Dress for success

At an early age, I learned from my grandmother that your appearance
is the first (and sometimes the last) thing people remember
about you. “Always keep your hair trimmed and lined even if
you have long hair. Keep your clothes clean and pressed, even if
they are not in fashion or designer items. And make sure you are
color-coordinated,” my grandmother would say.
I learned at a later age that different clothing items are very
important also. My good friend Rick Fitzpatrick was the vice
president of a well-known bank in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the mid
1990s. At the time, he was my customer, not my friend, but our
friendship developed after he educated me about the importance
of dressing for success. He invited me to make a presentation to
all the other banks within his system around the country. After
that, we began seeing each other at conferences, and I was
eventually invited to speak at his company’s quarterly meetings.
In other words, he opened a door for me to become friends
with his important colleagues within the banking system. He
noticed I had a favorite Claiborne sport coat that I consistently
wore to those important events. He pulled me aside and said,
“Devin, you need to think about purchasing some new Claiborne
sport coats, as this one appears to be your favorite.” He
knew the name brand of the coat I was wearing. He informed
me that the other vice presidents had also noticed my favorite
sport coat. After that, I periodically took the time to buy clothes
to keep my wardrobe fresh. Executives notice everything, and
the reason they remembered my clothes is because they were
impressed with me from my very first presentation. From my
clothes to my verbal communication, they took notice. Their
financial commitment to me went from $10,000 to $60,000 per
year. Why? Because they liked the way I dressed, and they liked
my ability to communicate on a professional and personal level.
Since then, our families have spent vacation time together. We
have shared many meals and drinks together. Because I learned
how to dress for success, I was able to develop a valuable professional
relationship and lifelong friendship.
Devin Oten
DO Enterprises
Writer, Public Speaker and Philanthropist