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Why is it important to dress well at work

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1st Feb 2016
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It is often said, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. On the flip side, if the cover is fantastic, the book is likely to not only get desired attention but also appreciation it may deserve. Quite evidently, our appearance has a huge role to play in the impressions we leave on people and the way we are perceived in everyday life – professionally and personally. So if clothes make such an impact, then why must something keep you from nailing it!

Dress_Well_Cover_Herstory
(image credit – Shutterstock)

Observing people and seeing how they are different has always intrigued me. One’s appearance invariably becomes the window through which the world looks at them. Interestingly, it may occasionally also become the deciding factor for prospects at work. Aside, some of us definitely invest in perfection, including perfection in how we pull ourselves together every morning. The idea is that if appearance has such a huge role to play in so many areas of one’s life, including boosting self-confidence, then why should it be so difficult to do?

When I talk about the importance of dressing well, I am not referring to the professional context only. It is something that extends to all areas of your life since your clothes are a large part of who you are as a person. It not only makes you feel good but can also largely influence your interaction/equation with people.

Here are few more compelling reasons that will help rest my case!

It lets you focus on important stuff

When you are dressed in well-fitted comfortable clothes that are truly meant for you, you’re undistracted. This also means that it keeps you focussed on getting the important stuff done.

It helps you break stereotypes

Its been proven by research that a whopping 65 per cent of working women feel that their subordinates do not take them seriously in a corporate set up. Although power dressing may not change this scenario overnight, it is definitely a small but sincere start!

You feel the way you dress

Your clothes not only add to your presentation, but also contribute to your behaviour therefore defining your body language. When you look confident and approachable, you become more confident and approachable. Various studies including one by Joy V. Peluchette and Katherine Karl on ‘The impact of workplace attire on employee self-perceptions’ show thatRespondents felt most authoritative, trustworthy, and competent when wearing formal business attire.”

You never know who you may run into

On a lighter note, imagine yourself dressed shabbily at work only to run into an ex-flame or a freshly recruited Greek god. It may not only ruin your chances of getting noticed but may also put a permanent end to things before they start. Now who could’ve thought being underdressed could cost one so much?

Finally, first impressions matter!

Visual associations subconsciously go a long way and we have very little control over it. When you dress well, you are simply using this subliminal power of association to your advantage. In this fast-paced world, you’re given precious little seconds to make an impression. Thirty seconds to be precise, if various studies are to be believed. When you meet someone for the first time, the impression they carry of you lasts a while, so why not leave a mark?

Having listed so many logical reasons to dress well, the one factor that personally overrides all others is that ‘priceless high’ you get out of just looking good. So ladies, pepper up your style a bit and get that magic going already!


About the Author – Nidhi Agarwal is the Founder & CEO of KAARYAH Lifestyle Solutions Pvt. Ltd. She has 15+ years of experience in Strategy Consulting and Auditing. She was the Director, Strategy at Honeywell, India where she helped them develop their Space and Missiles business. Prior to that, she was the Strategy Consultant at Bain&Co where she drafted market entry strategies for FMCG companies. She has also worked for KPMG and Bharti Airtel earlier.

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