You, looking at you

Is the person you are sending out into the world each day, the person you think you are? Jackie O’Fee outlines a simple tool she teaches her clients to use every day.

Several years ago I interviewed a prospective new stylist for a role at Signature Style. Although she was unsuccessful for that role, this applicant left me with a lasting principle that I use every day in my business – that of “client eyes”. 

We were discussing the importance of keeping your working environment tidy and clean which is something I admit to being a little pedantic about. It is important to me that every client who sits down at Signature Style is not distracted by any dirt or mess. Even the bins must be emptied between clients. 

In her interview, this woman told me how in her previous role as a hair salon manager, throughout the day she would walk through the business with her “client eyes” which was basically a quick check as to how things may appear to a client arriving on the premises. 

Cushions would be straightened, benchtops wiped, magazines tidied, all based on that crucial “first impression”. Of course, clients visit our businesses more than once, so the client eyes concept needs to extend beyond the first visit to every visit. 

Although most of us wouldn’t argue the importance of a welcoming and appropriate client friendly reception or work space, funnily enough some of us don’t give much thought to the “client eyes” of ourselves. 

There’s a very simple tool that I teach each of my clients to use every day called the “Quick Look Test”. It goes that when you get dressed in the morning, ready to face the world, stand in front of your full-length mirror and shut your eyes. When you open them, the first thing you see will be the first thing that others see – the “client eyes” of you.  By the way, if you don’t have a full-length mirror, you are really selling yourself short as it is impossible to see how you appear to others if you cannot see yourself entirely. 

It’s in this quick glance where we will spot the jarring notes of our ensemble; is your jacket just a little too tight? Are your pants a smidge too long? Often it’s our choice of accessories that draw attention – our glasses, or a scarf.

If you are having a ‘fat day’ and have decided to add a big belt to ‘hide’ your tummy, chances are that’s where others eyes will be drawn. 

This is an excellent method to see if you’ve overdone the jewellery, or perhaps decide if that bold shirt is what you want to be remembered for today. It’s also a good idea to take a look at your rear-view and to make sure you look as good leaving as you do arriving. 

Many of us will choose a distinctive ensemble because we want to stand out, while others would rather blend into the background. Whatever your choice, you do want to send a consistent message about who you are – polished professional or quirky creative? Think about how your clients will perceive you and make sure the person you are sending out into the world is the person you think you are.    


Jackie O’Fee is the owner of personal style consultancy Signature Style. She works with both individuals and organisations. 

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