Who is Your Email Wearing? A Guide to Fashionable Pitching.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from a former convicted felon, Neal Caffrey (on White Collar), it’s that you need to dress the part.

Neal is such a charming guy not just because of his smooth moves or his way with words – it’s the way he presents himself. I’m like Neal. I walk into the office almost every day with a tie and blazer. I consider myself a professional, and to play that role I want to look the part. The beauty of working in a metropolitan office (and not remotely in my PJ’s) is getting facetime with my colleagues, clients and journalists. Impromptu meetings and post-work meetups are pretty common, and with the right duds, can be a welcome surprise.

For me, presentation is key to a proper first impression, and in this day and age of PR, the right outfit is just as crucial as a solid email pitch.

The Subject Line: Stylish Outerwear Makes a Good First Impression

For starters, the subject line of your email matters just as much as the right outerwear. It’s the first thing a person notices, and you can’t really avoid someone making a snap judgment. Like a good subject, a well-fitted jacket or blazer will intrigue people. Of course, don’t over-do it; lead with something attractive, without screaming for attention, to pique their curiosity.

The Body: Everyone Appreciates a Hot “Bod”

It’s time to show off the main portion of your outfit, or in the case of an email, the content of your pitch. Similar to a purple striped shirt and dark jeans, or a maroon v-neck with checkered grey slacks, the core of your outfit should show you put in the effort, an indication you “took the time to care.” The right combination can do wonders, just like the newsy hook that will have a reporter curious to learn more.

The Details: Accessories Add Personality

Go further by accessorizing and personalizing your main attire. A perfectly knotted tie can bring your shirt to a whole new level; a pocket square for your blazer can make you feel classy. Accessories compliment an outfit and add a splash of detail (and confidence). In a pitch, that detail could be some facts to support your claim. However, don’t go on mixing and matching with just any accessory; too much fluff will make your outfit or pitch feel unnatural and forced.

The Call to Action: Wrap It Up With A Nice Pair Of Shoes

Last but not least, shoes. A good pair of shoes can bring your look to another level. If you haven’t acquired a nice pair of monk straps, wingtips, or leather boots, there’s no time like the present! In the wardrobe of your email, shoes are a call to action that gives a reporter a reason to take interest in your story. Find the right pair, and you might just strike gold.

Getting the right pieces can be tough, and assembling them properly is an even bigger challenge. Remember, it’s all about experimentation. I didn’t become a head-turning fashion guru overnight! (Kidding, kidding) But honestly, the same goes for assembling a persuasive email. As you come to understand each element of writing a pitch, you’ll see better results. Keep practicing – eventually you’ll find a sweet spot and build up your own personal style, a voice that’s uniquely “you.”

Photos from SuitSupply and VINSPI