Businessman Anil Agarwal On The Importance Of Dressing Right As It Can Shape Your Career

You might have heard people say, ‘Dress to impress’. Well, this proverb is not just applicable to impressing your prospective partner. In fact, someone who dresses right can also excel in his professional life, thinks the founder of Vedanta, Anil Agarwal.

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Taking to LinkedIn, the 68-year-old businessman shared a story that highlighted his life mantra of “Dress & Address.” He went on pen a long post about the time when he was reading ‘Cinderella’ to his seven-year-old granddaughter, Mahi who was intrigued by the fairy godmother’s abilities to transform Cinderella magically.

“I want a fairy godmother too,” Mahi said. I asked her why, to which she answered, ‘so I can be whoever I want to be! Like a superwoman!’
“Mahi, nobody but you have the power to transform yourself,” I said.

This conversation with Mahi took him down memory lane, to his struggling days in Bombay when he applied his mantra of “Dress & Address”.

“You are probably wondering what Cinderella has to do with business. In my career of 40 years, I have always believed in the mantra of “Dress & Address”.

The right dress – always ensure that your clothes are clean. They don’t have to be expensive but a crisp clean look goes a long way in helping you stand out.

The right address – address for me has 2 meanings. The first is a location. Being close to where all the action takes place helps you make an impact. The second, and perhaps more important meaning of the word, would be to treat everyone with kindness and respect – no matter who they are.”

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Agarwal went on to say that these 2 words are very simple, but for him, they carry so much meaning.

“During my initial days, I used to dress like the person I aspired to be. I would occasionally skip meals to save money because I wanted to have my top meetings at the Oberoi – a popular destination for high-profile investors. I would reach early to get my clothes ironed from the roadside dhobi. At that time, I only had one grey suit which I would wear over and over, and let me tell you that suit helped me crack several business deals!

Similarly, when I moved to London, I would spend time in areas where I could meet potential investors and bankers. The British were very particular about their attire, so I blended myself into their culture. Dressing sharp and addressing everyone with humility helped me make the right first impression.”

He concluded his post by writing:

“In the ballroom of business, let hard work be your own fairy godmother. Not to change who you are, but to turn on the magic, and bring out your best self. Who would have thought Mahi’s bedtime stories would inspire me to write more for you all.”

His long post highlighting the importance of dressing according to the occasion and addressing everyone with humility and warmth sparked a debate online.

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We know that one should not judge a book by its cover but it’s also true that first impressions are irretrievable and a little kindness can go a long way? What do you think?

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