Maximize your image at work with your wardrobe.
Have you ever met someone who just exudes confidence and when they speak, their ideas seem compelling and their words inspire action? Their personal demeanor comes across as someone in charge, someone powerful. When they converse with others, they actively listen to the person they’re talking to so that at the end of the interaction, that person feels heard and understood. Even if they are being corrected or reprimanded.
Those kind of people just look together, and have the kind of charisma leaders are made of.
This post isn’t about developing leadership skills, that’s a conversation for another time. Let’s talk instead about the signals you’re giving when you’re in the workplace. And those signals start with your appearance, your personal image.
People Are Looking For Someone To Lead Them
There have been numerous social experiments done where it’s been shown that a person who is dressed well is treated better by strangers in public settings. And not just treated better, but treated as an authority figure, even if they are not.
In one experiment in particular, the researchers sent someone wearing dirty old work clothes to a really busy street corner, and he jay-walked across street while the don’t walk signal was lit. No one followed him.
Later they had someone in a business suit (to signal higher social status) on the same street corner, and when that person illegally jay-walked across the street, many pedestrians followed, even though the same don’t cross light was still lit. They repeated the experiment over and over, with the same results every time.
People in our society are generally conditioned to give authority to those wearing a uniform. In the corporate world there is a corporate uniform, and if you pay attention, the people in charge are usually setting the tone. It doesn’t necessarily mean being the best dressed, though that’s often the case. But if you look at leaders like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerburg, their casual attire is a statement in and of itself that says trendsetter, I am here to get the job done. Of course, those guys were founders of their respective companies, and most of us can’t get away with pushing the dress code that far.
Creating Your Own Powerful Look
You don’t want to look clueless, but you do want to set yourself apart while staying within your company’s dress code. You aren’t trying to win a fashion contest at work, but you want to look sharp. Someone who’s aware of the latest style trends and can morph that into a classic power look. Think of it this way. If you were ever in a large room full of strangers and people looked around to see who was in charge, your look and image would say, I am.
You want to send power signals with your clothing choices. You want to know that you look good, that your clothes fit well, and the color choices not only suit you, but signal confidence and power.
When you know you’re put together and your outfit is on point, you look and feel like someone who’s confident and in control. Others are much more likely to value your ideas and input when you look like leadership material.
Accessories And Fit
Even accessories matter. They don’t have to be over the top; in fact they can even be minimalistic. But having unique additions to your look, like a quality handbag or an interesting watch, signal that you pay attention to details.
Having clothes that fit properly is also important. It can make the difference between looking like you’re wearing a costume or a professional in a tailored uniform. You may find a certain brand of clothes that just ‘fits’ your body, and you stay with them for years. But don’t be afraid to visit a tailor. A few dollars at the tailor can often turn a so-so outfit into the perfect look for you.
Again, you want to be consistently sending power signals with your look. When you get it right, it will look effortless. And powerful. Which is what you are.
You go girl!!