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The must-haves of executive leadership

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Photo by Jeremy Beadle

Efficiency is fundamental for the workplace executive. Whether it is at the office, on the road, or in a conference call, the corporate leader at the helm of any company must always exude an air of expertise, of style, and of function to command the respect of their followers. Most importantly, these individuals must give the impression that they are irreplaceable.

For this, the executive has many tools at their disposal, all of which are essential luxuries that serve to create the corporate leaders that everyone aspires to become.

A respectable wardrobe

First and foremost, an executive must be in possession of a wardrobe that inspires confidence and authority. Clothes that strike the right balance between style and the workplace dress code is often more than enough to make one stand out from his peers.

A high-flying executive look does not have to consist of exclusive and expensive designer wear, but at the very least, they must be tailored personally for the best fit and form. For men, this is easily solved with the quintessential three-piece suit and its derivatives. For women, a bit more thought is involved.

Forbes, in an article, cited political leaders Hillary Clinton and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel as women leaders who are adopting a new matronly style that puts more focus on their speeches and actions, rather than their outward appearance.

Forbes quotes women’s image consultant and wardrobe stylist Michele Oppenheimer, whose more than 25-year list of career credits began at Galeries Lafayette in Paris and includes working with Giorgio Armani, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, “Clinton and Merkel look like grandmothers, which might help them to not appear threatening.”

For women whose leadership role is less about maintaining a public persona, Ms. Oppenheimer suggests darker colors that adapt to the corporate environment. Personalization is always a good option, so long as the goal is to be fashionable and not ‘trendy’.

“Women in a leadership role should be classic and perfectly put together,” Ms. Oppenheimer said. “Clean lines, perfect tailoring and exquisite fabric transcend time and trends.”

Watches to impress

Luxury watches are the epitome of the executive philosophy: classy, efficient, functional, and ever-reliable. Good watches also provide a bit of flexibility and personalization in one’s appearance. Male executives with a penchant for appreciating the long-lasting and finer things in life would be hard-pressed to find a more impressive addition to their arsenal.

World-class brands like Omega, Rolex, Tag Heuer and Hublot offer time-pieces which are likely to last not only throughout an entire career, but through generations. There are three different types of watch to choose from: mechanical, automatic, quartz.

Many watch aficionados believe that the mechanical movement type watches represent the crème de la crème of timepieces, owing largely to their traditional pedigree and the intricate work and engineering that must go into creating them. For such enthusiasts, owning a mechanical watch isn’t just about telling time, but a way to express their appreciation for history, refinement and craftsmanship.

An elegance and refinement in writing

As a business leader, a particularly unglamorous part of one’s daily duties is doing paperwork. Signatures are needed to close deals, approve purchases, and finalize business decisions. A classy-looking pen may help make such moments more engaging, as penmakers like Mont Blanc, Parker or Sheaffer promise to make writing on paper a refined experience with their fountain pens.

Fountain pens also offer the added benefit of impressing business partners with an eye for detail. As WIRED puts it, “A good fountain pen is a piece of precision engineering and design, and will serve you well for many years. Using a fountain pen is about making a deliberate choice to buy something that you can use repeatedly, rather than something you use once and loose. If you want to write casually, get a Bic disposable and throw it away when you’re done. But if you want to have something that looks cool and is a pleasure to use, get a fountain pen.”

Colognes and perfumes to enchant

In addition to wardrobe and accessories, how one smells can contribute significantly to defining one’s persona and character. A subtle, yet enchanting cologne or perfume can serve as a powerful tool in improving one’s charisma.

In choosing a perfume or cologne, one must consider the different notes which determine the overall scent. According to online perfume site Perfume.com, these notes consist of three different layers called base, top and middle notes, and they all work in synergy to create a specific smell.

“Some perfumes, for example, would be considered floral and contain different scent notes like rose, gardenia, or geranium. Others may be a bit fruitier, with undertones of citrus or apple. Exotic perfumes contain spicy notes like star anise or even cinnamon,” the site wrote.

“Men’s scents have various notes as well. Musk scents have a heavier, more masculine tone, while others may have smells like pine or even leather-based notes. It is always a good idea to determine which types of cologne or perfume you prefer and then see which base notes they contain before making a purchase decision.” — Bjorn Biel M. Beltran