

QUALITY STANDARDS – quality fabrics such as silk, cotton, wool. 

CREATIVITY – well-coordinated accessories that enhance your looks, and express your unique personality. Accessorizing for your audience.  

 SUCCESS – collect key fashion pieces  = A power jacket in neutral, with a great fit. 

Get off to a fast start – Start with your closet. Find your personal best harmony and contrast colors (8 Easy Pieces). Matching silhouettes to your body type. Accessorize to frame the face. 

For more information go to VLOG : See 7 Steps to Find Your BEST Colors Download the color wheel tool at

Give yourself a lasting gift by having your key pieces altered to the perfect fit.  You may already own most what you need. You may be pleasantly surprised to find doors opening when you get yourself “first impression-ready.”