Most people have heard the old phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” While this may sound good in theory, the truth is that this is not how most people react.

In fact, studies show that people tend to make a judgment about someone within the first seven seconds. This means that whether they’re on a job interview, at a business meeting or attending a networking event, a person has just seven seconds to make a good first impression.

Some studies more recently have even proven that our waning attention spans and “instant” world have shortened that span to a mere three to five seconds.

I’ll let that sink in.

It takes less time to be judged than to read the phrase: “3 to 5 seconds.”

Dress for Success or Failure

Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it was dressed in overalls and looks like work.” This happens every day – people with great potential are overlooked for growth opportunities all the time. People don’t want to see a work in progress, they want to see success.

Coco Chanel, the founder of Chanel, once said, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” Anyone who wants to get noticed must make sure they dress impeccably every time they walk out the door.

Benefits of Dressing for Success

A recent study shows that people who dress better have more confidence, feel more powerful and are more focused on details. More importantly, people perceived well-dressed people as leaders and went to them for support at a faster rate than those not well-dressed.

Even Facebook’s own Mark Zuckerberg, who is famous for sporting plain gray t-shirts, understands the power of dressing well. During an important year for Facebook, Zuckerberg made a commitment to wear a tie every day for the entire year. He explained, “My tie was the symbol of how serious and important a year this was and I wore it every day to show this.”

Tips for Dressing for Success

The good news is that dressing for success is not as difficult as one may think, and they don’t have to break the bank to look good. Keep the following tips in mind and give the impression of success:

  • Always wear dark socks with dark pants and/or shoes
  • Limit use of cologne/perfume
  • Make sure accessories, such as jewelry and belts, are not too showy or distract from the outfit
  • Clothing should be clean and pressed
  • Wear clothing that fits correctly
  • Dress shirt should contrast jacket and/or tie
  • Limit use of makeup
  • Cover up any distracting tattoos

Academy Award winner Edith Head says, “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” There’s more truth in this statement than one may think. Start by dressing like the person you want to be and success will follow you.


Brandon Vallorani is a practiced entrepreneur and accomplished CEO, author of The Wolves and the Mandolin (ForbesBooks; 2017), and third generation Italian-American.

Founder of a media conglomerate recognized on the Inc. 5000 for five consecutive years, Brandon sold to a colleague in the business, and has more recently shifted focus to his other entrepreneurial endeavors.

Vallorani Estates offers hand-curated luxury products for those who celebrate life’s privileges, and a number of ventures run through his consulting business Romulus Marketing.

Vallorani graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, and began his career in the non-profit sector. He quickly rose through the ranks to become Executive Vice President in a few short years, simultaneously earning his Master of Business Administration from Thomas More College.

He lives in Metro-Atlanta, with his wife with whom he shares seven children, a son-in-law, and a grandson. In his free time, Brandon enjoys playing in casinos around the country, his three dogs, and learning Italian.