Do you know what? A lot of it comes down to good grooming. So many people walk around with their sleeves too long or their cuffs frayed. It’s about how much attention you pay to detail, how much time you’re prepared to put in. If it’s right, you never have to worry about it. You buy an article of clothing, you spend a few minutes trying it on at home and really looking at it. You make any changes necessary and bang, you don’t have to worry about it again. You don’t go to get it out of your wardrobe and think ‘Oh no, the buttons are loose on that jacket, the hem’s coming down on that skirt, that shirt never suited me anyway’.
If you are doing that, your wardrobe is full of dead wood, stuff you will never use. So think about it. Why don’t you use it? Can something be done? If not, get rid of it. If it can, it’s a relatively small amount of effort to make everything in there serviceable. Here’s a tip: don’t buy anything to put in your wardrobe unless it’s perfect or you’re going to make it perfect.
I know an exceptionally articulate and intelligent woman who said she stood up for a presentation one morning, wearing a suit she felt uncomfortable and lousy in. It affected her performance. ‘I know I fluffed my presentation not because I didn’t know what I was talking about, but because I knew I looked bad,’ she explained, ‘I just found it incredibly distracting’.
It’s not only distracting for the speaker, don’t forget, it’s distracting for the audience, as well. I went to a lecture recently where the guy was a bit sloppy. The lecture was okay, but he didn’t look sharp. He didn’t come across as particularly impressive. That’s what bugs me about politicians, particularly in this country. Bill Clinton, when he stood up on stage, looked excellent. So does Dubya. But look at Tony next to him on those walkabouts and he looked a mess. And he was one of our better ones. Saying this, they have improved enormously as both David Cameron and Barack Obama have been styled.