You are what you wear, or are you?
There is numerous research that suggests being well dressed affects personal productivity and achievement.
“When you need to think creatively, about the bigger picture, that’s when dressing formally will increase your productivity,” says Michael L. Slepian, a postdoctoral research scholar and adjunct assistant professor at Columbia Business School. “People who wear that kind of clothing feel more powerful,” he says. “When you feel more powerful, you don’t have to focus on the details.”
Dressing the part for your role, is imperative to communicating the impression of who you are and who you want to become. Your clothes should be an extension of your personality, your authentic self.
Taking care of your appearance and dressing well has the potential to:
- Make you feel great – build self-esteem
- Give the message of credibility
- Market your brand
- Draw the right kind of attention
- Keep you motivated as you feel good
- Demonstrate your attention to detail
- Give you a competitive edge
First impressions really do count, so how do you best present yourself for success?
What do you want your clothes to say about you?
It’s important to define what you want your clothes to say about you as this is part of your professional branding. Make sure the message from what you wear reflects your values and your vision.
Here are some basics to be mindful of:
- Choose clothes that fit you well
- Ensure they are maintained; clean and ironed
- Wear appropriate shoes
- Don’t overdo make-up
- Know the organisation’s dress culture
- Don’t show too much flesh
Which colours suit you best?
The right colours can make your eyes and complexion glow giving you a brightness. With the wrong colours can make you look drained.
If you don’t know, think of the colours that make you smile, ask your family and friends which colours you look best in. Hold different colours against you in front of a mirror, if it’s the right colour your eyes should light up and your skin completion should be vibrant.
Consider your body shape
We are all different shapes and sizes and knowing your shape helps you to work out what proportions your body needs to adjust to look your best.
Here are some body shapes.
Female body shapes
Male body shapes
Observe your body shape in front of a long mirror. It’s best to do this naked. If you are unsure, take a look at the image of different shapes. Ask family or friends if you’re still unsure.
Each shape has characteristics that may make you feel self-conscious and lead to low self-esteem. An example is the pear shape, which holds more weight around the hips. Also, there are positives which you might want to accentuate, like a small waist. Knowing this information helps you to camouflage problem areas that give you low self-esteem to bring you a balanced appearance.
What is your style personality?
It can take time to determine what your clothing personality or style is, so just have fun whilst experimenting. A good way to work this out is to identify who your style icons are. Who do you look at and often think that you like what they wear?
Once you have identified a few, do an internet search on their style personality. It’s most likely to be yours to, or the one you want.
- What do you have in your wardrobe that reflects this style?
- What items are missing?
- What do you need to get rid of (you generally don’t wear these items very much)?
If you feel that some of this is beyond you, ask for help. I’ve worked with an image consultant who taught me style personality, colours, wardrobe sorting and how to shop. My guru was the lovely Jane Sumner at Image Matters.
Just remember, it’s about making sure you are your best self every day, that means being comfortable. There’s nothing worse than being in an outfit that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Be mindful of the occasion and what’s suitable – overdressed vs underdressed scenario.
- Consider how comfortable you are with what your outfit does or doesn’t cover before you walk out the door.
- You should always feel confident in the way you’re dressed.
It really does bring a sense of confidence, so just enjoy the process!
If you’d like a consultation about your professional branding please contact me
For fourteen years Danielle worked in the male dominated industry of Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Danielle’s work took her not only to all corners of the UK, but onto European and International destinations with prestigious brands such as Coca Cola, Tesco, Oxford University Press, Stanley Black & Decker and Panasonic. She achieved her ambition to one day have a global remit.
Throughout her career she has been dedicated to personal development and growth. A particular triumph was growing into her own authentic confident version of herself which catapulted her to win two industry accolades in 2013, one of which was the Everywoman DHL Award for Innovation and Sustainability.
Danielle believes that if we are growing, life will present challenges and obstacles, but it’s up to you if you accept them. Before acceptance there is fear. This will always be there. It’s the feeling of the impossible task, that you’re not good enough or that you will fail. To know the outcome, you have to take action and try.
This ethos lives in Danielle’s work as a confidence coach, trainer and author. Danielle has captured her knowledge and experience on this subject in her book Confidence through Courage. Using her valuable experience as a success in her industry, she helps others to push themselves over the boundaries of fear to find the inner confidence to achieve personal and professional success. Danielle inspires people to change and achieve through learning confidence!