I can tell you that dressing well goes a long way towards creating a great first impression, or that it helps give you self-confidence; I could tell you that dressing sharp teaches responsibility, and makes you more useful at work. I can quote this article in The Guardian, and say that “the reality is that dressing well helps us in our personal, family and business lives – making us more attractive to employers, strangers and potential lovers. It reflects self-confidence and success”, or I could tell you that, on average, men deemed ‘more attractive’ can expect to earn almost a quarter of a million dollars more over their career than their less attractive counterparts. I could even tell you that a sharp dressed man will be treated better by his peers; but what I really want to tell you is this: Image Matters.
I cannot stress this enough – Image Is Important. We all have preconceived notions of how people look in certain professions. When you picture a Doctor, chances are he (or she, of course, but for the sake of simplicity I will use ‘he’ for the examples) is wearing his white coat. A Banker will usually be pictured in his suit, with a spread collar and windsor knot. A Fast Food Manager will be in his short-sleeved button down shirt and tie. You are always going to be surprised to learn that the dorky looking guy in jeans and a hoodie earns more than the guy in the three-piece suit. Image matters, and unless you are planning on spending the rest of your life living in a cave, or sitting in a cubicle (which may as well be the same thing for some people), then you need to understand this. Not convinced? Then here are some things to consider.
It has been scientifically proven that our clothing affects our state of mind. One study in particular showed that the simple act of putting on a lab coat actually makes you feel smarter, and not much makes me feel more confident than when I put on a well fitted suit. Thinking about it logically, a suit is designed to accentuate your positive features, and hide you negative ones; a properly fitted suit jacket makes your shoulders look broader, your waist look taller, can add bulk to a small man, and take it from a large man. It can make a short man look taller, and a tall man look more proportionate. Not much makes a man look more masculine than a well fitted suit, and not much makes a man feel more confident than when he know that he looks good; and when he knows that everyone else knows it as well.
This one is three-fold; showing respect for others, showing self-respect, and gaining respect. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in your appearance, and doing so can show that you have enough self-respect to bother. That’s not to say that excessive pride and vanity are good things, because they aren’t; just that if you don’t respect yourself enough to take care of your looks, then why should anyone else respect you. Certainly, your actions count, but if go around looking like a hobo, then no-one is going to give you the time of day, yet along get to know you well enough to judge your actions. By that reasoning, if you put effort into the way you look, people are more likely to respect you; it shows that you actually care enough to try, and people will respect that.
From a young age we are taught to respect people in positions of power and authority (at least, most of us are), and not much screams power and authority more than a business suit (which stems from military wear). It’s not always about wearing a suit though; sometimes it’s just about putting in the effort to be dressed appropriately. You would be surprised at the amount of people who think that jeans and a t-shirt are appropriate business wear, or that it’s okay to walk around a high-end shopping centre wearing a sleeveless shirt, short shorts, and a pair of flip-flops. Showing up to work in a t-shirt and jeans isn’t just inappropriate, it’s disrespectful. It’s disrespectful to your clients, who expect you to be professional; it’s disrespectful to your co-workers, who have to work with you; and it’s disrespectful to your boss, who pays you to your job well.
Attractive people get paid more. It’s disappointing, because in a perfect world we would be judged on our actions, not our appearance (I would also be out of a job), but it’s a scientifically proven fact. By that, I mean that there have been numerous studies which show that, all other things being equal, attractive people can expect to earn more than their less attractive co-workers. Quoting Dario Maestripieri, a professor at the University of Chicago, “Good-looking people are more appealing as potential sex partners, and [so] other people choose to interact with them, to spend time near them, talk with them, buy insurance from them, and hire them as employees”. Not only that, but good-looking people tend to exude confidence and self-assurance, traits the people admire, and appeal to employers. Even ‘average’ looking employees can expect to earn more than those deemed ‘ugly’.
Short of plastic surgery, there’s not a lot that we can do about the looks that we are born with, but what we can do is control the way we dress, and the way we look after what we have. Going to the gym, eating well, and wearing good, well-fitting clothing can go a long way. The confidence you will gain from this will go a long way to improving your appearance as well.
To sum up, I will reiterate – Image Matters. How you dress, how you speak, and how you behave all affect what other people think of you, and I want those thoughts to be positive; don’t you? It’s not difficult, start eating healthy, go to the gym, greet people with a smile and a warm handshake. If you don’t already, iron your shirts, press your trousers, and shine your shoes. Consider wearing a blazer to work, if you don’t already wear a suit. Pay attention to how your clothes fit, and ask yourself if they are really appropriate for the situation. These little things really go a long way, and you will soon notice a difference. Your co-workers will treat you better, clients will want to work with you more, strangers on the street will give you a smile and a nod as you pass by, and you will feel better about yourself. If you need a little advice, then send me an e-mail, leave a comment, or book an appointment; I’m here to help