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What Outfit to Wear to Make a Great First Impression, According to Stylists

Dress to impress any time you need by following these six expert style rules.

Many factors go into making a good first impression: arriving on time, staying positive, being yourself, exuding confidence, and looking great. First impressions matter because they can set the tone for a new relationship; they influence how others think of you and can help build a strong rapport and sense of trust. In the professional world, first impressions can be pivotal in securing new opportunities, collaborating effectively with colleagues, and advancing in your career.

Like it or not, people consciously or subconsciously form an opinion about you within just a few seconds. One of the first things they'll notice? Your outfit. Here are the essential details that can help elevate your look no matter who you're dressing to impress, courtesy of several fashion experts throughout the industry. Take notes!

RELATED: 10 Timeless Clothing Items That Never Go Out of Style.

1. Add a Pop of Color

Young Woman in Bold Fashionable Outfit
Victoria Chudinova/Shutterstock

Award-winning artist and fashion designer Diana Stelin says color can be a very powerful tool for influencing others' moods and communication styles, so don't shy away from adding some brightness to your outfit.

"Most people tend to think that black is the safest and most trusted shade, but it actually steals color from our face, making you look paler and meek." She says. "Understanding your personal palette is absolutely key in showing up with energy and confidence."

If you look great in green, make sure that color is represented when trying to make a good first impression. If you know red isn't flattering on you, simply avoid it!

2. Get Your Clothing Tailored

Woman wearing a navy blue dress getting the garment tailored by another female
jacoblund / iStock

Before your next big meeting or event, head to the tailor so that your clothes fit you like a glove. Tailors can turn average clothing into true masterpieces that will make you radiate power and confidence.

For instance, "many of my female clients don't want to draw attention to their hips, so I often recommend that they have the front pockets cut out of trousers (especially white pants) and then seam the pocket shut," says Tara Hooper, a personal stylist and lead stylist at Reveal Suits. "This creates a less full look in that area; the pants lays flat and clean and hug their hip line rather than making it fuller, which can throw their body proportion out of alignment. I do this with most pants except jeans."

Talk with your tailor about the look you're going for and make sure you leave with a garment that suits you and your body shape.

RELATED: 7 Key Things to Know Before Going to a Tailor.

3. Don't Let Your Outfit Overshadow You

Woman in all Blue Outfit
indira's work/Shutterstock

Your personal style is an extension of who you are, but don't go overboard and let what you're wearing take center stage and drown you out.

The same can be said for dressing in a muted way that doesn't let your uniqueness shine. "Don't forget your personality and blend in," says sustainable stylist Roberta Lee.

Instead, "incorporate colors and accessories thoughtfully to complement your personality without overshadowing your presence."

4. Stumped? Wear a Pressed White Button-Down Shirt

A mature woman with short white hair is wearing a white button-down shirt with her hands in her jeans pockets against a white background.
Mangostar / Shutterstock

To stand out and make a great first impression, Philip Pravda, men's fashion expert and founder of SuitCafe, advises dressing slightly better than you think is required for the occasion. This approach will empower you to take control of your image and project more confidence.

"If you're not sure what to wear, go with a button-down shirt in white that's clean, crisp, and most importantly, pressed," Pravda says. "Don't wear a new shirt directly from the package or one folded from the drawer." The tell-tale creases will give you away!

5. Avoid Wearing Jeans With Sneakers

Side view woman walking street in fashionable spring or autumn clothes cashmere coat, jeans, black loafers shoes and handbag. Female model in motion, street style fashion, close up legs

Being comfortable is important when making a great first impression, but going too casual can be off-putting—especially if the setting calls for a more refined look.

Pravda suggests ditching jeans and sneakers and wearing trousers with a belt that matches your shoes. "This will show the thought in your complete outfit and reflect your character and personality."

RELATED: 13 Best Statement Shoes That Can Completely Transform Your Look.

6. Choose Pieces That Reflect Your Energy

Smiling Happy Model is wearing blue jacket and sweater, striped gilet, red pants and yellow sunglasses. Fashion Street Style autumn or spring. Woman posing outside the clothing store

Finally, the power of a good outfit is undeniable and can impact your energy, which can work in your favor when trying to impress someone new. "You're setting the intention of how you want to feel, and choosing clothes that reflect that energy (not just based on their appearance) is crucial," style expert Christine Bovè explains. Match the energy you want to give off with the structure, texture, and color of your overall look. Want to exude lightness? Go for a flowy silk. Professionalism? Try a structured wool. Don't-mess-with-me strength? Leather all the way!

"This combination of confidence and attire is what leaves a lasting impression," Bovè says. And that's how you'll nail the perfect first impression!

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more
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