What if someone told you the color of your dress at work could change the way people perceive you? And the color of your tie? Shoes? Apparently, they all matter! As if we weren’t stressed about our fashion choices already.
With so many new designers entering the fashion industry, it has become as hard as ever to make the right fashion choices. Most recently, attention has come to the professional clothes people choose for their jobs.
John Spier, a banker from Pennsylvania, finally brought attention to the loose and striped suits of bankers. His irritation was made clear when he said he was tired of looking – like he put it himself – like a ‘stuffy banker’.
Spier was tired of his plain office outfits and wanted a change
This was a brilliant opportunity for famous corporate stylist Toi Sweeney, who most likely shared the hope of doing a fashion makeover on a banker with many of his colleagues. It is certainly not often these financial statement obsessed professionals would require this kind of advice.
Sweeney did what most stylists we’ve seen on TV do – threw all of Spier’s wardrobe in the garbage. He was aiming for a more dapper style, with appropriately fitting suits and warmer tones for his ties.
Spier did make one thing clear, and that was that he wanted to preserve his professional look. Fashion can only become part of the banking culture to some extent after all.
Spier’s new look had seemed to make him a lot more confident, as this makeover instilled in him a penchant for colorful ties and more attention to how he paired his shirts and suits.
All in all, Spier got a second chance at making a first impression as a lot of his colleagues noticed the change but accepted it with positive feedback.
Sweeney is a favorite among corporate leaders when it comes to rebranding oneself through their fashion choices. She put it pretty accurately by saying “we are all products and your personal brand steps through the door before you do”.
What should I wear to portray my personality best?
She supported her statement by mentioning research conducted by Princeton University, which studied attractiveness and the impact of the color of our clothes. When we lay our eyes on a person, within a tenth of a second our brain makes the decision whether they are attractive and trustworthy.
As for the color aspect, stylist Sweeney gives the example of color red, which she says portrays confidence and successful leadership abilities. On the other hand, cooler tones like blue give vibes of trust and peacemaking.
While a lot of us settle for black suits, skirts or other clothing items, Sweeney recommends we also add some color to the mix. This is done for purposes of making yourself more memorable -standing out. Items she suggested were colorful handbags for women and bright suit pocket handkerchief for men.
Is What I’m Wearing Affecting How I Feel About Myself?
More studies have gone to support such claims. The European Journal of Social Psychology posted a report which indicated that people who wore red more often, also were more confident about their physical looks as opposed to those who wore blue.
In addition, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, participants were given white coats to wear and were told they belong to three different kinds of people. One group were told they belong to doctors, and subsequently, they performed better on tests, as opposed to the group that was told they’re just casual clothes. The first group performed even better than another group, who was told the coats belong to artists.
Kim Winser, CEO of a luxurious fashion label for women, is famous for her professional advice on office wear. She validates Sweeney’s points about wearing color but puts an emphasis that we must keep looking as presentable and smart as the environment requires us to.
Her greatest tip is that people should also particularly ensure they have clean and polished shoes.
All these fashion rules and differences in opinion may be just a tad tiring! Professionals also remind us that we must remember the company profile and our position within the company too.
We cant be dressing the same items for a start-up company in Europe, as we are for a corporate law firm in the U.S. Let your fashion be guided intuitively while following the rules that you think matter to you.