Dresszing for Success

by Danielle V Hemsley, MS Statistics Candidate

At the most interactive EOC Job$mart Career Hour I have been to, Susan Sommers founder of Dresszing presented on Presence, Protocol, and Presentation, where she shared her suggestions on how to dress for success.  The workshop was held on April 17, 2012.  Susan began the workshop by rhythmically saying, “Everyone is unique.  No one has the same hair strand, DNA, skin, style.” 

 Susan informed participants that “what we say is only 7% of people’s perception of us.  Voice, body language, and appearance make up the other 93%.”  She emphasized the importance of being YOU and allowing YOUR style to stand out.  The trick is to fit in but still stand out.  Of course this is not an easy task.

As the first activity she had participants turn to their neighbor (a complete stranger) and say “you are so lucky to meet someone as unique as I am.”

The group then went on to write down 3 qualities that they want people to perceive about themselves.  Afterwards strangers told you 3 characteristics that they perceive about you.   It was a surprise to most to see the similarities and differences in how they want to be perceived and how they are actually perceived.  Lastly, participants practiced handshakes.  Handshake advice included, no more than 3 firm shakes, look in the person’s eyes, smile, and be firm but don’t crush their hand. 

Some Interesting Takeaways from Susan Included

  1. 3 Pieces of clothing are professional.
  2. Fabrics that people want to touch help make you look approachable.
  3. Orange & Yellow colors are perceived as welcoming.
  4. Blue is a color of trust.
  5. The color gray doesn’t illicit strong emotion.
  6. Studies have shown that women who wear makeup earn 20% more over their lifetime than women who don’t.
  7. Clothes that are tailored to fit you perfectly help make you look “Confident & Educated.”  Pressed shirts and shinned shoes also help portray this message.
  8. Men should wear 2 button jackets instead of 3 button jackets, as the more of your shirt that shows the more open you seem.
  9. Keep heel height below 3 inches to avoid looking like a Prima Donna.
  10. If looking to be promoted, consistently dress up one notch.
  11. To get a break, you have to look like the solution to someone’s problem.

Susan reminded participants to be unique and exude confidence.  She quoted Shakespeare, “all the world is a stage,” and then told everyone to “Act their part.” 


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