Ever since we were young, the importance of dressing for success has been impressed upon us. Even though we’re also taught to never judge a book by its cover, the reality is we are often judged by our outward appearances. This leads to a legitimate concern: what does your clothing say about you? Contrary to popular belief – fashion is not something to take lightly and not a luxury limited only to those with the money to spare. Your choice of clothing can say a lot about you, ranging from your social standing to deep seeded psychological issues. Your choice of clothing can also impact your career and how people perceive the quality of your work.
Obviously your clothes say a lot about your social standing and social class. Your style of dress is the only way you really have to broadcast where you think your place in society is. Even if you are not doing particularly well (and how many of us can say we feel financially secure?) our clothing can make us at least feel like a million bucks. Your clothes say what you can afford and are not strictly utilitarian, giving us more room for free expression.
There is some documented evidence of this – for instance, pictures taken during times of great economic depression such as the early 1930s show that women tended towards longer hemlines than they do during times of plenty. This can give subtle messages about how well you’re doing financially that people pick up on both consciously and subconsciously.
Something we might not think about with our clothes is what they say about our mental state. While it’s not a be-all, end-all litmus of our psychological standing, the choices we make say a lot about how we make decisions and process information. Those choices include what we choose to wear on any given day.
As an example given in a Forbes article on the subject – let’s say most of your clothes are neutral and lacking in accessories. This could indicate a sort of psychological rut that is keeping you from exploring. It might also show you to be a bit too comfortable and unwilling to break out. You could escape out of your comfort zone and try something new in your fashion choices to help shake things up a bit.
Another place where your fashion choices have an impact on your life is your workplace and your career. As much as we’d like to believe that perceptions of our ability at work are based exclusively on performance, and even the most cynical think you can at least talk your way to the top, your clothes make a huge difference in standing. An article in Psychology Today suggested that clothing choices can extend to perpetuating gender biases in the workplace.
Certain styles of clothing when you are in a senior management position can cause people to view you as less competent than you are in reality. This sort of influence didn’t seem to apply to lower level positions like receptionist, but this can impact how likely you are to earn that promotion you have been vying for.
Your Clothes are a Billboard
Remember that, at the end of the day, your clothes are the most visible way in which you advertise yourself. What you wear says a whole lot about you, so paying attention to what you are saying is important. Finding high-quality apparel from retailers like Firefly & Lillies who sell a beautiful collection of dresses, tops, t-shirts, shorts and more can help you to broadcast the right message about yourself. Remember that fashion is not a luxury and is essential to your wellbeing. Not only can your fashion choices reveal a lot about your mental state, but they do a lot to tell people about who you are and what you can offer them.
Guest post by Cristi Casella.