The WOW! List: Look the Part

Roshini Rajkumar

By Roshini Rajkumar

1. Face
2. Hair
3. Wardrobe

Men and women show up to the C-suite with mixed attitudes about the importance of how they look. Some feel whatever image got them here will be effective with keeping them here. A rare few include how they look and dress as part of their executive mindset. Your image matters. Let’s analyze why. How you show up starts with your face, hair and wardrobe.

You were born with your face, so I don’t advocate drastic changes. Know your assets. If you possess a million-dollar smile, use it. If you have magnetic eyes, don’t cover them with glasses. Sure, you may need glasses, but consider how much you really need them or whether contact lenses can be a solution, especially in key business zones. Your face offers major communication tools: eyes, mouth, even your cheekbones. Ask yourself if you are intentional with these assets while also staying authentic and real. Even those with a great smile can become ineffective if that smile is not used appropriately or doesn’t seem genuine.

Short, long. Clean shaven, goatee. Men and women have different questions to ask themselves when it comes to hair with flair. First, stay clean and current. Trendy is rarely a good place for an executive. Age-appropriate is another factor to honestly assess. This might cover length and hair color. You may actually look more distinguished in your natural grey, so assess whether coloring is the best route for you after a certain age. If you are a man with a moustache, ask yourself if a clean goatee or no facial hair is a more polished bet. Better yet, ask someone you trust for an honest opinion. I consistently advocate against a mustache unless you are Tom Selleck and if you haven’t heard of him, definitely avoid the stache.

Even if you aren’t a clothes horse, you do need to fly with style. Try color over black. If you must wear black, add pops of color, especially close to your face. This adds a healthy glow. Well-fitting clothes are essential for every executive. If you don’t have a good tailor, find one. Wearing baggy clothing to cover less flattering body parts actually makes you look bigger. I also recommend a signature piece you make your own. For some men, it might be great socks or a bow tie. For women, perhaps you choose fab shoes or coats. Have fun because that’s always stylish.

Roshini is a presence engineer, personal brand strategist, licensed attorney and author of “Communicate That!” She hosts News & Views with Roshini Rajkumar on WCCO Radio and is an analyst for media outlets around the country. When she’s not on the air, Roshini is an executive coach, keynote speaker and event emcee. For more powerful presence content, go to