As a creative (the term covering those within an agency who are a bit ‘arty’) you’re encouraged to dress in a way that expresses your personality while allowing you to feel relaxed enough to produce your best work. This usually results in a smart-casual (trendy… sometimes) feeling to an agency that stops just short of joggers and slippers, with the exception of the day after the Xmas party.
When it comes to client meetings this needs a bit of consideration. If it’s a long standing client then you’re likely to be much more relaxed around each other, so what you’re wearing is not likely to be an issue, but the first time you meet a client, or more so a potential client, first impressions matter.
Back when I started in the industry I was on my way to a client meeting feeling very nervous. My MD at the time pointed out that, for the clients, hearing our ideas and vision for their brand, the next advertising campaign, their new website etc. was likely to be one of the most exciting parts of their job. They’ll spend much of their day in meetings, answering emails, or just getting through the churn, all the while surrounded by people wearing business attire. So rather than feeling like we’re getting in their way they’re likely to be looking forward to seeing us and hearing what we’ve got to say. The way I’m dressed and the fact that I’m getting overly passionate about the ideas I’m presenting is likely to be a breath of fresh air rather than viewed as unprofessional.
This advice has always stuck with me, and helps me feel much more relaxed when meeting clients.
Obviously it still makes sense to smarten up a bit for client meetings. For me that’s usually a case of popping a shirt on (buttoned up to the top to show that I’m down with the kids, and sleeves rolled up so that I accidentally show how painfully cool I am due to my tattoos), but that’s not as easy in the summer.
I’ve been wearing shorts non-stop (perk of the job) for at least two months now. I’m currently on my way to a client meeting on what’s shaping up to be another very warm day. Ordinarily I would have stuck with the shorts and simply worn my SteadyGo branded polo shirt to smarten up, however today’s meeting is with a solicitors and I can’t help but feel that shorts and T-shirt would be far too casual.
I spent a good 20 minutes deliberating about what I should wear this morning. I was all set to go with the polo shirt with jeans, knowing that my legs could well get too hot but at least my top half could remain fairly cool. But, as my girlfriend pointed out when I was about to leave this morning, that could still be far too casual to a solicitor. And, as much as I wanted to tell her to shut up and go back to sleep, I knew she was right.
So here I am – shirt, black jeans and black converse.
Bring on the sweat.