This is a guest post from my friend Megan over at Style Girlfriend – visit her blog for more men's style advice from a woman's perspective!
Gentlemen – Let's talk about first impressions.
Specifically the kind you make on us ladies when we first meet you.
Women size you up as soon as you say “hello.”
Yes – it does go both ways.
The funny thing is she might not even realize the mental checklist forming in her head. But make no mistake; she's ticking off good and bad boxes.
And you know what they say about first impressions – you only get to make one.
So make yours count.
Below are 7 visual and audio cues a woman immediately notices and how you can get it right.
Why it matters: If eyes are the window to the soul, then shoes are the window to your style. Wear the wrong ones, and you'll telegraph a less-than-ideal message. If they look flimsy, she'll suspect you're a cheapskate. If they're ratty and worn-down, she'll think you don't care about your appearance (and will wonder what else you don't care about).
How to get it right: Consider shoes an investment. Spend what you can on a few good pairs – dress shoes in both black and brown, and a loafer or driving moccasin for more casual outfits. And be sure your shoes are outfit-appropriate – that means no sneakers or sandals with a suit.
2 – Your Greeting
Why it matters: Why do you think it's so nerve-wracking when contestants first get out of the limo on The Bachelor? And guys, don't pretend you haven't watched this addictive reality series at least once. It's because they only get a few words and gestures to make a good first impression. A greeting is the first opportunity to present yourself the way you want to be seen. Your handshake, smile and “hello” all contribute.
How to get it right: Be confident, but friendly. Don't look past us, or up and down our frame before you reach our face. Of course, if you can barely make eye contact from nerves, that's not very appealing either. Look us in the eye, smile warmly, and repeat our name (to help you remember it). And never underestimate the power of a firm handshake.
3 – Your Hands
Why it matters: Since we're already talking about handshakes, let's discuss the state of your skin. I know that “Moisturize” probably isn't high on your list of daily “To Do's.” But rough hands are not something we ladies want to put up with. No one wants to touch scaly skin. Even if you think moisturizing isn't “manly,” it's in your best interest to keep your skin smooth.
How to get it right: Keep a hand cream at your desk at work and use it when you're brainstorming your fantasy football lineup or trying to decide what to eat for lunch.
Why it matters: There are, of course, big fashion deal breakers guys (hopefully) know not to make. Showing up to a date in an “I'm with Stupid” t-shirt, for instance. Or walking into a business meeting wearing a Confederate flag biker jacket.
But usually, it's smaller things that can trip you up with a first impression. A sloppy, untucked shirt – pants that clearly haven't been pressed – muddy, grass-stained shoes.
How to get it right: Do a full-mirror scan before you leave your house. Do you look put together? Is your hair combed? Your shoelaces tied? Does your belt match your shoes? A quick once-over will save you from little mistakes in a first impression.
5 – Your Watch
Why it matters: Women don't expect every man to flex a Rolex, but we do expect you to wear a man's – not a kid's – watch. No Mickey Mouse faces. No calculator watches. And nothing made of rubber if you're not running a marathon.
How to get it right: If it's time to upgrade your wrist wear, do a reconnaissance mission at your local department store's watch counter to see what strikes your fancy. You can't go wrong with a metal bracelet with a dark face, or a simple-yet-classic leather band with white face. Nothing showy, but nothing that suggests you won it in a carnival game either.
6 – Your Grammar
Why it matters: Even in the first exchange of “Hello's” and “Hi my name is” pleasantries, ladies are making judgments. We notice if you're using big words or not, if you say “umm,” call us “dude” or “babe,” and if your vocabulary is riddled with curses.
How to get it right: Read more books? We're not asking for ten-dollar words dropped into every sentence, but we want to feel confident that you can hold up your end of a conversation if we introduce you to our friends or family without fear of you embarrassing us.
7 – Your Hair
Why it matters: The way you wear your hair says a lot about you. A combover trying to cover up a bald patch – you'll seem insecure. Greasy locks that look like they haven't been washed in days – a total turn-off.
How to get it right: Women have different opinions on the “right” length of hair, but that's subjective. What's more important is how it's styled. Or really, if it's styled at all. If you wear your hair longer, make sure it's in check when you walk out the door. A little – not a lot – of product is best. If you're going bald, just shave it off and rock a bare scalp without shame.
This is a guest post from my friend Megan over at Style Girlfriend – visit her blog for more men's style advice from a woman's perspective! – Antonio