Here’s a harsh truth everyone has to learn in life – despite what your parents or anyone else may have told you, it’s not just what’s on the inside that matters.
In reality, what’s on the outside, and specifically what you’re wearing, matters a great deal. Whether you like it or not, your clothes reflect your character and your attitude towards life to everyone you meet. If you want to progress in business and in life, you’ll need to dress appropriately.
If you’re skeptical, join us as we look at why appearances are so important, and how you can start dressing better.
Why Appearances Matter
There’s a silly idea out there that focusing on aesthetics is superficial and shallow. But everyone on the planet judges things based on how they look. That’s human nature. For example, when you meet someone new, you immediately form a first impression of them based on how they look, and the clothes they’re wearing contribute immensely to that.
The same is true when you walk into a business or open a new website. You immediately judge the business or the site by how they look. If a business was dirty and disorganized, you probably wouldn’t think very highly of it. The same is true if a website looked completely outdated.
Why is that? When something doesn’t look good, it signifies one of two things:
• No one cared enough to make it look good
• No one knew how to make it look good
Consider the different impressions you’ll make wearing different types of clothing. If you go anywhere other than the gym wearing a tank top and sweats, you’re giving people the impression that you don’t care about putting anything other than the smallest amount of effort into your appearance. You care more about comfort than looking your best.
On the other hand, if you wear a crisp button-down shirt, a nice pair of jeans or slacks, and handmade leather shoes, you’re showing everyone that you care about how you look. You’re respecting them by putting your best foot forward, and they’ll respect you more for that.
The Dangers of Dressing Poorly
When you don’t dress well, you’re essentially making life harder for yourself. The most common way this can happen is in the business world.
If you don’t dress appropriately in your career, you’ll likely miss out on job opportunities. This could be because you made a poor first impression at an interview, or it could be a missed promotion because higher ups didn’t feel like you were “management material.”
The conventional wisdom is to dress for the job you want and not the one you already have. This couldn’t be more true. Part of success is dressing the part. There’s a reason you see CEOs dress far more formally than middle management.
Dressing poorly can also be problematic in your everyday life. If you don’t present yourself well, you may miss out on potential friendships and relationships. Let’s be real here – no woman wants a man in an old, wrinkly t-shirt and cargo shorts. Sure, you may find a woman who loves you in spite of a lack of style, but why not give yourself the best possible chances? Putting more effort into your appearance will do just that.
How to Dress Appropriately
The key to dressing appropriately is to understand what level of formality you need to aim for in your professional and personal life.
That will be different depending on your career path and your usual social scene. For example, in many businesses, just wearing a button-down and slacks will make you the best-dressed person in the office. But in more formal industries, such as finance, you’d look like a slob compared to everyone else wearing suits.
This is why the situation matters. It looks just as silly when you’re overdressed as it does when you’re underdressed.
You could end up wearing suits the majority of the time if you’re in a highly formal industry. With the way dress codes have relaxed lately, a button-down, nice pants, slick shoes and a high-quality piece of outerwear will do just fine.
You don’t need to be a fashion expert to get ahead in life, but you do need to know how to dress. Everyone you encounter will form their opinion of you based in large part on how you look. Even though you may not care about impressing everyone, at some point, you could run into a possible professional connection or a woman you want to charm. When you do, you’ll be glad that you took the time to dress well that day.