Dress Code and Success

Its 6:00AM on Monday morning, and I feel so fired up because I love Monday even though it is a big enemy to most of my peers who always seem to have glamorous filled weekends. I have learned to say goodbye to the bliss of my happy moments and to welcome new beginnings, which usually start on Monday mornings with goals for the week and plans for weekend and I am going to dress up my mood and show off the mental enthusiasm because I am bold and confident.

I grew up in the hills of Kisoro-Uganda, therefore dressing up was not influential to my success as a child. So, I constantly assumed that style and dressing to impress is not for me.  Fortunately, most of my friends are so natural at fashion and I always thought that they tried too hard and that success had nothing to do with me wearing a power suit to an interview.  I vividly remember my ill-fitting black coat that I used for interviews after University and yes, I did not get any of the jobs I wanted. I was aspiring to be a manager but dressed like I had just arrived from Virunga.

What is intriguing is that style is sometimes the only difference between the managers and their subordinates. They hire the masterminds to do all the donkey work and dress up for meetings to present the work , which is where the big bucks are made and its always clear to the recipient who the leaders are, from first impression. First impression by definition is instant and that means that it takes seconds for a complete stranger to formulate a positive or negative opinion of you based on your appearance alone.

I am not in any way saying that wearing suits, ties, heels and blazers is the key to your next career promotion but dressing like a professional will separate you from the sea of new graduates or entry level employees and certainly from the artlessness that comes with being a village belle.

My closet might not be as trendy as the Kardashian sisters, but I don’t like the silent vibes that say she is not my type, she won’t hack it, she is so old-style, she is not ready and so on.

Well, the nasty judgement and comments that come from people at the work place, at business meetings, parties or even at the bus station have taught me to don the power suit and appreciate the reasons behind the trendy corporate women who look and act like they just made it to corner office.

Professor Karen J. Pine, of the University of Hertfordshire (U.K.) writes in her very short book Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion “When we put on a piece of clothing we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it, even if we are unaware of it.” In the studies Pine conducted, as related in her book, one participant admitted, “If I’m in casual clothes I relax and am tomboyish, but if I dress up for a meeting or a special occasion, it can alter the way I walk and hold myself.”

We all have bad days and nasty Monday mornings but it’s not reason enough not to dress the part. Grooming says a great deal about who we are and can be a deal breaker. You will get invited to C level executive meetings if you give the impression that you are ready for more and you present yourself like a leader. It is not chess but it’s a poker game and you must learn to play.

“Clothing used to be about fashion,” says Blumstein. “Today, it’s about style and function. In the past, business travelers used to stress over how they would get their shirts ironed for meetings, but today we have the technology to create fabrics that don’t need any ironing, and special moisture wicking materials to cool and combat sweat.”

Your appearance is influential to others as well, not just yourself. It’s important to portray a good image to coworkers and clients. Being in the workplace often entails meeting new people, interacting with coworkers, and communicating with managers.

It’s vital to give off your best impression in every way possible, so that no one can hold shallow biases against you. Let nothing stand in the way of paving your road to success. The debate of whether businesses should maintain traditional dress codes or adopt new casual policies is still ongoing. But putting all arguments aside, the bottom line is clear: Dress matters a lot.

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