Dress to Achieve Your Goals: On Suits and Shoes

The clothes you wear are sending a message. Is it in line with your goals?

We talked strategy about how to dress according to our goals, and then tactics related to how to pick shirt and ties that go in line with your personal brand and purpose. And we did all that being mindful of your resources.

Now we will walk through the steps needed to pick suits and shoes that will help you deliver a consistent message which will help you grow professionally.

On Suits

Just like we discussed, when talking about shirts, it is more important to know how the suit should look when it fits right than knowing your exact measures. Knowing your measures will give you an idea of the sizes and cuts (fitted, classic, etc.) you will be looking for. But the measures will be different depending on the brand and cut of the suit. Here is a great article that will help you understand how a suit should look when it fits right.

Colors: To be efficient you should start with navy and charcoal grey, both solid. This two colors are considered classics and both will send a message of professionalism and competence. But the best part is that both go with black or brown shoes. This means that it is almost like you are buying four suits, because you can wear it one day with your black shoes and the next day with brown and it will create the illusion of a completely different outfit.

The next should be a black suit, and after that you can expand in any way that you want. You can try different patterns, different lapel styles, and colors. Just be sure to do your research of what those different variables communicate so that you can grow your personal brand in line with your goals.

Time-saving Information: When you go out to buy suits, be sure to wear the shirt and shoes that you will be wearing with the suit. That way there will be no guessing, you will know exactly how it will look. That will save you time and money, because you will not get home and the realize that the suit may be a bit long or the pants may be a bit too short.

On Shoes

By know you should already know the theme of the story: I like to keep it simple, efficient and effective. After doing some research I came to the conclusion that Cap-Toe Oxfords are the best and most practical option to start. They are classic and professional shoes, that will go well with any combination of suits, jeans and dress pants. Later on you can go with Wingtips, Derbies, Monk Straps, or any other option depending on your purpose and goals. Here is a great and detailed article on shoes.

Colors: Start with black, which is the most classic and professional, and then brown (not tan). These two options will be a great start. After that feel free to go with any option that fits your needs.

As you can tell I'm very curious about the topic of building a personal brand and how the way you dress can have an impact on it. I am constantly reading about it and also asking successful professionals about their opinion on the topic. In this journey I had a very interesting conversation with an executive recruiter, and I asked him what are the specific questions he asks or things he pays attention to in other people, to get a sense of their talents and value? To which he replied:

“You can find out a lot by how someone carries themselves in posture, facial expression, and how the back of their shoes look – the heels and back part of my shoes are highly maintained. You only get one first impression.”

As you can see maintaining your shoes is very important, because of the message it sends. So do yourself a favor a buy a shoe care kit. You won’t have to break the bank to buy quality, Allen Edmonds has some good options below $50. Also be sure to buy some shoe trees, and make a habit of keeping your shoes clean and polished.

Do you have any other options that should be considered for suits and shoes? Any other resources for maintaining your shoes and clothes? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Learning and sharing knowledge is my passion, let’s connect if it’s yours too.

Alejandro I. Sanoja