If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve been working from home for weeks and even months now. That means lunch at 10:30am, a second lunch around 1:00pm, and a happy hour whenever you feel like it. It also means rolling out of bed and working in your pajamas. Or sweats. Or underwear, totally your call.
But your work attire is actually important to your attitude. When you feel professional, confident, and competent, you’ll act that way. But when you feel lazy and frumpy, your motivation and ability to perform will plummet.
So whether you’re still working at home or just starting to make your way back to the office, take a few moments to consider your wardrobe. Here’s how your outfit can affect they way you view work.
Boost your confidence
A good, smart outfit makes you feel more confident and capable. When you look good, people perceive you as someone who’s successful, hard working, and high-achieving. And when you’re perceived that way, you start acting that way. But when you wear tattered, unclean, outdated clothing, or even just a shirt that you know has a stain on it, you tend to focus on the imperfection and assume everyone else is noticing and judging, too. At that point, it’s difficult to concentrate on your work or get a lot accomplished.
Increase abstract thinking
More formal attire tends to increase social distance. People don’t feel as congenial or bonded to the people they work with. It’s almost as though putting on a suit is like putting up a social barrier. But this barrier allows people to think in more abstract and creative terms. So if you need to brainstorm or generate innovative ideas, more formal attire might improve your ability to do so. But if you’re looking to build relationships, something a little less formal might be better. Just maintain your six feet and wash your hands. Often.
Make strong first impressions
Besides your outfit, think about your accessories, hairstyle, fragrance, posture, body language, makeup, tone of voice, and voice inflection. Depending on the situation, the person you need to be will change, so dress accordingly. Dress and accessorize the way that will help you become that person.
Take command of your outfit
Every detail about your presentation communicates something. As people take note of your appearance, they’re making new judgments every few milliseconds or so—make sure it’s the message you want to be communicating. For example, a tie or nice suit might make you look dependable and experienced, which is perfect for some professional settings. But it also might look snobby or too traditional in a social or creative setting. If you want to look responsible, wear the tie. If you want to look innovative or new age, ditch the tie.
So—and I can’t believe I’m saying this—get out of your sweatpants and get to work. Your outfit can empower you, and if you dress the way you want to feel, perform, and be perceived, it can be a really powerful tool in your professional arsenal. For more tips on how mastering your wardrobe and appearance so you can maximize your career potential, check out our website at https://www.chiefofstaffkc.com.
Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh