It was one of those conversations where everyone is sitting around discussing what characters from TV shows everyone identifies with. You know, what Sex & the City Character are you? Or Game of Thrones? or Golden Girls?At some point, we touched on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (where I’m pretty sure no one wants to identify with any of the characters) and both my husband, Thor, and my bff, Courtney, simultaneously looked at me and said, “You’re a Dennis!”
The world goes black.
I’m a DENNIS?! I mean, sure they are all horrible people…but Charlie is endearingly goofy, Mac’s delusional action hero daydreams are hilarious, you can’t help but pity Dee…even Frank is somehow physically disgusting but fully amusing. BUT DENNIS??!! He’s like the most self-absorbed, self-satisfied, smirking asshole on the show.
Then Courtney says, “You have all these rules you live by,” to which I paused and was like, “Well…yeah…”
So ok, fine – I’m a Dennis. Supposedly.
Tonight I’m packing for a quick work trip to Kansas, and my two colleagues were texting me, “What are you going to wear? What are you packing?” and up popped one of my most important and self-created rules: The 2-3-1. Tonight, I will share my secret rule with you.
Here’s the scenario: You’re going to be meeting a lot of new people over multiple days, in a professional setting. These can be consecutive days, or spread out over time, but basically it’s the same group of people. What do you wear to be remembered, and also communicate your professional competence while not forgoing your true personality?
That’s where my 2-3-1 rule comes in.
Day One: First impressions are key. You don’t want to underdress, but if you overdress you can seem stuffy or unapproachable. I shoot for a “2”, meaning my outfit is polished and professional, but toned down. For me this means kitten heels, basic colors, cool and classy. Maybe nice jeans with pearls, and easy but definitely styled hair and make up. People will say to themselves, “Say – she looks smart and classy!”
Day Two: Now you’ve set the stage that you can look classic professional, and it’s time to turn up the dial. I dress as a “3”, meaning a great dress and high heels (not porno high), hair definitely up and make up that is more bold. Maybe one piece of jingly or sparkly jewelry; definitely a great handbag. Now people are possibility intimidated because you look goooood, but they’ve met you once before so their first impression is still forming. They are wondering if you are cool or super high maintenance…and you let that suspense hang…
Day Three: Just when people think you are all about climbing your way to the top, I take it down to a “1”, meaning it’s all about cool and casual. For me this is skinny jeans (or my favorite leather pants!), Converse, and cool sweater and maybe a leather wrist cuff. People subtly realize that you are also down for a beer after work, but out of the 2/3 times they’ve seen you, you look dressed up so you’ve solidified a professional, yet personable persona to your new network.
There you have it: my “2-3-1”. If living by rules seems a little constraining to you, that’s cool. But just remember one thing: I’m a Dennis.