Dress for Success: 3 Reasons What You Wear Can Affect Your Work

Whoever said “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” knew what they were talking about. What you wear to work really can affect your performance, here are 3 reasons why.

First Impressions Always Count

If you went to the hospital and a doctor came to treat you wearing jeans and a T-shirt, would you trust them? People generally have expectations of how you should look depending on your role. The saying “don’t trust a skinny chef” is totally applicable here; if you showed up at the office in dungarees or an apron, your smart, business head is unlikely to show through the purely creative image you’re portraying and your decisions may not be trusted as much. This is why office dress codes exist in the first place – you need to look professional.

There is, however, an exception. Research published in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that a man wearing a red tie at a black tie event was viewed as having a higher status and competence. This is because it is assumed they must be very confident and highly thought of to be able to take this social risk. So, the lesson here is: as long as you still look smart, don’t be afraid to let your personal style shine through. Be unique!

The Key is in the Confidence

Forget about everyone else for a second and think about how you feel in slacks vs. your smartest office attire. You feel better about yourself in the latter, right? It shows. Confidence commands attention, so everyone in that meeting will be listening to each and every work of the ground-breaking idea you have to convey. Wearing smart clothing has also shown to improve attention to detail. In a study amongst subjects performing tasks wearing a white lab coat vs. not wearing one, those subjects wearing coats made half as many mistakes.

Swap your comfy cardigan for a blazer or your sneakers for heels to instantly perk up your work wardrobe. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all in the outfit; failing to prepare really is preparing to fail. So don’t let it stop at your clothes, get kitted out with accessories made for organization such as a Tumi briefcase to carry your laptop and all of the essentials. You’ll feel confident in more ways than one.

Transform Your Productivity

You might think that going in to work in yoga pants and a baggy top is great because you’re comfy and, in theory, your outfit can’t distract you from the day ahead. But when you’re in your comfort zone is actually when you’re at your laziest! It’s similar to lying in bed to write a report; you know it won’t happen because you have absolutely no motivation and would honestly rather go to sleep. Do your to-do list a favor and get out of your comfort zone! Wear those pants that you can’t slouch in, sit up straight and get things done.

Now you know the real reasons behind it, take that advice and dress for the job you want!