Is it better to look good or feel good?

we all work in a fashion fish bowl

I was shopping at a local retailer and was faced with a salesperson who was dressed completely inappropriately. She had on a skirt that was too short and tight and she was busting out of her blouse as well. The worst part was that she was at least my age (43). She looked desperate and like she was trying way too hard. This is when I wanted to take her under my wing and proclaim:

“It is better to look good than to feel good, and let me tell you darling, you look marvelous.”

Billy Crystal as Fernando Lamas.

I am dating myself with a reference to Billy Crystal on SNL but the quote seems fitting for my topic. Does it matter how you look and should it? Someone recently posed the question whether there are any fashion no-no’s for salesmen? My immediate response was Absolutely! You don’t have to be one of the beautiful people to be successful in sales (although it doesn’t hurt) but you should look as though you care how you are perceived by others.

thoughts on fashion don’ts

Not all poorly dressed salespeople look like streetwalkers. I have also seen some that are dressed like frumpulicious (I don’t think it is an actual word, but it should be) rejects. Here are a few good standbys for what not to be caught wearing at work:

  • If I can see your socks, your pants are probably too short (unless of course they are cropped pants)
  • Shoulder pads are not flattering unless you are playing football
  • Pleated pants are passe and make your tummy look bigger
  • Hawaiian print shirts belong on 90 year old men paired with white sneakers and black socks
  • You are not fooling anyone by dressing in your teenager’s clothes

Whether you are selling clothes, services, medical supplies, car parts or anything else, it is important for you to look the part. As a salesperson, the first thing you sell is yourself. You want to become that trusted editor and an industry expert, you want to be taken seriously, and you want the sale! Stop kidding yourself by thinking that you don’t matter, because that is the image you are portraying to your customers.

Lesson Learned: it matters how you look

Whenever I have second thoughts about an outfit I am considering and I ask my husband his opinion, he always says that if I feel the urge to ask him, I should probably change my clothes. It is not the most romantic of comments, but he is right. When getting dressed, look in the mirror and ask yourself if you look marvelous, or professional. What is the overall look you are going for? What fashion disasters have you seen, or were you the disaster? Please share your stories.

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