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The Art of Client Service by Ian Schafer, Robert Solomon

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Postscript

Dressing the Part

Early in my career, I worked foru a very smart, very personable, and outrageously funny executive. He was a big guy, kind of a bowling ball with legs. A client described him as “an unmade waterbed.” That moniker captured his rumpled, shirttail-out, tie-askew style.

He could pull this off because of his outsized personality and big brain. It wouldn't work for most other people, and even if it did, I wouldn't recommend it.

That's because you are the agency's lead representative to your client, the manifestation of the agency's brand and culture. So regardless if the style you cultivate is Chicago conservative, New York downtown hip, or San Francisco laid-back, grooming counts. It affects how others see you and how they judge you professionally. It can affect how you feel about yourself.

Dressing the part used to be easy. With the exception of the creative department, where style could run amok with little fear of reprisal, men defaulted to sober suits and ties; women did much the same. In the era of casual dress, this has become vastly harder to decode, and those of us in the business might find ourselves not resorting to a standard uniform, but instead calibrating what we wear to the client and the occasion. Do I wear a suit? Do I dress casual? And what, exactly, is meant by casual?

This means redoubling your efforts to get the styling details right, starting with a decent haircut, ending with a decent pair of shoes, and navigating everything in between. ...

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