Dressing for Success: How Your Work Attire Can Affect Your Performance

While it’s common knowledge that what you wear can impact how you are perceived as a professional, not everyone knows your work attire can also affect your performance. The effect of selecting certain kinds of clothing can be both psychological and physiological for the wearer as well as those who encounter them.

If you want to reach greater heights, understanding your attire can make a difference in how you perform is important. Here’s what you need to know about dressing for success.

Choosing Attire to Bolster Yourself

The clothing you choose can impact how you perceive yourself. For example, wearing professional attire, like a suit, may make you feel more confident, affecting your ability to make decisions or think strategically. Some researchers believe that certain outfits make you feel more powerful, impacting your overall performance.

While some studies focus on suits, any attire that makes you feel confident and competent can have a positive impact. Usually, it isn’t just about style, as comfort also plays a role. Clothing that doesn’t fit properly can make you feel self-conscious while attire that restricts your movement can leave you frustrated.

Color can also have an impact on how you feel. Some studies suggest red makes a person feel more powerful, and that can improve confidence. However, opting for your favorite colors may also give you a psychological boost if they help you view yourself in a positive light.

Your Attire and Perception

Even though most people understand your clothing choices impact how others view you, not everyone realizes their perceptions can impact your performance. For instance, if you are dressed casually during a negotiation, your counterpart may not take you as seriously. This could make it harder to secure a solid deal, ultimately affecting your performance in that scenario.

Deviating slightly from what is expected can also potentially lead others to view you as powerful as it suggests you either have the position or confidence to risk going against societal norms. However, this isn’t always a wise move if, while circumventing expectations, you select items that deviate too far or you don’t have the perceived status to pull it off.

Choosing to only slightly shift away from expectations can help you stand out in a positive way, but it can be a fine line to tread. If you are going to break from convention, it needs to be in a somewhat subtle, strategic, and controlled manner, such as by wearing a red bowtie to a black-tie event (a scenario presented in a study that led to positive results).

However, by understanding how you dress affects your performance on both fronts – by impacting how you perceive yourself as well as how others see you – you can make choices that increase your odds of career success.

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