In the corporate world, the need for women to “dress to impress” is a hot topic. Are we forcing women to conform to a certain ideal developed by a patriarchal society? Does what we wear really matter so long as we get our work done? We can debate this till the ends of the earth, but nonetheless at the start of each day, we still need to put something on. So why not make the way you dress for work a choice, not a chore?
At Ellen & Elysar, we believe it when Mark Twain wrote “clothes make the man” – in our case, the woman. Whether it be a dress or a blouse, fashion makes an impression and not just on other people, but on ourselves. It becomes almost a soft skill, learning how to dress appropriately for your field. It is a tool to develop your personal branding – something that takes years to build up but seconds to destroy. It’s something to think about, certainly. Questions such as what do you want your professional persona to be? What are your goals and how do you want others to see you? A strategic use of style can help to optimize relationship building. If we dress in a way that exudes sophistication and expertise, everyone will believe that we possess such qualities. The clothes on our body are simply an extension of ourselves, and we see it clearly when comparing the outfits of those in professional fields with those in either tech or art. It may not define us but our clothes most certainly make a statement, whichever way we use it.
With that being said, here are three reasons why what you wear at work matters and how you can dress to impress.
A classic cliche, we know. From a young age, we all learn that you should never judge a book by its cover because you don’t know what you’ll find in the pages. And while this is true, to an extent, the choices you make in terms of your outfit can give others insight into who you are and what you value. In the corporate world, where imagery sometimes speak louder than performance, having a clean outfit that is wrinkle-free and well-fitting does not do any harm. For the days where you may need a little confidence boost, getting a compliment on your outfit can actually bring about better performance. Which leads us to our second point…
For those in the consulting field, you spend all day advising your clients on strategy. Why not take an extra minute or two in the morning to strategically craft your outfit and let it be the first impression that you make. We are not saying that you need to curate your image, but wearing an outfit that excites you can build the confidence you need to fuel your work day. When we say dress to impress, we do not mean that you need to impress others but you should be impressed with yourself. It need not to be the best or most expensive, but something that defines you, makes you comfortable and feel ready to take on the world.
Success comes in many shades and sizes. For most modern women, advancing our careers is a priority for us. But this does not necessarily equate to success. To be truly successful, you need to be confident and happy with yourself. Consider what makes you feel like the best version of yourself? Does a well-structured blouse make you feel in charge? Do the soft fabrics flowing on your body make you feel comfortable and sure of yourself? You do not have to define yourself through your work, but you can define how your outfits fits in to your work identity.
We’ve only really scratched the surface of this ongoing conversation on what it means to dress to impress. Many women will have different opinions, shaped by the field they work in and their personal beliefs. However we believe that the way you dress for work should be a choice not a must, and if this helps to instill confidence and courage then all the more power to you.
What do you think?
Share your thoughts with us on Instagram, Facebook or Linkedin @ellenandleysar.