Make a great impression: your deportment and style

Fredrick Qaphelani Mabikwa

LOOKING and feeling your best is a powerful tool. It boosts your confidence and self-esteem, regardless of your size or height.

Good deportment and body language speak volumes about you, and knowing how to dress and carry yourself is key. Grooming simply means taking care of yourself and presenting a polished appearance — it includes skincare, makeup, hair care, and even regular nail checks.

The old saying goes, “clothes make the man” (or woman!). Your attire speaks volumes about your professionalism and image. While some organisations have dress codes, many allow for more flexibility.

The key is to build a career wardrobe of well-fitting clothes and accessories that mix and match easily. This includes special pieces for casual Fridays and social events. Remember, quality over quantity is always a wise investment.

Women have a wider range of outfit options. A tailored business suit is a classic choice, but a conservative business dress with tasteful accessories can work equally well. Stick to dark solids over pastels or prints, and add a pop of colour with a belt or scarf.

The most important thing is to know and embrace your body type. Stand in front of a full-length mirror and analyse your features to choose clothes that flatter your figure.

Formal occasions call for a dress suit or skirt suit with stockings that match your skin tone. Everything should be well-coordinated — top and bottom, shoes and handbag. Simple stud earrings are recommended, and keep jewelry classic — gold and silver are always safe bets. For evening events, you can add some sparkle with diamonds.

Always keep your nails clean and manicured, and avoid excessively long or artificial nails.

Here’s a quick guide to formal wear do’s and dont’s:

Dark coloured suits
Skirts at or below the knee
Solid coloured blouses (avoid loud colours)
Tailored pants
Printed shirts (tasteful)
Medium-heeled closed-toe pumps (dark leather is ideal)
High-slit skirts
Sleeveless blouses
Tank tops
Backless clothing
See-through clothing
Cargo pants
Linen pants
Printed pants (loud or busy)
Fabric Choices and Overall Presentation

Natural fibres like cotton, linen and wool are excellent choices for office wear. They’re timeless and project a polished image. Beyond clothing, a lady should conduct herself with grace and femininity.

Maintain good posture, speak s0oftly, and avoid bad habits like scratching or picking. Keep your hair neat and well-maintained, whether natural or styled with weaves.

Makeup should be natural and avoid overly dramatic colours or excessive application. Keep eyebrows groomed and tidy.

No matter your profession, your appearance makes a significant impact. Your professional image can influence your success in getting hired or advancing in your career. People do make judgments based on first impressions, so take charge of how you present yourself.

Projecting a polished and professional image is an investment in your future success. As the saying goes, “Civility, refinement and gentleness are passports to hearts and homes, while awkwardness, coarseness and gruffness are met with locked doors and closed hearts.”

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