What To Wear As A Candidate

When you meet someone face-to-face, 90% of how you are judged is based on nonverbal data—your appearance and your body language. Only 10% is influenced by the words that you speak. Whoever said that you can’t judge a book by its cover failed to note that people do.

It’s important to dress the part when running for office. This means that whatever you wear needs to be planned, put together and carefully chosen. While there are times when wearing a suit is appropriate, there are times when it is not. Just as you wouldn’t wear jeans to a formal political event, don’t wear a suit when you go trap shooting with the local union. Know when to roll up your sleeves, make sure you have button downs and khakis as well as formal and casual clothes. Tie color really doesn’t matter though Democrats tend to stick with blue and Republicans, red.

The optics, how you appear, can make a critical difference. Ken Salazar was the Attorney General of Colorado and had decided to run for Senate. With three weeks left in his campaign, his consultants told him that he was losing the Western Slope and advised him to put on a cowboy hat. Salazar wore it every single day, at every single event and in the end won the election, attributing it to his hat. When making first impressions, you want to look like you are trying, but not too hard. Coco Chanel was unknowingly a great political strategist. She said “before you go out, take off one piece of clothing or accessory.” This is to accommodate for our tendency to overdress. Taking off that bracelet, pocket square, chain or necklace before you leave can make sure that people don’t think you are trying too hard.

When making first impressions, here's what men and women tend to look at:
Women tend to judge women on face, clothes, shoes, eyes, hair, makeup and accessories.
Women tend to judge men on face, clothes, shoes, eyes, hair.
Men tend to judge men based on their women, their handshake, their watch and their shoes.
Men tend to judge women on grooming, fitness and demeanor.