Is there any merit behind dressing for success? image

Is there any merit behind dressing for success?

Dress for success. It’s the age-old advice for advancing your career. We’ve all heard it in some form or another, but is there any merit to this advice? Do the clothes we wear have any influence on our mental and physical performance?

Whether you realise it or not, your clothing is making a statement to the people around you, affecting how they receive you. This, in turn, changes how you feel that day. For example, you might feel more confident and powerful wearing a sharp outfit because you’ll be assured by compliments and other positive affirmations.

Not only do we react to the style of clothing, but colour has proven to show powerful effects on our moods. The colour blue, for instance, indicates freshness, peace, and loyalty, while red evokes extroversion, passion, and energy.

dress for success article

In a report by The Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, researchers studied athletes wearing red were able to lift a heavier weight and scored higher in performance to those wearing the colour blue (but it didn’t necessarily lead to victory.)

If you’re curious about the psychology behind the hues in your wardrobe you can visit this website for more information. It might help you decide on your next outfit choice for that big interview or that wage negotiation meeting.

In another study highlighted by Scientific American, researchers proved that wearing formal clothes lead to higher abstract thinking and increased creativity. In short, if you want to “be the big-person at work, suit up.” But do so appropriately. If your world doesn’t demand formality, then don’t go overboard as it can have an adverse effect.

Are you more of a jeans and sneakers type of person? Evidence shows although dressing casually is not ideal in times of negotiation, there are times where the casual look comes off as self-assured and approachable. In that same Scientific American article, researchers observed professors at a University, a setting where formal wear is expected, and found professors who dressed casually were perceived to “reflect higher levels of autonomy and control” which students found admirable.

dress for success

The point is, what you wear does matter, so it’s in your best interest to put some intention into it. Notice how people react to you when you wear certain colours or styles. On those reactions and your career aspirations, you can make informed decisions about how you want to package yourself as a professional brand.

Tips on how to dress sharper:

  • Wearing a suit might come across too strong in a casually dressed office, but you can focus on the fit of your clothing. Opt for something sleek and fitted, but not too tight.
  • Wear clothes made from high-quality materials like cashmere, wool, or 100% cotton.
  • The right shoes can make all the difference. Invest in a great pair of shoes that will add some versatility to your wardrobe.
  • Accessories: a classic timepiece or tasteful jewellery can polish any outfit
  • Iron your clothes! Don’t even think of leaving the house in wrinkled clothes.
  • Get rid of worn-out clothing. I’m sure you’ve had your great moments with your once black dress. It’s time to let go because it’s best for the both of you.
  • Ignore fashion trends and learn what cuts and styles work for you.


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