Even if you work from home or have a career that doesn’t require you to dress up, it’s a good idea to dress professionally. Dressing up has unfortunately fallen out of fashion in recent years. More businesses are transitioning to casual environments, and fewer people are taking pride in how they dress. But the benefits of dressing up go far beyond simply pleasing your employer, and it’s important that you take those benefits seriously.
The Benefits of Dressing Up
These are just some of the ways that dressing up can help you improve your life:
- Feel more confident. First, dressing up will make you feel more confident. You’ll look at yourself in the mirror and feel better about the image you present—and if your clothes fit properly, you’ll carry yourself with more confidence as well. Increased confidence comes with its own set of benefits; you’ll be more assertive in meetings, you’ll be seen as more likeable, and you’ll have a higher sense of self-esteem and self-worth as well.
- Make a better first impression. No matter what you’re doing, it’s important to make a good first impression. You could be walking into an important pitch with investors, or simply networking with new people at a local bar. Wherever you are, dressing up will help you make a more powerful first impression on the new people you meet.
- Be taken seriously. Dressing up will make you be taken more seriously, which can help you in a number of situations. In a workplace environment, this can make your ideas seem more valuable or more important. In a public environment, your questions, compliments, and concerns will be more seriously regarded—and you’ll have a much better chance of resolving conflicts successfully.
- Be memorable (for the right reasons). Dressing well can help you become more memorable. The people you meet will be far more likely to remember your name and face, and associate you with positive memories. If you dress sloppy or too casually, they’ll also remember you—but for all the wrong reasons.
- Resonate leadership. Dressing up makes you seem like a leader. It can make other people disproportionately value your insights, and unconsciously follow your lead. This is especially important if you’re trying to coordinate groups of people.
- Work more productively. Studies suggest that dressing up can help you work more productively as well—which means it’s important to dress up even when nobody else is looking. There are many potential reasons for this. Dressing up could be an unconscious cue that gets you ready to be in “work mode,” or it could just be an important ritual that sets the tone for the rest of your day.
- Stay disciplined. It’s possible that dressing up consistently can help you create a disciplined, focused mindset that can help you in other areas of your life. Spending time every morning choosing the right outfit and polishing your image can build good habits and greater focus, which you can use to put energy into your other goals.
- Beat the competition. In many areas of life, you’re going to face stiff competition. You’ll be dealing with other candidates in job interviews, other entrepreneurs when pitching to investors, and other suitors when looking for a romantic partner. Dressing up is an easy way to make you more competitive—it’s an edge that can help you be seen as the best.
- Enjoy choosing your outfit. The more time you spend dressing up and expanding your wardrobe, the more pride you’ll take in choosing your own outfit. Fashion could easily turn into an enjoyable hobby for you, and you might relish in the opportunity to pick out a new outfit every day. If you’re already interested in fashion, this should be a no-brainer.
If you’re not used to dressing up, or if you don’t have much of a wardrobe, don’t worry. It’s pretty easy to get started. Start reading fashion blogs to get a sense for how to dress, and look for photos and real-life examples of looks you might want to emulate; this is a great way to define your style initially.
From there, you can start buying pieces to add to your wardrobe. If you’re on a budget, consider shopping at a thrift store. Otherwise, go with a brand that you trust. Purchase the highest quality you can reasonably afford, and splurge on some extra tailoring; a good fit can instantly make you look more attractive and more professional.
After picking up a few new pieces of dress attire and dressing up more consistently, you’ll feel much better about yourself—and you’ll start making a much better impression. It won’t take you long to feel all the extra benefits that dressing up can bring to your life.