Does how you dress affect how successful you are?

Emmeline Stevens founder of The Image Consulting Company says yes but it might not be for the reasons you expect.

The working landscape has changed over the years with the most dramatic change seen in the last three years due to the pandemic. Hybrid working and working from home has become more prevalent. We have seen a relaxing of our work uniform due to this which in some cases has spilled over into the office.

Another important consideration is the rise of the tech sector and Silicon Valley which is largely made up of millennials heading up companies whose work uniforms consist of jeans and hoodies. Smart does not necessarily signal success there. Here in the slightly more formal UK, this relaxation of work dress is trickling through into certain sectors and even those sectors that still demand a suit probably do not demand a tie!

So why has what we wear to work been seen as such an important part of a company or individual’s success? It all comes down to what we deem success. We look at managers, CEO’s and leaders and what they wear in the workplace. Either consciously or subconsciously our brains tell us these people are successful and we take in everything about them including their dress to form this opinion. It could be that we aspire to these people and we may start to subconsciously take on aspects of their dress. Human nature decrees that we like to be part of groups rather than alone. Dressing like others can mean we are welcomed into that group and of course, that can mean promotion and moving up in the workplace.

However, If you are comfortable in what you are wearing and dress well it positively affects the way others see you. This has more to do with the confidence looking good affords you as an individual. If you feel confident you often present as a happy and self-assured person. What you wear often demonstrates your personality and people like to be around confident people.

Over the years as a commercial fashion stylist, trends were a big part of the world I inhabited although I always felt slightly uncomfortable with it. I believe it is important to dress for you and forget about trends. Whilst trends are set to inspire on a regular basis, they also offer a high turnover of unnecessary goods. They add pressure to those who are not as inspired; pressure to purchase, pressure to look a certain way, pressure to be in the know etc. The next time you feel pressured to know trends or to wear trends, you may find there is something you love more that already exists in your wardrobe. So yes I do believe you can dress for success but not necessarily in the traditional sense. That does not mean donning a tailored suit unless you want to. There are other ways to look smart. Think about what image you want to portray and what items of clothes you have or you like that could help you convey that confidence and image.

I am so passionate about how what you can wear empowers you and can affect your well-being positively that I set up a personal stylist training academy for other women to learn how to empower and help women find their style and their personality. Using my own experience in styling, I now run courses to show others how its done and equip them with the skills they need to set off on their own personal styling path. I set up The Image Consulting Company because I wanted to create a community of women helping other women across the country. Some of the ladies I have trained have come from really different first careers. I have worked with everyone from a former equine chiropractor, to marketing managers, who all re-trained as personal stylists and now run their own businesses. These women all decided they wanted to do something different with their lives and are passionate about helping other women find their true selves through fashion.

This is not just about clothes. This is about how your clothes can reflect your personality, how they can make you feel confident and self-assured and by proxy, can really help your wellbeing. How we look and how we feel give us the armory we need to succeed. Have fun with your style in all aspects of your life, including work.


You can read the published article in Bdaily’s Members’ News section here