If you search “dress for success” on Amazon you’ll get 613 results. It’s not a new idea that what you wear to work can benefit your career and wellbeing, but it’s still not something many of us are truly mindful of. Wearing clothes you feel confident and polished in at work can affect your posture, your mental wellbeing and how others interact with you.
Dressing for success isn’t just vanity, there is a science to the importance of dressing professionally and how successful you are at work, or at a job interview.
To prove the scientific importance of dressing well, one study showed over 300 men and women a series of images of two people for just 3 seconds. They were then asked to make a snap judgment. The only difference in the pictures was that one set of pictures had a man in a tailored suit, the other was a similar high street bought suit. The man in the tailored suit was rated as more confident and successful.
Dress for success: 3 ways clothes can benefit your career
1. Increased confidence
Ever heard of the term embodied cognition? No, neither did we. Embodied cognition is the thought that what we wear affects your thoughts and processes.
Several studies have been done on this, revolving around assigning groups to wear a lab coat and perform tasks, and a control group who did the same tasks wearing regular clothes. Those with the lab coats performed better each time. What you wear can influence how you behave so if you have an important meeting suit up or dress smart (wearing black is always a safe option) and give yourself the best chance of performing well.
2. Career progression
We’re hard wired to perceive those who are well dressed and groomed as important and more put together. These people appear more confident, successful and capable.
Again, many studies have been done on this – in one study a photo of a man in a tailored suit versus the same man in a similar high street suit were shown to over 300 people. The man in the tailored suit was perceived as more confident, successful and flexible. Whether conscious or unconscious our clothing can signify are capabilities so consider what you wear to work each day.
3. Enhance your productivity
Have you ever tried to work at home while wearing your pyjamas or tracksuit bottoms? What we wear can affect how we perform.
If you have the freedom to wear whatever you like to the office, pay attention to how you feel when dressed-down vs. dressed-up, and use this to determine what to wear to achieve maximum productivity. Some of us perform just as well dressed down, whereas others react well to “dressing the part.”
Fashion and style are often seen as frivolous or unimportant, but what we wear is an expression of who we are and influences how we behave and how we are treated. Dressing is an individual thing. What makes one person feel put together and smart could make another feel uncomfortable and staid. Be mindful of what you choose to wear to work, try out different styles and wear the clothes that make you feel most confident.
Monitor the effect on your wellness and productivity, you could be pleasantly surprised at how “dressing for success” really can improve your confidence at work and daily productivity.