Dressing for Success

by admin

Dressing for Success

What message does your clothing say about you? It’s not a question we spend a lot of time thinking about, but what if it was keeping you from that promotion or new job you really wanted? Are you clear on what your style says? We all know that first impressions matter and that most communication is actually non-verbal, so how much of that is being directed by your clothing? I have constructed some simple ways to tell if you are leaving people with the impression you want.

1. Create a Survey 

  1. Ask your friends, family, and coworkers to describe your style. For example:  Are you professional, sloppy, comfortable, stylish, or unapproachable?
  2. Does this style match your personality or the working relationships you want to have?
  3. What are the pieces in your wardrobe that are a reflection of their feedback?
  4. What colors are you wearing that justify their analysis?  Do you wear a lot of red and black, which could give off an “unapproachable” vibe?


There are easy ways to combat these descriptions of your style without spending a lot of money. Here is a quick guide:

1. Unapproachable/ Harsh

a. If you wear a lot of solid colors, like black or primary colors, and you’re getting  feedback that you’re unapproachable or harsh, try wearing more brown tones, such as khakis, creams, light greens, blues and purples.

b. Is your clothing too structured? Clothing that fits well is very important, but are you wearing things that are too structured? For instance, are you always wearing a suit jacket? Try wearing knits, like a great wrap-around knit sweater, or a cardigan instead of a suit jacket.

2. Sloppy/Not Trustworthy/ Young

a. Does your clothing fit your body?

  • Can you grab a lot of extra fabric under your arms when you put on your button down or blazer?
  • Does the shoulder of the shirt line up with your natural shoulder? In a button down or blazer, these should always match up exactly.
  • Try a new store or new brand to find clothes that fit you better—Banana Republic is perfect for busty women, whereas Theory is really good for petites.


Try these new styles for a couple of weeks and then redo the survey. You will be surprised at the results.

Written by Pow.Wow member, Rachael Fauman, Ensemble Personal Image Consulting.