What to Wear to a Corporate Take Over

Today is Tuesday, so this post is on positive personal impact.

Impeccable presentation of self – along with a strong personal brand, and knowing and applying the basic rules of etiquette – is one of the keys to making a positive personal impact. 

A recent Wall Street Journal article called What I Wore to the Take Over told the story of Thomas J. Barrack Jr.  It seems that Mr. Barrack was recently in the Middle East.  He was one of six bidders for a lucrative government deal.  As the day wore one, the temperature reached 110 Fahrenheit.    Each of his five competitors removed their jackets, loosened their ties and rolled up their sleeves.  Not Mr. Barrack.  “Everybody was hot and irritable.  I sat and ate the heat.  I didn’t take off my coat and didn’t roll up my sleeves.” 

Mr. Barrack, number 374 on the Forbes list of 400 richest Americans, with a net worth of about $1billions, says he didn’t remove his coat for a simple reason.  “I wanted to show the country’s government the kind of control needed to run the government controlled company under question.  The ability to sit and listen, and not take off your tie and not become disheveled says more about what you’re going to do with the company.  The government has not yet reached a decision, but Mr. Barrack is optimistic, “that was a good day for me.”

When it comes to attire, Mr. Barrack’s motto is “Elegant simplicity; anything wild like zany socks, no.  I want to be above emotionalism.  I want to be steward-like, reliable.”

I read this article with great interest as it goes directly to the idea of positive personal impact.  Mr. Barrack is the CEO of a global investment company, Colony Capital.  He believes that nice suits, Hermes and Ferragamo ties, and hand made shoes are the best way to present himself.  He must be doing something right.  He started with very little – his father was a Lebanese shopkeeper – and now he is worth a billion dollars.

The common sense point I want to make here is that people do pay attention to what you wear and how you look.  I’m a Brooks Brothers guy.  I wear conservative business clothing.  When I visit client offices, I always wear white shirts and striped ties.  I loosen up a little when I’m at their manufacturing sites.  There, I wear collared dress shirts and khaki slacks.  I don’t look great in golf shirts, so I don’t wear them for business.

This works for me for three reasons: 1) I am comfortable in my clothing. 2) in these days of business casual, people notice what I am wearing and react positively.  I look as if I mean business.  3) My attire reflects and enhances my Common Sense Guy brand.

The common sense point here – pay attention to what you wear, others do.  Dress one level up from the people with whom you are dealing.  A little attention to detail in how you look can have big returns in your life and career.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com to subscribe to my monthly ezine and for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: www.CommonSenseGuy.com for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

PPS – Happy 82nd birthday Dad!!!

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  1. This is a great piece because part of your personal brand is matching up who you are to what you wear. It’s the appearance element of your brand. I tend to wear trendy unique pieces such as Etro, Ted Baker and Paul Smith.

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