Women leading women

Personal branding: Making an Impact with Attire

When preparing to meet your clients for the first time how much thought do you or your employees give to what you are wearing?  I always say we never get a second chance to make a first impression.  It is important to our image matches the message we want to convey.  How we dress sends subliminal messages to clients we meet which can influence them – get it right and you can gain an advantage over your competitors.

If you look good – you will feel good – and it will show.

Lasting impressions are established in 4 minutes, people judge by:

  • What they see – 55%
  • How you act – 38%
  • What you say – 7%


Choosing and using colour effectively

We are all affected by the colours around us.

When choosing the colours to wear you should consider the image you want to project.

Using colour for impact

You will notice that sharp combinations such as black and white are used by those in the public eye who wish to project authority, such as the police, judges etc.  Colour can be used effectively to influence the perception of others – follow the tips below to achieve this with your own clothes.

The best colours for you will be those that work with your individual colouring.  Colour analysis would help to identify your individual colour direction by establishing the colours that work in harmony with your colouring.  Colour characteristics are determined by pigments in the skin, hair and eyes and in colour analysis we refer to the three qualities of colour as depth, undertone and clarity.  Visual balance and harmony result from wearing colours with the same or similar characteristics as our own colour pattern.

If you want to project authority for example like the police; wear black and white together.

Here are some common colour associations.  These relate to the western world and of course, will vary in other cultures and nations.


Positive Effect:            Up-beat, confident, assertive, exciting, bright.
Negative Effect:          Aggressive, domineering, threatening.

Wearing red can give you energy when you feel tired.

It can give you authority and confidence – wear at presentations or when feeling in need of a confidence boost.


Positive:           Respectable, neutral, balanced.
Negative:         Dull, uncertain, safe.

In business this colour is the safest.  It is less authoritarian than navy or black.


If you team your grey suit up with a blouse or shirt in a strong/vibrant colour like violet or turquoise you can project innovation and creativity, whilst still remaining professional.


If you want to project authority and status wear darker or brighter colours with a high contrast, the maximum for your colouring –  e.g. black and white or navy and cream).

Wear structured, tailored styles – avoid loose or floppy fabrics.

it’s the little things…

Add extra details to show individualism, creativity and quality like a belt, accessories, pen, bag or briefcase.

Image for your website photo

It is worth thinking about the message you want to convey to your clients before you have a photo on your website.

If you are in the creative sector, you can go for colours like purple and if you are an accountant or in finance blue conveys that you are intelligent, professional, trustworthy and credible.

Website Videos, webinars and  TV appearances

It is often difficult to know what to wear on camera. Many things that look fine in person are not so flattering when on camera.

Here are some tips:-

  • It is best not to have too many conflicting visual images in your clothing when you appear on your video or when doing a webinar.
  • Avoid black and white, particularly worn together.  Pure white can be difficult on camera as it tends to burn out and black is overwhelming.
  • The colours that are easy on the eye are colours like blues, greens and purples.  Blue-greens and turquoise shades are particularly good.  Be aware that deep greens look black whilst bright greens can be blinding.
  • Purples look great on camera and suit most people.  These can range from medium lilac, violet or soft plum.  Avoid deep purple which can look black on camera.
  • Plain styles are best to wear, keep it non-fussy with little detail.
  • Think about your neck line.  If you have a short neck avoid cluttering it with a collar, scarf or chunky necklace.  Keep the neckline open like a V-neck or cowl.
  • Avoid complex patterns like parallel lines, dots and paisley.  On camera they blend together and look like a mess and can be too busy for your audience. A subtle pattern in your tie or suit probably won’t even show up on camera.

I hope you find these tips helpful and enjoy “Dressing for Success” in business and in your personal lives.


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  1. ecuador crafts says

    great blog denise
    what a busy person you are, how do you manage to fit it all in, that with being a teacher too,that must tire you

    1. Denise Dale says

      Hi, thanks for your comment so pleased you liked the blog. Yes I am busy however, I so enjoy what I do that it does energise me too. I do have to coach myself sometimes on work/life balance though!

  2. Steve says

    Denise, very true, what one thinks of themselves will be projected outwards.
    Also good to know that the blue shirts I usually wear are good on camera.

  3. Denise Dale says

    HI Steve, yes it is good to have a confirmation of something one is doing well. I wish you well with your business.

  4. Yoj says

    As a small firm owner, personal branding is also one of the utmost elements that must been met in meeting some of your clients and investors. But, this article of yours gives me another ideas and guides for giving an impact to my clients. It worth my fort in reading this article. Thanks.

    1. Denise Dale says

      Hi Yoj, thanks for your comments and I am pleased that my article has given you some new ideas for you to make an impact with your clients. I wish you every success and please keep me posted with the results.

  5. Jon Anscher says

    It’s also important to consider international audiences when talking about color. Color Meanings by Culture is an excellent article about the meanings of different colors from different cultures.

    1. Denise Dale says

      Hi Jon, absolutely I totally agreed and thanks for sharing that excellent article.