Jon-Michail is a former award-winning Christian Dior designer and is now CEO of Image Group International. His personal motto is: “In the first 5 seconds your image influences the people you meet.”
Now a personal branding expert, Jon-Michail has changed his fashion focus from couture to corporate dress.
His business, IGI, has worked with some of Australia’s largest organisations such as Qantas, BHP, Fosters, ANZ, NAB and Rio Tinto to strengthen their corporate image and hone the message they want to be delivered.
When dressing you have to remember your end game. Jon-Michael says this means asking: “What do I hope to achieve?”
“All dress is associated with sex, money and power, but rarely all three at once, so you must decide which one applies. “Dressing is a formula and you are the product so getting it right is important.”
Here are Jon-Michail’s nine tips for dressing for success.
1. Don’t buy cheap
When it comes to this point Jon-Michail says you must “aim for the highest quality outfit you can afford plus add 10%.” He says doing this will ensure your look the part and you will have a suit that will last you for years.
2. Dress appropriately for the occasion
Visual representation is everything. “When your mouth is shut, your image does the communicating,” he says.
He believes in “dressing for the job you want not the job you have”. This will show you’re driven, and you take what you do seriously.
“The more classic you stay, the more opportunity to hit the mark,” he says.
3. Don’t under-dress or over-accessorise
Jon-Michail says often people try to “rebel” and go for that cool-casual look. But according to him this does not portray success. He says, “The only people that can afford to look poor are the rich, and the rich don’t.”
When it comes to pairing your outfit with a bright scarf or funny tie you might want to think twice. “Over accessorising take focus away from you and puts it towards the product,” which is not something you want if you are in a meeting or holding a presentation. “Less is more.”
He also says it’s important to get hair and makeup right. “Despite having great clothes if your hair and makeup is not done well you can sabotage your whole image.”
4. Get your colours right
“Colour pays a bigger part than design and style. It gets noticed first.” Jon-Michail continues, “wearing the wrong colour is almost as bad as not wearing a suit.”
“Fundamentally both men and women should stick to neutral colours, but generally navy and charcoal work best for men.” He says many men make the mistake of wearing black suits but he says this “doesn’t not work well because it doesn’t associate with blue blood, [which indicates] money and influence.”
Women on the other hand have “a larger creative license for colours”, says Jon-Michail. Women can also get away with wearing more black, “as long as it is not over done such as an entire suit or larger pieces.” He suggests women should wear teals and cobalt blue as they come across as “powerful but friendly, and rich and regal”.
5. Don’t buy clothes impulsively
If you buy clothes on a whim “you’ll end up with a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear”. He says people must be strategic and plan ahead when buying clothes, keeping in mind their objective and “end game”.
6. Know your body shape and dress to it
“It’s about packaging a human to maximise their personal traits.
“If you are an inverted triangle shape you should wear unstructured looser cuts and trousers with a fuller leg, and avoid anything that exaggerates the shoulders,” he says.
If you are a rectangle shape he suggests trying to get shape around your waist, while if you are more oval, trying to avoid patterns like checks and materials he calls “fat fabrics” such as knitted materials. They make you look bigger than you are.
“If you are thin the objective is to create a look with more fullness and shape. From a women’s perspective this is to make them look healthier… and the male perspective is to make him look more substantial.”
Ill-fitting clothes gives others the impression “this guy hasn’t got it together”, he says.
7. Don’t dress to please somebody else
“It is OK to follow the leader as long as it works to open doors and bring home the bacon, but don’t be a cardboard cut-out,” he says. “It is about defining yourself and defining your personal brand to stand out.”
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