Nail The First Impression | Of Mercer

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Career and Life

Nail The First Impression

Four mistakes you don't know you're making...and how to fix them.

As much as we try not to judge books by their covers, let’s face it: first impressions are lasting ones, and you’ll be making A LOT of them over the course of your career, from interviews to client meetings to major presentations.

Since research shows that we form first impressions in 30 seconds or under—yep, just as fast as you can scroll through your Instagram feed—a first impression is basically your elevator pitch in fashion form. Here are four simple rules to nail down every first impression you’ll ever make.

1. Thinking that the details don't matter

You may forget your new coworkers’ names immediately after you introduce yourself to them, but chances are you won’t forget their hanging bra straps or wrinkled shirts. Ask yourself this: if your clothes had to do all the talking, what would they say? Don’t leave any room for anyone to assume that you’re sloppy, careless, or, even worse, downright unprofessional. Find that Goldilocks fit—nothing too tight, nothing too loose, but everything just right so that you can carry yourself comfortably. As for length, you want your hemline to hit just above or at the knee.

Think this all sounds easier said than done? Think again. Our Fifth Avenue Dress has built-in bra strap holders and our Riverside Dress is made from wrinkle-free fabric. Nailing that first impression has never been so effortless!

Of Mercer | First Impressions Details

2. Looking like Mary Poppins (or a bag lady)

What’s a girl without her go-to bag? Even the way you organize your purse can make or break a first impression. Bringing more than one bag into an interview immediately lets the interviewer know that you’re disorganized, so make sure to consolidate all of your necessities in one. When it comes time to hand out business cards, make sure you have an easily accessible side pocket so that you don’t have to look like Mary Poppins fishing through a bottomless bag just to grab business cards (another option: wear a dress with pockets!). Or use a cute card case to store your business card.  No matter how messy your bag is, you can pull them out of the case with ease.

3. Forgetting to cancel the noise

People aren’t just looking at you when you make a first impression—they’re listening to you, too. Ditch the dangly bracelets and clicky heels to create minimal distractions. Bangles?  A definite no-no.  Instead try a delicate cuff that you know will stay in place. Let your dazzling smile, firm handshake, and confident tone be your best accessories. Oh, and cute pair of studs doesn’t hurt, either.

4. Playing it too safe with color

There are easy ways to let your personality shine through even the strictest of dress codes, and they all start with having a variety of smart basics. Gone are the days when black, grey, and nude were the only colors you could wear in the office. Nowadays, playing with color is a simple way to make your personality pop. The only earful you’ll get from HR is a bunch of compliments, and, best of all, you can make an effortless transition from the office to happy hour for those days that “work hard, play hard” is your life mantra.

Don’t know where to start? Ahem, that’s what we’re here for. Take a look at our Houston Blazer (which comes in a killer Deep Berry color) or Dupont Dress in Emerald for inspiration. Your closet will thank you.

Of Mercer | Show Off Your Personality

We totally get it—being thrown into a new situation is always nerve-wracking. Telling you to have fun sounds strange, but it’s so easy to forget that when it comes to professional situations. Take a deep breath, relax, and go with the flow, but look great doing it too. Look here in case you need a reminder about how awesome you are.