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Is this superficial? Yes. Is it accurate? Not always, and that's why it is so important that you are aware of it. When you are aware you can take steps to manage it.
What do you want the new introduction, the passerby to think about you? To some extent the impression you make doesn't come from you at all, but rather from the individual's memories of other people with whom the person has already had experience. The individual will take a look at you and his habits of thought will place you into a category based upon who you are seen to be "like".
For instance, a suit can give a first impression of authority and credibility, but to some people a suit represents someone who will try to overuse authority to control. They knew a person in their past who wore a suit and who engaged in those behaviors. Lucky you to be painted with the same attitudinal brush.
This isn't all about clothing and grooming. First impressions can be derived from a piece of correspondence - spelling and grammar in an email, a Facebook post - or a tone of voice. It can be delivered by the car that you drive, and its state of repair and cleanliness.
Feeling a bit self-conscious right now? That's not the goal here. The idea is that when you have the opportunity to do so, you choose the message that you are delivering. You can choose language, behavior, attire, etc. that is likely to build bridges - or at least not likely to burn them before you have the opportunity to start the relationship.
Does this mean that you need to rethink going to the grocery store in pajama pants and a ripped t-shirt? That's up to you. Not everyone is in prime form at 6:00 a.m. - or at 11:00 p.m. But what if the future love of your life or potential employer is in that grocery store when you are? You wouldn't want your first impression to be the giant spaghetti stain or the grouchy way that you address Sally the checkout clerk, would you?
No, you don't have to embody perfection. Appropriateness and "good impression" are variable, not constant, standards. Be yourself, but pay attention to the communication you're sending in the first few seconds that other people notice you. You won't get a second shot to get it right.