The Polished Professional

Let’s talk honestly and put all political correctness aside. We as people judge! Now, I know we think we are so much more evolved than to judge a book by its cover. But we do!  Like it or not, it is our nature. It is something we can’t control. It is science. I could bore you to death with studies proving so, but I won’t. (However if you would like to know, check out the links at the end of this article.

Anyway the point is, it is a fact that not only are people who appear polished (or “put together”) more successful in business, they are presumed to be kinder and warmer, as well as  more sociable and sincere. That’s why it is important to develop a “style identity” and a “polished professional image”.

How we dress is critical to our polished professional image. How we act and how we groom ourselves are just as important! All three elements need to work together in order to establish our true style identity.

First and foremost, the foundation for a good impression is confidence. It is important to feel comfortable with the way you look.  A large part of our self-confidence comes from how we are feeling about how we look on the outside.

If we don’t feel like we look our best, we tend not to stand as tall, speak as clearly, share our ideas, make as much eye contact, and engage with others. Bottom line, we just don’t bring “it “ or perform as well as we are capable of.  

In a society where we are encouraged to fit in, yet be an individual, creating our style identity and our polished professional image can be tricky. Remember, it’s important to look good – but it is just as important to look like yourself.

Since there is no one set of rules for every person, my best advice is your style identity should be right for you and match the multiple aspects of your daily life; factoring in your social obligations, family life, career path, and most of all your comfort level.

That being said, the corporate culture of your company should dictate whether your style identity is appropriate for your work environment. If not, you should tailor your appearance to meet the culture. 

Take some time and really think about it. How do you see yourself?  How would you like others to see you? That will determine your style identity. Combine that with the guidelines of your corporate culture and that will determine your polished professional image. Then simply present yourself accordingly.

For inspiration, you can think of a persons, characters or celebrities style you would like to emulate. Here are a few of my faves:






Alex Rodriguez
Confident, Secure, Sophisticated
Blake Lively
“I Run This.”
George Clooney
Experienced, Uncomplicated Elegance


Jennifer Aniston
Effortless Chic
Omari Hardwick
Bad Ass Boss
Fearless and Fierce


The most successful business leaders have their own recognizable style identities. For example:


Barbara Corcoran
This real estate mogul, entrepreneur, and Shark Tank VIP keeps her wardrobe simple and sleek, her colors bright, and her hair short and blonde to tell the world she is a business lady who knows how to have fun



Richard Branson
Founder of the uber-successful Virgin Group, this anti-tie philanthropist stays true to his beliefs, most often donning a free-flowing hairstyle, white shirt, and black jacket that project an image of casual authority.



John Paul Dejoria
Self-made billionaire and co-founder of John Paul Mitchell, this guy practices what he preaches; for a man who found success in hair products he does his industry proud with his signature ponytail and typically all-black wardrobe.



Kris Jenner
Responsible for the term, “Momager”, reality star, talk show host, and branding genius Kris Jenner knows how to utilize image as evidenced by her trendy black wardrobe and heavy eye makeup.



You can check out more recognizable style identities on the @actonstylegroup Instagram! #ASGMogulMonday

Once you have decided on your style identity, here are some tips on how to enhance and make the most polished professional image:


Embrace color.


Effectively injecting color in your daily wardrobe can enhance your look and can subtly alter moods and perception.

Passion, Challenger Ready
Enthusiasm, Creativity, Determination
Optimism, Happiness
Harmony, Balance
Stability, Tranquility, Sense of Calm
Wisdom, Dignity, Creativity

Ensure YOU Are The Focus.













When others are focused on or discussing your appearance rather then your contributions and ideas, you lose credibility. Keep your credibility by keeping up with your appearance!

Have good dental hygiene.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Floss every night. Make sure to keep mints nearby.














Upkeep facial hair.
Long, unkempt facial hairs are a major distraction (such as nose, ear, eyebrows, and beard). Invest in a buzzer and make sure to trim any long hairs at least once a month. If you have a beard, we’re not saying you have to shave it all off, but take care of it. Trim it. Comb it. Keep it tight. You want people to take you seriously. A long scraggly beard with food stuck in it will do the opposite.