My grandmother was a seamstress and I learned early on that it really makes a difference when clothes fit well. Even something expensive will look shoddy if the fit isn't right.
So I've had my clothes tailored for most of my adult life. Even in my early 20s, I took my clothes to tailors and it made a huge difference.
As Shakespeare wrote, "The apparel oft proclaims the man." Whether you like it or not, people judge you by the clothes you wear. That's why I make an extra effort to make sure my clothes fit well. Putting some extra thought into what you wear will make you more relaxed and confident at your next industry event.
Here are nine tips to putting on a great look:
1. Ask for help.
Picking the right items of clothing involves myriad choices. Tight or baggy? Vertical or horizontal stripes? Simple or busy?
In addition, your clothes have to fit you well. While we all think we know what looks good on us, we're not always 100 percent on target.
That's why it's best to have your spouse or trusted confidant weigh in on how you look. We've all been to business events and seen the guy with pants that are too tight or too short or the gal with a dress that's too tight or too revealing.
Don't be that person. Call a tailor ahead of time.
2. Think about context and climate.
There's nothing worse than attending an event and being too hot, too cold, overdressed or underdressed. In any of those cases, you're going to be uncomfortable and probably self-conscious.
That's why it pays to get as much information as you can ahead of time about the event.
What's the weather going to be like? Will it be indoor or outdoor? If it's indoor, there's a good chance that they'll blast the air conditioning, so consider taking a light sweater.
You need to be cognizant of the setting too. I once wore black leather leggings for my tech talk to be delivered to an audience in Kentucky. I had never been to Kentucky before. Although it was a tech event, apparently, black leather is not really a thing there.
3. Have an outfit change.
You can get away with wearing the same thing all day, but changing things up slightly for an evening event will make you feel a bit fresher.
You don't need to go crazy though. Add a scarf or a sweater or new jacket to your daytime outfit and you're good to go.
4. Plan for each day.
If you're going to be there Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday then plan out an outfit for each. Don't succumb to the planning fallacy and assume that you'll be OK wearing something on a future date that you wouldn't be comfortable wearing now.
5. Think about your palette.
You don't need to go to a specialist to determine whether you're a summer or an autumn, but think about the colors in which you look good and are appropriate to the setting.
When traveling, I keep a simple palette such as: black, white, gray and blue.
6. Take care of grooming before you go.
Nothing makes a worse lasting impression than poor grooming. Get grooming such as haircut, nails and more out of the way before you travel to events or business meetings.
7. Avoid experimenting with a new look.
New fashion trends come out every season, some of which may work and some of which could make little sense for most of us.
Unless you're heading to Fashion Week, save the makeover for another time. The idea is to be confident and comfortable.
8. Efficiency in your closet is a good thing.
I'm all for efficiency and so if I find a cut or shape of clothing that I like and works well with my looks then I'll get several of the same one and keep wearing that same look.
We know that the late great Steve Jobs made this famous with his uniform of black mock turtleneck, jeans and sneakers.
There's not a person on earth who doesn't look good in a nice pair of shades. And they're practical too, especially if you're going to be outside.
All this planning probably will take less than an hour. That's time well spent since feeling uncomfortable and ill-attired can leave a stain on your experience at an event.
Even if you don't think of yourself as a "clothes person," you're likely a person who enjoys feeling comfortable and looking good. Being neat and well-groomed, having a great look and properly fitting clothes allows you to put your best foot forward and be remembered for what you know, not how you look.