Think about the last time you met someone for the first time. Did they come off friendly and generous? Reserved and quiet? Loud and vivacious? If you really analyze why they seemed that way to you, you might realize that your perception wasn’t based on their actions. You probably formed your opinion based on how they presented themselves. Necklaces, hairstyles, clothes and shoes all play a big role in how new people perceive us. If you know how to wear jewelry, outfits and accessories in a way that impresses new people, it will help you make valuable connections that could lead to business opportunities or lifelong friendships.
The science of a first impression
The reason all the tiny details of someone’s physical appearance makes such a huge difference to how we perceive them is because of our unconscious minds. Our conscious minds can process around 40 bits of information per second. On the other hand, our unconscious minds process about 11 million bits per second. That’s a huge difference!
When we meet new people, our conscious minds are busy trying to come up with interesting things to say. Meanwhile, our unconscious minds are handling first impressions. So even if you’re not actually thinking “wow, I love her dangle earrings, they make her look so elegant!”, your unconscious mind is using her jewelry, hair, dress, and more to build an opinion of the person.
If you learn how these unconscious mental processes work, you can use them to your advantage. Think carefully about the event and how to wear jewelry and accessories to maximize your first impression.
First impressions are based on three factors
If you want to think about a first impression in technical terms, you can break it down into three key factors. These are visual, verbal, and psychological.
This refers to what you’re wearing and how you’re wearing it. Someone wearing an all-pink outfit and lots of gold jewelry is likely to come off as very feminine and girly. This might lead you to make judgments about her personality and values. On the other hand, someone in a well-fitting suit and tie is likely to come off as professional and successful.
Another major factor that plays into first impressions is what you say – and also how you say it. Even if it makes them nervous, most people know how to speak to someone when they meet them for the first time. Things like speaking confidently, asking questions, and active listening are all ways to make a great first impression.
This final factor refers to your body language and how you hold yourself. Your posture and the movements you make really impact how people see you. Think about meeting someone for a dinner date and having them greet you with a small kiss on the cheek and then doing things like pulling out your chair, pouring water for you, and motioning to the waiter. More likely than not, their strong and capable gestures will make a good impression – and this has nothing to do with what they’re wearing or saying.
Before going out to meet someone, look in the mirror and take your visual, verbal and psychological impression into account. If you’re meeting someone in a high stakes situation, take some time to reflect on how each of these things will come across.
The bottom line is that you want to appear both appropriate and authentic. No matter the event, you want to come off appropriately. This means dressing and acting appropriately in a way that suits the situation. Authentic means being yourself. Dress is a way you want to be seen. If you want to be seen as bold and fun, it might be as simple as wearing bold and fun things!
As a general rule, work related events are more about being appropriate. When you’re networking or at an interview, you need to show that you know how to exist in the business world. But at more personal events, like social clubs and dates, you can focus on expressing your true self. Either way, just remember to wear the right things and act in a way that will make you feel confident!
How to wear jewelry and outfits to elevate your first impressions
There are many times in life that you want to make a good first impression. Maybe it’s to get a job, or maybe it’s just to make a new friend. The way you come across to new people can make a huge difference in the way the interaction goes.
At a job interview
When you go to a job interview, it’s absolutely vital that you come across as someone who is friendly, professional, and capable of getting the job done. In this scenario, it’s usually best to wear conservative clothing and jewelry.
Depending on the job, you may be able to start wearing more casual items once you’ve been employed. When you’re still in the interview stages, however, it’s best to err on the side of safety. Big bangles, flashy necklaces or loud colors may distract from what you’re saying. It’s also a good move to show that you know how to wear jewelry and clothes that fit into a professional workplace.
When you’re networking
Networking events are a fantastic way to connect with people who can drive your career forward. Many people swear by conferences and professional meetups as a key route to gaining new business. The real key at networking events is confidence. Dress in a way that’s true to yourself and helps you feel comfortable, so you exude confidence as you meet influential people.
Depending on your industry and the nature of the event, you might need to wear a work uniform or work attire. In this case, jewelry can be your best friend. If you’re stuck wearing a chef uniform or workplace branded clothing, choose some eye-catching earrings or a necklace that will draw people toward you. Don’t go overboard, but a piece that could spark a conversation could be just what you need.
When meeting clients
If you own a business, meeting people you may do some work for can be a nerve-wracking part of the job. Whether you’re a wedding planner connecting with a freshly engaged couple, or an accountant meeting a new client for the first time, you need to make the right impression.
Depending on your job, your clients might be nervous about hiring someone. They need to feel reassured that you’re professional and put together. Using your clothing and jewelry to put them at ease is a great way to help them feel confident in your ability, no matter your business.
On a first date
If you’re looking for love, you should definitely think about the first impression you’re making. Kicking off your dinner and drinks with a little mutual attraction sets the tone of the date, and can go a long way towards making sure things go well. For a first date, opt for clothing and jewelry that genuinely express who you are. Romance is all about personal connection, so there’s no point being fake or too conservative.
Before your date, you can think about how to wear jewelry that’s going to come across as romantic and engaging. Earrings that frame the face are a great way to draw attention to your eyes. A pendant necklace, particularly when paired with a V-neck top or dress, is a feminine style that will draw the eyes to your neck. The power of scent can also make a big impact. A nice perfume is also a great way to create a gorgeous aura around yourself.
At a fun social event
With the pandemic drawing to a close and summer getting started, many people are excited to enjoy some social events. This might be a brunch with friends, or a dinner party with your partner’s colleagues. Or, maybe you don’t know anyone there at all. If you’ve recently moved to a new city or just want to gain some new pals, you might be heading to a book club, social sports league, or board game night for the first time.
Whether you already know the people attending or not, social events often involve meeting some new people. And while these events often have lower stakes than scenarios like a job interview, where there’s something on the line, it still feels good to come across well.
The clothing and jewelry that you choose for something like this will vary depending on what you’re doing. Obviously, for a hike or game of soccer, athletic wear is best. For a meetup in a pub or restaurant, an outfit such as tidy jeans, a nice top, and gold hoop earrings would be perfect. Be yourself and wear clothes that reflect who you are. Just be sure to be tidy and well-groomed. No matter what, remember to wear things that make you feel confident.