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Look of success? Swagger, polish in; matchy-matchy out

Russell-Simmons-2-400Despite the success of moguls who have made casual dress cool and trendy, the first impression is still a lasting impression whether you are in corporate America or in business for yourself.

Russell Simmons, Master P, Richard Branson and Steve Jobs proved that a suit is not a requirement to earn serious wealth. While brilliance, genius and creativity are associated with each, they share another commonality – they dressed appropriately for the business models they created.

CarleeMcCullough-160In the business world, there is considered to be a Return on Investment (ROI) to the way you dress. When your attire is polished, there is ROI. Note, however, that a polished look does not have to mean expensive and name brands.

So let's evaluate the makings of a well-groomed individual.


When the outfit is put together well, the confidence level rises and the posture is even better. Clients and customers respond well to confidence and the appearance that you know more about the product or service than they do.


Neatly styled hair makes the statement that you are here for business. Hair that is not a distraction for all of the wrong reasons is a must. But again it depends on your environment and what you are trying to communicate.


Whether for men or women, shoes should be shined and fit appropriately. Shoes complete the outfit and can absolutely ruin a great look if not in good shape.


Smelling good is a plus in any setting. In a professional setting, it is a sign of great grooming. It is like the cherry on top of ice cream sundae. The key is that the fragrance should not be overwhelming for others.

Suits vs. casual

In a professional environment, a suit is always appreciated. Dressing like you are a boss is key to becoming one. If you are a boss, it lets everyone know that you are the "go to person" without uttering a word.

But remember this: whether the outfit is a suit or casual, fit is the key. It should not be too tight, too loose, too short or too long. It should fit just right.


Clean, neat and trimmed nails are a must in business. Chipped polish and nails do not help to create a professional look.

Gucci, Prada or Vintage

A pricey name brand is not the key to a great look. Gucci can look awful if the fit is not right. Vintage or resale stores can offer huge bargains on great finds.Sometimes name brands from prior seasons can be found for a fraction of the cost.

Complimentary colors – Not matchy-matchy

A well-put together look for women is not so "matchy-matchy." Red suit, red stockings, red shoes, red purse and red accessories are just plain overkill. The colors should be complimentary and at times contrasting to make a statement.

The art of attraction

Couple a stylish-and-polished look with knowledge, wit and charm and people will be drawn to you. Doors will be open and people may be calling you. In sum, people are drawn to success, even if it is just the look of it. Successful clients and customers want to be affiliated with other successful people.


Glasses have now become a fashion statement. Styles today can range from retro to nouveau. Whether they are used only as a statement or to aid visually, make them bold and chic, not silly and comical.


Accent all of the above with a confident walk and you are sure to land that client. The key to a polished look is being confident in the look that you are presenting to the world.

(Contact Carlee McCullough, Esq., at 5308 Cottonwood Road, Suite 1A, Memphis, TN 38118, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)


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