We live in a world where elegance is always given a premium. Whether you like it or not, you will always be judged based on your appearance. It is an established fact that first impression always plays a key role in many aspects of our lives — relationships, professions, and business above all. This is why being elegant is so important in business.
What is elegance?
Before anything else, it is necessary to be clear on what elegance actually means. Many would equate elegance to fashion — dressing well and wearing nice clothes. But even fashion experts would agree that it really goes beyond the way you dress.
Elegance covers all, from the way you dress to the way you walk, and talk, and carry yourself with grace. It includes your demeanor and how well you relate to other people. So, it’s actually wrong to think that expensive clothes and high brands would automatically make you look elegant.
Is elegance the same as luxury?
Another thing that often gets mixed up with the concept of elegance is luxury. A common misconception is that if something is expensive or luxurious, then it’s elegant. When you dress up using high brands, you are elegant. But in fact, it’s the other way around. When someone or something is elegant, then that’s when it’s seen as luxurious.
What is the standard for elegance?
There is no exact answer as to whether there is a certain set of standards in order to be considered elegant. However, there are some specific qualities that are most often related to being elegant.
- Symmetry – several studies have shown that most of us humans are attracted to symmetry. In fact, we are somewhat obsessed with patterns. Something arranged or put together in a good symmetry is more often than not considered beautiful and elegant. Have you ever wondered why people in uniforms look so crisp and clean? It’s all about the symmetry.
- Simplicity – it should be emphasized that extravagance is not exactly elegant. In fact, more people consider minimalism as elegant. When we speak of elegance, less is often more.
- Timelessness – experts also agree that timeless items are the most elegant ones. There are a lot of trends in design and fashion and these could look good. Nonetheless, timeless pieces still top the list and are sure to stay that way over the years.
Why is elegance so important?
There are some people who feel that elegance is not everyone’s cup of tea, that it is not for them, and they wouldn’t want to be bothered by it. But it has to play a certain significance since a lot of people still pursue it.
Reality check: people are visual creatures. Much of our impressions about things depend initially on what we see. And impressions play a very important role in our daily lives. It is through the first impression that we decide whether we like something or someone. We decide whether or not we would like to engage with a person or get to know that person more based on our first impression. It is also the trigger for attraction and other social interactions.
In business, first impressions are also given a premium. While it should be made clear that brains and talent are what matter most, looking elegant is also one highly influential factor and here’s why:
1. It creates a good impression.
It should be emphasized that the way a person dresses and carries himself or herself is always the first thing that a business associate or colleague notices. We can say that it is the window to your being. Before you even start talking or giving your presentation, your outfit and behavior are already being noted by the people around you and their brains are already concocting impressions. Sometimes, creating an initial negative impression can be difficult to overturn. You might have a hard time proving them wrong. The first five minutes of your meeting could actually make or break your business or inter-personal relations.
2. It reflects your personality.
The way you carry yourself is a reflection of your personality as a whole. Believe it or not, if you wear an outfit that is elegantly put together, people would see you exactly like that.
3. It gives you confidence.
While the way you dress and the way you act both go hand in hand in creating that first impression, dressing well could actually influence the latter. A lot of successful people can attest to the fact that sometimes they don’t exactly feel like movers and shakers. And during these times, they make sure to get up, dress up and show up anyway. Many of them would agree that dressing elegantly can help them gather more confidence to face the world.
How do you become elegant in business?
Now it has already been established that elegance is really important in business. So how exactly can you exude this elegance?
- Dress appropriately – know that dressing appropriately does not mean dressing in expensive clothes. It means you dress for what’s proper in every occasion. You certainly wouldn’t want to go to a business meeting in a gala dress or in sweat pants. That would be outrageous. To dress appropriately, consider the venue, time of day, and the people you will be meeting. This will serve you as a guide to the type of clothes that are appropriate for that occasion. Make sure the clothes fit you well. You don’t have to wear anything exorbitantly expensive – it can be something from your local store and have it altered at your local tailor. The look is more important than the price.
- Dress comfortably – Comfort over style is a golden rule in fashion. It is very important that you feel comfortable in what you are wearing especially when you are in the world of business. Getting suffocated by your clothes or showing that you can’t even put together clothing will never be beneficial. If you feel comfortable in your clothes and you know that you look good, it will give you that amazing confidence and you’ll be able to fully focus on the business.
- Dress modestly – Some people love to play with styles and colors and if played well, it could be fun. But if you are in a business setting, you have to be more formal. Think simple, crisp and clean. For example, if you are a man who is having a job interview as an engineer in a big company, a red suit and yellow trousers won’t be the best choice. Probably, you will make a better impression if you have a classy gray or navy suit. It will “tell” your future boss that you are a serious person who is perfect for that position.
All these are pointless if you do not act gracefully because elegance is a combination of what you wear and how you act when you wear it. Always bring your good manners, be polite, and be kind to all the people that you encounter.