Tag Archives: work wardrobe

What Do Your Clothes Say About You?

Clothes are one of the most often-overlooked types of non-verbal communication. Your appearance is comprised of many things, some of which may be difficult or impossible to change, like wrinkles or teeth.  There’s much to be said about facial expressions and hair styles. This post, however, is confined to clothes, shoes, and accessories.

The way an individual dresses says something about them to everyone they meet. Clothing can convey confidence and grace, or it can tell the world of the apathy, discomfort, or desperation of the person wearing it.

Before you say a word, your clothes have already said something for you.


When to Look Your Best – and Why
There are obvious times when your appearance really matters, such as a job interview, a first date, or meeting your future in-laws. There’s also the conventional wisdom that you should strive to look your best at work. Dress for the job you want rather than the job you have. That’s very good advice.


However, most people don’t put as much effort into their appearance in the evening or on the weekends. Few of us dress up for a quick trip to the grocery store or gas station. The problem with that is you never know when opportunity may knock and when it does, you want to look presentable. Most of us can think of at least one (if not several) occasions where we neglected to put an extra five minutes into our appearance and sorely regretted it later.

And while you may not always be rewarded for looking your best, you’ll definitely feel a negative consequence when your appearance is less appealing than usual. This could be as subtle as finding strangers are cooler toward you to attracting suspicion from others.



These Clothing Dos and Don’ts Will Pay Off
The most basic rule about clothing is that it should fit. This may sound obvious, but many people wear clothes that are far too large or too tight for them. Clothes that don’t fit well are universally unflattering. Tight or baggy clothing creates a perception about the person wearing the clothes. People tend to equate a look that isn’t pulled together with a life that lacks order and polish.

What does that mean for the individual who is wearing clothes that don’t fit? Because they do not look their best, others make negative assumptions about the kind of person they are. That translates into missed social and financial opportunities.
Another guideline to remember is that extreme, flagrant, and/or very casual clothing detracts from an individual’s appearance. Attracting attention is not always a positive thing and many intelligent people have undermined their success with gaudy accessories, body piercings, or clothing that is revealing or offensive.
This outfit has it all: overly tight clothes, loud colors, bright shoes, and gaudy jewelry. It might be okay for the MTV music awards, but in most situations this outfit is a disaster.

A loud, tight, and revealing dress, gaudy accessories, and bright shoes get the wrong kind of attention  

Shoes might be an afterthought for many people, but they are part of the overall impression a person creates in any professional environment. For example, sneakers tell everyone the person wearing them is taking a casual approach to whatever they are doing. If you’re washing your car, that makes sense. If you’re meeting with your boss, it is probably better to err on the side of formality and wear dress shoes.
There are times when it is appropriate to wear sneakers in an office environment- think casual Fridays – but depending on your personal goals, it might be better to dress professionally even on those days.
Many men choose plain dark shoes.

Many men choose plain dark shoes.

On the other end of the shoe spectrum, extremely high heels or flashy shoes are typically considered unprofessional. If you work at a corporation or a bank, and you come to work dressed like you’re about to hit a club, you probably aren’t projecting an image that will advance your career.

Shoes can be feminine without being flashy

Work-appropriate heels  

Lastly, most office settings require tattoos and piercings to be covered. Any jewelry or accessories that are visible should be tasteful and simple. A silver or gold necklace is always a good choice. Tote bags are convenient, but they can make women seem like they are carrying everything they own on their shoulders. If possible, aim for a medium-sized purse. Men should seek out plain belt buckles and conservative ties.


Interesting, but not very savvy

Ready to make some changes? Check out the next post in this series: Invest in Your Success: Tips for Updating Your Wardrobe on a Budget!