How do you want the world to see you? Better yet, how do you want to see yourself? How we present ourselves through our wardrobe and style can easily emulate a message to the people around us. It can say “I am a force to be reckoned with” just as easily as “I don’t even take myself seriously”. The image you choose to portray through your wardrobe can determine your success in your career and life.
Although many will try to argue that merit and intelligence are more valuable than appearance, this isn’t the whole truth. While intelligence in your field or industry is essential, the way your dress is how you make your first impression with anyone. People use their sight to make their first judgments, and your wardrobe affects how you are perceived.
Having a keen fashion sense isn’t necessarily a requirement to using your wardrobe to send a message. There are basic tips and tricks to building a powerful wardrobe to make you into a creative visionary, influential leader, or dutiful team member.
Think About the Occasion
When deciding what to wear for that day or event, think about what the occasion is and who might be there. There is a significant difference between dressing for an interview than dressing for your average workday. Or going to a professional lunch date versus a lunch date or even having brunch with girlfriends. These are all separate occasions that call for different styles and clothing options. Consider who you are, where you’re going, what you’ll be doing, who will be there and for what occasion.
However, it’s also important to think about the people you’ll be meeting with during certain occasions. If your client or boss chooses to dress more casually with jeans and a t-shirt, consider being more relaxed with your wardrobe and choose items like a nice blazer with slacks or jeans. By dressing for the occasion, you send a message you need to be taken seriously at all times.
Clothing Affects Both Feeling and Perception
The way you dress affects how others perceive you and how you feel about yourself. Think of it this way: when you wear your favorite shirt or blouse, then you already start off by feeling good about yourself and setting yourself up to have a great day. Your wardrobe can easily make you feel creative, professional, relaxed, or productive. The way you dress is sending a message to yourself.
If you’re looking to feel more creative, opt for an outfit that is a blank canvas. Find an outfit that has a looser silhouette with breathable materials. You could also opt for less colorful clothing, but make your wardrobe pop with accessories like unique jewelry, eye-catching socks, or any other statement piece you like. By mimicking a blank canvas with your clothing, it gives you the chance to get more creative with accessories or personalizations.
When it’s time to mean business and look professional, this, of course, calls for entirely different attire. Business attire calls for a balance between feeling put-together but not too stiff. Find outfits free of wrinkles and tailored, collared, tucked in, or buttoned up. If you want to feel and look professional, choose a wardrobe like a tweed fringe dress with a blazer, nice shoes, and a statement necklace.
Take Your Time
Be intentional about getting dressed. Before throwing on an outfit you think looks professional or casual enough and then heading out the door, take the time to assess what you’re wearing. Think about how you feel in it and how others will perceive you. Does the clothing fit your shape properly? Do the colors look great on you? Do you feel amazing and confident? While this may seem like a waste of time or overkill to some people, it can save you from looking unprofessional and not being taken seriously at your job or special event.
Try planning out your wardrobe the day before. Find what makes you feel good, and choose clothing that demands power. Use your wardrobe to define your image and send a message you want everyone to see.