In business it is not just first impressions that count; it is every impression.
The Hunter has a somewhat relaxed business attire but it is still vital to look like you mean business – clean, crisp and professional – whatever your profession. You don’t have to be in a million dollar suit but the outfit needs to look its best.
Colleagues and clients will be less likely to perceive you as a purveyor of quality, even trustworthy if your clothes are crumpled, aged and unclean.
If you needed another reason to look after your clothes, think ROI. Suits and business outfits aren’t cheap. You’ll maximise the return on your investment and extend their life if you spend a little bit of time taking good care of your clothes.
So, here are five top tips to keep you looking fit for business.
1. Don’t suit up in the car.
Seat belts delaminate a suit or jacket. Take your suit jacket off before getting in the car. Turn it inwards (so the lining is on the seat and exposed rather than the material) and lay it flat on the back seat. If there’s too many in the car, hang it over the back of the front seats. Don’t hang it against the window where the sun can damage it. An old fashioned way of keeping your suit (or any clothing) looking sharp is to brush it with a clothes brush to remove dust and grime before it sets into the fabric.
2. Ditch the plastic.
At Pride, we try to use as few chemicals and plastics as possible. I am looking for ways to eliminate plastic but it is still the standard way to protect your dry cleaning before you get it home. However, don’t store your cleaning in plastic at home, particularly after wearing it. It makes the clothing sweat, weakens the fabric and makes it look less attractive.
3. Separate the shoes.
Don’t store your shoes in the same cupboard as your clothes. The moisture and spores (and sometimes odour) from them infiltrates your clothing and reduces its longevity. Instead, use a shoe cupboard or an open bookcase elsewhere in the room or home. If you have a mould or mildew problem (as many homes in the Hunter do) use a moisture absorbing product from the supermarket in your cupboards.
4. Know when to roll ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.
When travelling for business, rolling your clothes helps them arrive with fewer creases and allows you to get more into your case (or take a smaller case). It is important to smooth out wrinkles as you roll. Be careful rolling clothing made of delicate or stiff material. You may be better to fold these to avoid damage.
5. Clean more regularly.
Returning to the ROI principle, it is a false economy to save money by not cleaning your business attire regularly. Regular dry cleaning protects your clothing and aids its longevity by removing dirt and spores that damage fabrics. Modern dry-cleaners, like Pride, use less chemicals than cleaners of previous eras.
Jennie Lyons, with her husband Phil, is the owner of Hunter based dry cleaning and laundry specialists, Pride. They have a store and 24-hour dry cleaning ATM on Maitland Road Islington, as well as an outlet at Westfield Kotara concierge desks. Jennie is also a director of the Hunter Business Chamber.