Your big pitch meeting may involve a slew of tools — from a killer visual presentation to the perfect business plan, but your first line of success is all about a serious first impression. And while the business world is slowly converting from stuffy corporate gigs to dress-code-free startups, there are some universal style rules you can keep in mind to up the ante and increase your odds for success at that next big pitch meeting. Here are a few things to consider when you’re planning your look.
Start at the Top
Don’t neglect your appearance from the neck up. Too much makeup and dramatic accessories can distract from your message, and no makeup or accessories at all can leave you looking unpolished. Focus on clean, fresh makeup (nothing even resembling a smoky eye please!) and a simple nude lip. A light-handed cat eye also says precision and professionalism without being too formal. Cosmo has a great tutorial. Long, flowy hair may be sexy, but it’s not necessarily business savvy. Instead opt for a classic updo or a half-up, half-down style, keeping your hair out of your eyes and your hands out of your hair so all the focus is on your vision.
Wardrobe Pitfalls to Avoid
Certain clothing can distract rather than add to your message, and finding that middle ground between business casual and college student is an art form. Stay away from anything too girly. Check out these interview outfits presented by Elle. Small, lighter-colored floral prints may complete your boho OOTD, but they’re not always welcome in the boardroom. Stick with graphic prints and strong, basic colors to subtly reinforce your bold ideas and relentless drive. Also stay away from stilettos which might give off that just graduated, party girl vibe. A classic pump will send a much more professional message. Look for styles with a fun print or pop of color to show your funky personality. Or if you’re in the fashion industry, opt for a trendier loafer or oxford shoe for a professionally fashionable look that’s dead on trend à la Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. Mock turtlenecks, pleated knee-length skirts, high-waisted slacks and sheath dresses with grownup details are some of our favorite looks that will make getting ready for any opportunity a no-brainer.
Accessories Associated with Success
Laptop covers, cell phone cases, and tablets should be properly stored and organized. Make sure to top off the look with a designer shoulder bag. The rest of your outfit can be low-key, but your shoes and bag must look lux or you risk looking like you’re cutting fashion corners. Your best options include buttery leather details and interesting textures that will give a subtle shot of class and maturity no matter how off-the-wall your pitch is.
Just like with any well-planned outfit, the accessories you choose for your pitch meeting speak the loudest, so be sure to have all your tech-tools fully charged and your accessories on point. The only earrings you should be considering are simple studs. A big chunky cuff or statement necklace aren’t taboo anymore, but do require balance with the rest of your look. If you want to make a statement, make sure the texture in your outfit is minimal and your colors are muted.