Clothes do not make the man; that much we know. Still, the power of proper presentation is something that can’t be denied. When we get up in the morning to get ready to conquer or just survive another day chasing our career goal, we simply have to look the part. Yes, the first saying is true, but so is the other – dress for the job you want, not the one you have.
Before we even open our mouths, before we even make an unconscious gesture, our clothes have already told volumes of our level of professionalism, seriousness and commitment to the job. Your appearance makes an impact, make no mistake about it, so let’s dig deeper and uncover just in how many ways it does so. By the end, you will not only gain insight into the power of style, but will also learn how to cultivate a great one.
According to a study called Gender and the Returns to Attractiveness, there is a strong correlation attractiveness and potential income. The one thing this study unveiled is that attractive individuals earn 20 percent more that what those referred to as ‘averagely attractive. This may sound superficial, and harsh even, but there is an upside.
The income gap is one that can be reduced by something called ‘beauty premium’ which in essence means that we can add attractiveness points by acts of grooming. The plus side here is that your innate beauty doesn’t play as big of a role in your professional success as the one achieved by grooming – dressing well and appropriate and putting the effort in the hair and makeup department. You definitely don’t have to look like a supermodel or chase some impossible beauty standard – you simply have to show you care about your appearance.
There is another, more encouraging and less unfair-seeming study that will definitely persuade you into upgrading your professional look. This one is called Enclothed Cognition, and it states that the clothes we wear have an enormous impact on our psychological process, confidence in our abilities and overall performance in our respective fields.
The research concluded that not does appropriate attire have an impact on how your professional abilities are judged, but it affects self-perception. When you’re ‘dressed the part’ you are more likely to ‘play the part’ better, be more focused, productive and driven. We all have that ‘power uniform’ that helps us get ‘character’, the key is just finding yours.
Let’s start from the bottom. A quality bag is a power-accessory that truly tells a story, so a great one is always a good choice. This handbag guide describes different handbag styles and explains how body type and handbag size, shape and length can be used to accentuate your business style. Also, it’s nice to know how to buy bags that will fit your lifestyle.
The second is, of course, your choice of footwear. No, you don’t have to be in painful sky-high heels, there are amazing flats that send the same message and even look better with certain outfits. Of course, classic pumps will definitely give you not only height, but a confidence boost as well, but their absence won’t be detrimental to your appearance. Stick to minimal amounts of jewelry – this incidentally works out great in every sense, as chunky statement pieces are out, and subtle and minimal jewelry is in. You want to ooze simplicity and chic, and this will get you there.
In terms of clothes, the first thing that matters is that they are well-tailored, pressed, and fit like a glove. Once you have these three elements nailed down, there is plenty of wiggle room in terms of your actual attire choices. You could embrace the return of the powersuit, which such designers as Stella McCartney, along with a few others, has brought back, and it’s more stylish than ever.
Mid skirts and white shirt are always an unmistakable choice, and on the days when you’re in the mood for something a tad more casual, a pair of culottes with a crew sweater will help you achieve the business casual goals. We’ve saved the best for last – power red. Red is finally reclaiming its place under the spotlight, and as it’s proven to be one of the most powerful colors there is, turn to a red sheath dress or even an entire suit. It may come off as a tad intimidating, but there are days when that’s the precise effect you want to make.
Make if your goal to steer clear of baggy clothes, clothes that aren’t your size and overly busy patterns. A bold murky floral dress is a definite yes, but mixing and matching of several over-the-top patterns is a no. Stay with stripes, plaid and similar subtle yet effective patterns, and there is no chance of doing it wrong.