I am going to go out on a limb that the next sentence may be the most bizarre way a new men’s style blog has ever started, but here goes. The first time I met my in-laws some 10+ years ago, I was wearing a Michael Vick (pre-dogfighting) Atlanta Falcons jersey. It was a time in my life when I had an affinity for sports jerseys, but I have no idea why I even owned this. I am a huge Carolina Panthers fan and avid dog lover, but nonetheless, here I was, meeting the parents of my future wife for the first time, wearing a Michael Vick jersey. It is a wonder they didn’t run the other way, and tell their daughter to do the same thing too. I love telling this story because in the years to follow, I have realized how important first impressions are to me and just in general. Think about people you know. Whether you realize it or not, you develop an opinion almost immediately upon meeting someone, and vice versa, and much of that is based on appearance. I have no idea what my in-laws initially thought about me, but I assure you I have never worn a football jersey to an important first meeting ever again.
The thing about first impressions is that they can either guarantee you get the opportunity for a second impression, or they can guarantee you will not get that opportunity at all. I am not a big fan of chance, so I have always opted to guarantee I get the opportunity to pursue what I want. I do this by presenting myself in a manner that causes you to remember me, hopefully in a good way. If you have never met me, all you can initially judge me by is how I look: my clothes, am I standing tall and smiling, and so on. If that appearance is intriguing, who knows what may happen? People want to know more.
To the above point, I received a phone call a few years ago from our local NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets. They were doing an advertising campaign that featured different types of fans, and they were looking for someone that fit the “suited up” mold. I was a season ticket holder at the time, and the young lady on the phone indicated that their office had seen me at games, loved my outfits, and wanted to know if I would be a part of their shoot. I had never talked to any of these people minus my season ticket rep, and next thing I know I was hanging out on the court on Media Day with the players, coaches, and staff. All because of the impression my style had made on this group of people.
Do you ever think about how you want to present yourself to the world? Maybe you should. It can open up a lot of doors, and personally has presented me with lots of life experiences I may not have had otherwise. I literally think about this every day. What do I have to do today? What do I want to do today? Who do I have to see? Who might I see? I adjust my wardrobe accordingly. It works, and people take notice. When I see someone that has on a cool piece of clothing, glasses, etc., I make sure to tell them. My hope is that it gives them a little more confidence in themselves to achieve whatever they want to achieve that day. You don’t have to be that fancy guy in a fancy suit. You may be the jeans and t-shirt guy, or the guy with the cool hats. But figure out who you are, present yourself that way, and present the best version of yourself.
Oh, and don’t ever wear a football jersey to meet your future in-laws.
Have a great week. -Benj