If someone were to ask me what my style was before my second semester of sophomore year of college, I might have tried to claim “athletic chic.” After entering into the world of PR, my eyes were opened not only to what it meant to dress professionally, but what it meant to look presentable on days I felt less than so. Public relations is all about capturing the attention of the public and maintaining their respect, which is much simpler to do when presenting yourself in an eye-pleasing way.
By no means am I identifying myself as a “fashionista” per say; I just now recognize that a clean, put-together look tends to garner more respect and trust than an ill-fitting or thrown together look. Some simple ways I upgraded my wardrobe to accommodate this image shift was by phasing out sweatpants and most t-shirts from my daily wear and increasing the number of dresses and skirts in my closet.
Most people (myself included) do not have a full wardrobe of dressy outfits, nor the budget to spend on a whole new wardrobe. My accumulation of new (and used) clothes took just over a semester of shopping and deal-searching, and is certainly not complete. By rationing out money and scanning sale racks and online deals, you are certainly going to be able to upgrade your closet in a short amount of time.
You may be asking, “Why is image so important?” In the world of public relations, being professionally dressed is an easy way to establish yourself. Having a clean-cut appearance on the outside gives the impression of an ability to maintain order personally too, which is a key aspect of PR. Professional attire is most certainly not required at all times, but is necessary in appropriate situations. When professional attire is not required, wearing clean, appropriate clothing is sufficient to leave a long-lasting impression.
This clothing shift is by no means a call to toss all of your old sweatpants and comfy sweatshirts, it is only a reminder that many people’s first impression of you is largely based on your image. There is nothing wrong with dressing down around friends and family, or on a lazy day at home, but you can never know who you may run into when in the public eye.
I cannot control whether or not I have my life together at times…yet I can control people’s initial perceptions of my life; maybe it’s time for you to trade in your sweats for skirts to leave a lasting first impression.
Written by: Kyla Bledsoe, Account Executive, The Exploration Station…A Children’s Museum
Visit her blog here: https://pursuitsinpublicrelations.wordpress.com/