Dressing well is your most powerful non verbal communication tool.
Your clothing communicates — and it can have a serious effect on your ability to achieve success.
It is important to remember that what you wear doesn’t define who you are as a person, however, fair or unfair, people judge us by the way we look and that includes the way we dress. Especially in the workplace, clothing significantly influences how others perceive you and how they respond towards you.
Research shows that your appearance strongly influences other people’s perception of your financial success, authority, trustworthiness, intelligence, and suitability for hire or promotion. And, because perception is often reality, what you wear not only communicates who you are in the minds of others, but also influences your level of career advancement.
It turns out “dress for success” is much more than just a catchy motto.
Studies have shown that wearing nice clothes in the office can affect the way people perceive you, how confident you’re feeling, and even how you’re able to think abstractly.
According to Business Insider, “a study completed at Yale in 2014 that used 128 men between the ages of 18 and 32, researchers had participants partake in mock negotiations of buying and selling.
Those dressed poorly (in sweatpants and plastic sandals) averaged a theoretical profit of $680,000, while the group dressed in suits amassed an average profit of $2.1 million. The group dressed neutrally averaged a $1.58 million profit.
According to a co-author of the study, this shows that the poorly dressed participants would often defer to the suited ones, and these suited participants could sense this heightened respect, backing down less than they might have otherwise.”
In fashion there are rules that have been established throughtout time that tell us how to dress properly.
“Rules are important. Not because they can’t be broken, but because breaking should mean something.” – Steven Giles
Awareness of, rather than ignorance of the rules, is the distinguishing characteristic of dressing well.
There is a social contract by which we all should abide. These are not laws we are obliged to follow to avoid punishment, but rules for living that ensure a better quality of life for all in general.“The same is true of the way we dress,” says Steven Giles. “The clothes you choose to wear communicate with the world around you. They tell people to take you seriously. Or they tell them you can be ignored.” Being well-dressed doesn’t make you an expert on political matters or transform you into an adept conversationalist, but it’s not surprising that the people we listen to most often are the ones with enough sense of self and decorum to dress accordingly.
The rules are not meant to be lecturing or condescending. Instead, these are guidelines we share freely so that more can be included in our world. Great clothing is a celebration. Understand and observe the rules and you will find that getting dressed, going out, meeting friends, signing a contract–all these things become a little more joyful.
To help you understand and know the rules we will be posting one of the following rules each month.
- Awareness of, rather than ignorance of the rules is the distinguishing characteristic of dressing well
- Dressing well is your most powerful non verbal communication tool
- Dressing well is, in part, developing a personal style
- Never underestimate the power of what you wear
- Acquire a solid foundation of understanding and essential selections
- Fashion is ever changing… acquire a timeless style. Only the classics will do.
- Quantity follows quality
- Quantify to ensure value…six selections, five workdays and a cleaning day.
- Spring clothing in the spring, fall clothing in the fall balanced with year round weights
- Fit and tailoring is everything
- Cleaned and pressed always
- Overdress rather than under dress
- Understatement is best
- Suits before jackets
- Clothing colors of navy and gray, darker rather than lighter, solids rather than patterns
- White ground dress shirts only, no button downs
- Learn to tie necktie correctly…preferably a four-n-hand knot
- Learn to tie a bow tie…formal functions happen
- Own a tux…black tie means black tie
- Jackets (sport coats) should look like a sport coat not a suit coat…never double a suit jacket as a sport coat
- Pleated trousers for dress…more formal, elegant and comfortable
- Flat front trouser for dressed down…a sporting heritage
- Without a tie, wear a pocket square…detail matters
- Knee length sox for dress…color match your trouser or your shoe, black is not a default color
- When dressed down…preferably lighter colored sox rather than dark, never black
- Black shoes for formal and those more serious endeavors
- Brown shoes for the best dressed
- You do not have to wear tie shoes, slippers preferred