Perception is the first reality. Perspective is relevant to the eye of the beholder. The eye of the beholder usually has an ingrained perspective based on their culture and experiences. Business is no different. In an initial meeting between two persons each individual often develops an opinion on the other person before the even open their mouth. Posture can relate to confidence, hygiene relative to appearance can relate to charisma, and your dress can relate to your attitude.
I walked into a Chamber of Commerce event in Normal, IL a year ago and saw a young man with a green Mohawk that was spiked almost a food high serving food at the event for one of the community restaurants. The owner of this restaurant is very outspoken in the community, the type who has an opinion on anything. However, the sight of the young man with the lime green Mohawk serving food from his restaurant always stayed with me for two reasons. The first being the hypocrisy of the owner wanting to promote the attributes of a prominent and upstanding image in the community but representing his company by scheduling an employee of his with a ridiculous image that contradicted his view of his company. My second reason was why this young man would choose to represent himself in such manner.
Understanding the need for individuality does not escape me, nor does the right to freedom of dress. However, if you desire to be successful in a world that has an image for what success looks like why present yourself in a manner which automatically causes people to pigeon-hole you as a jerk, lazy or a punk? Don’t do it.
You only get one shot at an introduction so don’t blow it. If you want success put yourself in the initial role by playing the part. I’m not saying to be a tool. What I am saying is be yourself but dress and carry yourself to the image that the mass authority of people would view you and think I want to do business with this guy – even before you ever open your mouth.