There are few things that scream out “amateur hour” more than showing up for a meeting or event dressed the wrong way. To many people, it says “you’re not important enough to deserve my looking the part.” To others it says, “I haven’t taken the time to understand the culture of your organization and/or industry, so I am out of touch.” In the eyes of your counterpart (potential partner, employer, customer, lender, investor, etc), dressing inappropriately could act as a red blinking warning sign that has him/her running for the hills.
This takes many forms. It is that person who shows up to a meeting in a more mature industry as the only person in jeans and a t-shirt in a room full of people in formal business attire. Conversely, it is also that person who shows up in a suit and tie to a meeting with a tech start-up. Human beings make snap judgments (fair or not) about a counterpart very quickly – it’s why your mom always reminds you that you never have a second chance to make a first impression. Every day is your day to shine – make it count.