Your career should be aspirational, never complacent, and so should your clothes. We’ve all heard dress for success, and we’ve all shrugged it off as some superficial silly nonsense, especially if you are a manly man, and wearing slouchy jeans that don’t fit somehow proves you’re masculine enough not to care.
This attitude is changing, thank god. In the cutthroat professional world, even if you’re not client facing, never underestimate the power of a well tailored sports jacket, or a nice pair of dress shoes.
As a woman, I learned my lesson at a Dress for Success event at Boston University during my junior year. Our speaker made quite an entrance; you could hear each click of her Christian Louboutins, as she walked head up towards the stage. Just as you were admiring the red patent, you looked up and realized she was also draped in luxurious black fur. At first glance, I thought she looked quite ridiculous.
As we stared, she looked around the room slowly and silently. When she finally spoke, she asked 2 girls to stand up. Then, to a curious audience, she asks: which one of these young ladies would you hire based on what they are currently wearing?
- Girl 1 was wearing a simple white button down shirt, straight-leg khaki slacks and round-toe brown boots. Her curly hair was loose and flowing.
- Girl 2 wore a tight fitting, well tailored black suit jacket and pencil skirt with matching shiny, patent black pumps. She had her hair tied up in a simple, sophisticated bun.
The room got quiet, since CLEARLY girl 2 looked smarter, more professional, and well, more successful. But no one wanted to admit, that judging purely from appearance, there was a clear winner.
Our speaker ended our uncomfortable silence by stating, firmly, but not unkindly, “The young lady on the left(Girl 1), would be mistaken as an intern. The young lady on my right(2), looks like she already landed the corner office. “
REMEMBER THAT VISUAL PERCEPTION MATTERS. Dress for the career you want, not necessarily the one you have. And personal hygiene helps.
So it’s not all in a days work… sometimes it just takes one Blink.
P.S. Here’s some inspiration from pinterest