New year, new look. As 2014 approaches it is the perfect time to give yourself a business style makeover. Your clothes say a lot about you now and about your professional future.
“Experts agree that your appearance plays a role in your professional advancement. Your clothing, grooming, hygiene and hairstyle all affect your personal brand,” reports The Ladders. The right outfit can help you land that job or get that promotion you’ve been waiting for. The old adage “dress the part” holds true when it comes to dressing for success.
First check out what the next level of management is wearing. “How does your boss and his peers dress for a regular work day? While you don’t want to look overdressed in your current your position, it’s important to start doing little things to step up your look so you appear polished and ready for the next challenge,” writes The Ladders.
Not only does the way you dress affect how other people view you but also how you view yourself. According to research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology [via Citibank], what you wear also alters your own behavior. Hajo Adam, Ph.D., a visiting assistant professor of management at Rice University, and Adam Galinsky, Ph.D., tested whether a white lab coat—a garment usually associated with high-level, scientific thinking—could trigger certain behaviors. Study participants who wore the white lab coat consistently outperformed those who wore regular clothes. They only made about half the mistakes on attention-related tasks compared to those without the lab coats. “The participants who believed they were wearing a doctor’s coat performed better than the participants who thought they were wearing a painter’s coat,” reports Citibank.
Before hitting the stores, take a “before” picture. “The before picture will also allow you to access your makeover once it’s finished so you can ensure full satisfaction,” notes Wise Bread, a blog dedicated to “living large on a small budget.”
Then go through your closet and see what pieces will work well with your new look. Be ruthless in weeding out your wardrobe. Get rid of out-of-date clothes and outfits that are damaged or don’t fit, giving what’s suitable to charity or preparing them for resale at a consignment shop. Speaking of, consignment shops are a great places to find some unique outfits for less. If you take in clothes, you can even do a trade-in. There are some high-end consignments shops with barely warn designer outfits that will be perfect for work.
Another way to save money and still add different items to your wardrobe is to have a clothes swap with your friends. “If you like your friends’ clothes, and you’re all around the same size, host a clothing swap,” explains Wise Bread.