A recent article appeared on Forbes.com called “The Seven Ways Your Boss Is Judging Your Appearance.” While this is no surprise, I wanted to expound on some of the areas:

  1. younkers_structured_jacketGrooming: The article refers to looking “polished” or “pulled together.” Of course it means that our clothes are clean and pressed. But a “pulled together” look is more than that. You need to put together an outfit that is pleasing to the eye. Jackets are a girl’s best friend when trying to look pulled together. Statement jewelry that is not distracting (too flashy, too noisy) gives one a polished look.
  2. Posture: Sitting tall adds to your height (see No. 5). If you’ve gotten into the habit of slouching realize that it is adding years to your look and tells others that you are not proud of yourself. Think about keeping your chin parallel to the floor. If you can push your shoulders down and back, your posture has room for improvement.
  3. Physical Attractiveness: This is where a lot of people just throw in the towel. But it doesn’t mean that only the most beautiful people will succeed. It means you do the best with what you have. Wearing cool bright colors will make most people look alive and energetic, keeping the attention on your face. People only see your flaws when you don’t tell them where to look. Take charge of your image!
  4. Slimness: Yes, some of us aren’t in the best of shape. But dressing appropriately for your shape will make you look slimmer. A black tent dress doesn’t solve all your problems. Wearing monochrome clothing does cause the eye to glide over your silhouette, but structure is still important. We need to know where your waist area is, where your legs start and stop, that you have shoulders that don’t slouch. A structured jacket will solve this problem for most people.
  5. younkers_pumpHeight: While we can’t change our height, we can add a few inches with the right shoes. Adding more than 5” heels, however, is overboard and causes you to look like you are more interested in being trendy than getting to the next meeting in one piece. I recommend no more than a 3” heel for the workplace. Again, that posture will help!
  6. Expensive Clothing: This area can be overwhelming to those with a limited budget. But it is the way the item is made and the material that is being used that is important, not the actual price tag. Recently I saw a pair of plaid pants at Von Maur where the plaid didn’t match up on the sides. This is distracting and a sign of poorly made clothing. Conversely, I saw a similar pair of plaid pants at Sears where the plaids were matched properly. Wearing items that are appropriate for your body shape will also help less expensive clothing look more expensive because they drape on your body properly.
  7. Youthful Appearance: Should all of us over the age of 40 just give up? Absolutely not! Wearing clothing that makes you look vibrant and energetic will help you look and feel more confident. When people see vibrant, energetic and confident people, they don’t even think about age. Again, cool bright colors will achieve this. A pop of lip color will also wake up your face.

So don’t be disheartened by these studies. When you are in control of your image, you are in control of your career. Don’t get left behind by being a wall flower.

Do you feel your boss is judging you by your appearance? In what ways?

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