HOW TO | Dress For Success

Dress better, work better? The hotly debated sartorial question that divides even the most experienced fashion jurists. But a number of recent studies suggest that dressing up for work in a suit or blazer could do wonders for an employee’s productivity, whether going into a negotiation, making a sales call or even participating in a video conference with business associates. Read ahead on how you can dress for success.

Recent Studies:

Studies conducted through the Yale School of Business offer indications that wearing nicer clothes may raise one’s confidence level, affect how others perceive the wearer, and in some cases even boost the level of one’s abstract thinking, the type in which leaders and executives engage. Consequently, in competitive, winner-take-all situations, wearing more formal attire can send others a signal about you being confident and successful. On the other hand, those more casually dressed tend to back down more easily. The ones in formal attire become aware of the respect they are receiving and become more forceful as well.

Power of the Pressed:

Dressing formally also increases your productivity and ability to think creatively, says Michael L. Slepian, a postdoctoral research scholar and adjunct assistant professor at Columbia Business School. “People who wear that kind of clothing feel more powerful,” he says. “When you feel more powerful, you don’t have to focus on the details.” What kinds of clothes qualify as formal or higher-status dress, of course, can depend on the industry or whom you talk to. Take it up a notch, but not such a big notch that you’re going to make everyone else in the office uncomfortable.

Tailored Solutions:

For men, a full suit, sport coat, or even a tie can put you in a more professional mind-set. If wearing a suit will come off too strong, focus on fit (sleek and close but not tight) and quality (good cashmere, fine wools or 100% cotton). Wearing a high-quality dress shoe or nice watch can do the trick as well.