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The Art of Appearance and the Importance of First Impressions

Set yourself up for success by winning over prospective clients when they first enter your optical business.




The Art of Appearance and the Importance of First Impressions

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

We’ve all heard that phrase or something similar. Though its origins are unknown, the sentiment holds strong in all aspects of our lives, especially in business. And psychological research backs it up.

According to the American Psychological Association, “Substantial research has affirmed the importance of first impressions…”

This research shows that you have about 30 seconds to make a positive first impression. I believe most people today form their impressions much faster than that. Furthermore, experts say that 55% of our first impressions are based on appearance. Patients are checking you out as soon as they enter your optical gallery.

What you wear has an impact on how people perceive you. Patients note the eyeglasses you are wearing (or not wearing) and your clothing style. These initial observations help them quickly decide not only if they like you but also if they want you to style them in new eyewear. This all happens before you even have a chance to say, hello!

The same goes for your team. These all-important individuals are your calling card and represent your business brand. They often are the first point of contact for perspective clients.


Perception is Reality

Because visuals play such an outsized role in first impressions, how we look to others, and to ourselves, is of vital importance.

Research shows that your appearance strongly influences other people’s perception of your skill set, trustworthiness, and intelligence. And, because perception is often reality, what you wear not only communicates who you are to others, but also influences how you feel about yourself.

I know when I feel a bit sluggish or unsure of myself when getting dressed for the day, I instantly pick up one of my perfectly tailored favorite jackets, a killer pair of shoes, and a bright pair of specs. I instantly embrace the look and I stand taller. I walk out the door feeling confident and ready to be engaged with the people around me.

The Science of Clothing

The clothing we wear affects our psychological states as well as our performance levels.

A pair of researchers at Northwestern University, Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky, call this connection: enclothed cognition. In short, the clothing we wear (or that others are wearing) impacts how we think and act.

This isn’t an entirely new theory.


Originally, clothing was worn for necessity to protect us from the elements. But over time our clothing took on added significance as forms of fashion and visual means of communication. What one wore became an indication of status in society. It was a way to show where you ranked, what you could afford, and what profession you were in.

To this day, what we wear is a powerful non-verbal way to express our unique personalities and create a favorable impression.

Our clothing also sends signals to our brains on how to act. Think of how you feel and act wearing work out gear compared to being dressed for a wedding. People tend to embody the expectations of the outfit they’re wearing.

5 Simple Tips to Make an Impactful and Positive First Impression

Here are some simple tips that will help you look and feel your very best:

  1. Wear clothes that fit well. Clothing that is too big will look sloppy and clothing too small will not be flattering.
  2. Wear eyewear even if you don’t need them to see. If you are responsible for selling eyewear, wearing beautiful specs will give you instant credibility. Plus, you’ll be a walking, talking advertisement for what you sell.
  3. Accessorize with color. Add one or two new pairs of eyeglasses in colors that complement your complexion, hair, and eyes. You may wear the same outfits every week but change your eyewear for a new look. When your patients see you with different eyewear, they will be inspired to want to have more than one pair too.
  4. Smile and make eye contact. When you look a person in the eye, you communicate self-assurance, confidence, and belief in your point of view. It also brings attention to your eyewear.
  5. Approach your work with a great attitude. You can have an impactful and positive visual presence and have a good work ethic, but it will be your attitude that determines how well you style and serve your patients. Embrace a winning attitude!




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