Note to business people everywhere: Don’t show up for a business meeting in flip-flops, shorts and a hoodie. Like, ever, man. Suit up and dress like the professional you are or aim to be. Because, as the tried-and-true adage goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Bringing your A-game—and prepping your notes and/or pitch or presentation—are only half of the business meeting readiness equation. The other half is simply looking the part. And this advice couldn’t ring truer than when you meet with a prospective client, connection or employer for the very first time.
For men, putting your best look forward often comes down a clean, crisp look from head to toe. Svelte suit. Slick tie. Shined shoes. Spruced hair. Channel Don Draper, minus the hangover tang. Remember, we’re talking about looking—not acting—like the dapper Don.
For women, the same rules apply. An equally unfettered, conservative—basically safe—professional look is often the best choice for meetings, regardless of your gender. If you wear a skirt with your blazer and blouse instead of dress pants, double check that it’s not too short.
Finally, before you decide on an outfit for any professional appointment, carefully consider your audience. If you’re meeting someone abroad, research what the locals wear for business tête-à-têtes and dress accordingly. Or, when meeting with a high-level executive, do your best to mirror what he or she will wear, which will likely be a tailored suit.
For more on why it’s important to dress for success when you’re heading into a business meeting, take a look the spiffy infographic from the British web hosting firm 34SP.com below:
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com . Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.
Main photo from (Fifty Shades of Grey, Focus Features)