When it comes to professional attire, there’s that ubiquitous phrase we hear all the time about dressing for the job you want, not the job you have, but is it still relevant today or just an old out-moded cliché?
It may seem superficial, to some, but clothing undoubtedly makes a statement about who you are and where you want to go.
In our experience, it’s only the guys who feel insecure that worry about over-dressing. It’s not something the confident gent would even think about.
The first caveat, of course, is that in modern commerce there is a whole spectrum of dress code formality and levels of acceptability for professional attire, so you will need to adapt our advice to sit in context with your working environment and executive style.
If your office is particularly hip or anti-corporate, with everyone sporting jeans, cargos or sweats, it probably won’t do you any good to turn up in a three-piece suit. But equally, you don’t want to blend in so far that you become invisible – assess the dress code – dial it up a little and add your own personality to the mix to stand out for all the right reasons.
However formal or casual your workplace is, it’s probably safest to aim somewhere north of the middle ground.
All that said, ours is a formal-wear business, so you’ll forgive us for focusing our attention on the sharper end of professional attire.
Wherever you pitch your professional style we believe you should always strive to be one of the best-dressed men in the room and you’ll never feel subordinate.
Proof of Professional Attire Influence
Turns out it’s not just our humble opinion – it does matter what you wear to work – ALWAYS.
A number of independent studies have actually proven that dressing well can increase your income! But that aside, we believe it is critically important to your self-respect, confidence and composure as a business professional.
And rightly or wrongly, people do make snap judgments about your professional capabilities based on what you’re wearing.
I think we can all accept that clothing can dramatically affect the first impression you make, but it’s also really important to ensure you are representing your title and your company in a positive manner on a daily basis. This is what will get you noticed and when the boss is selecting who to represent the company on that business trip or to make that important presentation, the confident, dapper guy that makes the company look good will be the one he chooses.
A 2014 Yale study, revealed that men who wear suits were actually better at negotiating than those wearing casual or street clothes, with the more casually dressed participants backing down more quickly and being taken less seriously than their suited-up counterparts.
In another study, published in 2016, men wearing more formal office clothes were shown to exhibit stronger leadership skills than those who were dressed casually. The formally dressed participants were better at abstract and strategic thinking, while the less dressed-up guys tended to toil away in the detail.
Popular columnist, Mafioso quotes, “Regardless of what you’ve done in the past, how much money you have in your bank account, how famous you are, or how fat you’ve become, a man in a well-tailored suit will always get treated better than some salame off the street.”
We’d have to agree.
H+CO TIPS TO CRAFT YOUR NEW PROFESSIONAL STYLE
If you’ve fallen into a style rut at work, make 2018 the year you change everyone’s perceptions and make a big impression.
Gently Does It
The first rule of thumb when changing your images is to take it slowly. Making a dramatic overnight transformation will only provoke sarcasm, ribbing, and attract attention for the wrong reasons, causing people to wonder what you’re up to.
Choose your ultimate style, by all means, then work up to the full effect gradually – that way, people will forget how you used to look and assume you’ve always been a snappy dresser.
Invest in Yourself
Spend wisely, investing in pieces that will last you for years to come, like a beautiful topcoat, a finely tailored suit, and the best dress shoes you can possibly afford. (Some would say this is your most important accessory, as well-maintained, highly polished shoes convey your diligence and attention to detail).
With all sartorial purchases, go for the best quality you can afford, but make sure you understand the difference between dapper and flashy. Don’t be the outlandish, showy guy, trying too hard to impress – go instead for understated elegance and an assured sense of style.
Dive into the Detail
Dressing ‘like a boss’ doesn’t mean dressing ‘like THE boss’ – that will just come across as creepy.
What it does mean is wearing your professional attire with confidence – and looking refined, dapper and razor-sharp.
It’s the details in your dressing that make the difference and help define your ‘personal brand’, so be sure to pay close attention to the cut and fit of your suit, the sharpness of your shirt, the style and coordination of your accessories, and the condition of your shoes.
Buying two pairs of pants with every suit will keep it looking sharper for longer (read our blog on this topic for more detail and how you can order replacement pants to give your suit a new lease of life).
However well dressed you are if your accessories look shabby, the whole image is lost.
Even external accessories, like your brief case, journal, pen, etc. give subliminal clues about your personality and professionalism, so think about your whole persona and not just what you are physically wearing.
And don’t let your image down with poor grooming – always keep your hair well trimmed and styled, your facial hair in check, and your hands well manicured.
Wear it with Humility
So you’ve nailed your new look and you’ve never looked sharper in your life. It will no doubt have boosted your confidence no end, but don’t let it go to your head. Never brag about your clothes or how you look and accept compliments with modesty. No one likes a show-off.
Keep it Comfortable
When you buy a suit you must remember that it should be very comfortable. Don’t imagine if there’s something that doesn’t feel quite right that it will ease up with wear or you will stop noticing that part that’s a bit too tight or doesn’t quite sit right on your body – it will only get worse and demand your attention when you should be focusing on more important things.
You should be able to sit, stand and walk in your suit with ease, and it should feel absolutely perfect. Of course it’s preferable to have your suit tailor made to ensure it fits your body like a second skin.
It’s no good creating a splash with your new image, only to drop the ball when you’re not quite in the mood or having an off day.
Make sure you look your best every single day – as if you were preparing for an interview – that way, you’ll feel ready to take advantage of whatever opportunity comes your way, whenever it happens to float by.
So now you are armed with a fully-loaded artillery of sartorial style advice for the ultimate in professional attire, start planning your new look today, and dress your way to the top of the corporate ladder.