Dressing for more than success

Looks matter; whether we like it or not.

How we choose to express ourselves through our personal style is important and can even lend a professional advantage.

As You Are

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a highly successful novelist and public speaker, recently wrote an article for Elle magazine entitled “Why Can’t a Smart Woman Love Fashion?” She spent years dressing down to try and please others, but found that incorporating her own personal style in her outfits helped her career and confidence. The notion that you can’t love fashion and also be highly intelligent has become obsolete, as more and more successful people have proved that you can never be overdressed or overeducated.

Open doors for yourself

Forbes.com released a study in 2013 called “Can Dressing Well Increase Your Income in 2013?” that showed dressing well can increase your income, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. When you dress to impress, you create opportunities and open doors for yourself. You never know who you’ll meet or run into, and I’m sure most everyone would want to look their best for a date with destiny.

No need to sacrifice comfort

Wearing nice clothes doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be uncomfortable. It’s very possible to look and feel great at the same time, and even simplicity can look elegant and effortless. Looking put-together can, and should, be comfortable and should suit you personally. I, too, appreciate my collection of overly large T-shirts, but I also believe that there is a time and place for such apparel, and they should be worn sparingly.

Stand out

When the time comes to venture out into the “real world” (aka life after college), there will most likely be many other similar applicants competing for the same job. This is when your appearance in an interview and the rest of your career can either help differentiate yourself from the crowd, or group you in with the rest. Employers will notice and appreciate the extra effort you’ve put in, and it’ll show how serious you are about the job. Plus, it’s a great way to express your individuality.

Boost your self-confidence and performance

More often than not, we feel most confident when we’re wearing an outfit that we feel accentuates our physiques. People tend to perform better when they look fairly put together, so when you throw on sweatpants and a T-shirt because you think staying up all night gives you the right to do so, chances are you’ll spend the rest of the day in that same lethargic state of mind. Researchers at Northwestern University found that participants who wore more professional clothing than ones who dressed casually performed better on tests and had improved posture as well as self-confidence. Spending just a few extra minutes in the morning putting on a well-thought-out outfit has been proven to wake your brain up and make you feel more confident throughout the day.