There are people who resist acknowledging the important role clothes can play in career success.
When I was looking to get press for my book, I was saddened by the response of many magazine editors who, in a round about way, said they wouldn’t talk about the subject of what women wear; that it’s just too sensitive an area for discussion right now. I’m going to be honest. It pissed me off!
Anyone who takes the time to read my book, or knows what I’m about, understands that my message is all about empowering women, rather than reducing them to being clothes horses. Helping women to look and feel good is not about ‘style over substance’. If someone has all the other leadership qualities in place; experience, talent, skill etc. but their image piece is not, it can damage their career.
And the reason it pisses me off, that too often people are afraid to talk about it, is that the only people being harmed by the fear of an open and honest conversation about the fact that what you wear matters, are women whose image is holding them back, but that don’t even realise it.
So i’m going to say it. What you wear matters.
What you wear affects how you feel, how you perform, how you behave, and how other people perceive you, which is why clothes are such an important weapon in your arsenal for career success.
As your appearance is what others see first, the clothes you choose to wear have a huge impact, particularly when you meet people for the first time, and unfortunately the impression you make in those first few seconds is very hard to alter.
Is this fair? No, but it is happening whether you like it or not!
Our basic human instinct means from just a few glances we decide whether we like or relate to another person, and we all do it. Before you have even uttered a word, your image infers a multitude of things about you – your personality, perceived level of intelligence, competence, affability, self-esteem, confidence, power and success.
‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have’ is much cited phrase, and which is true for a number of reasons. When those further up the chain can picture you in a more senior role, you are easier to promote. You will already find it easier to have people’s buy-in, as it enables others to imagine you in your new role.
Perhaps even more importantly, there is no denying clothes affect how you feel, and when you feel better you perform better. When one reason that so many women hold themselves back is through lack of confidence, and when what you wear can have such a big impact on your confidence, wearing the best clothes, for you and your role, is a no brainer and a game changer.
Small changes can bring huge results. As a personal stylist and image consultant for over 13 years I know this. I have worked with hundreds of women on their wardrobes, and I have seen and heard from our clients of the impact changing what they wore has had on their career.
If you agree with me, and feel you could do with some help with finding your personal work style, and leveraging your look to support your career, my book will help you.
You can read more about why what you wear matters, and find the solution, in my book Look Like The Leader You Are which is available to buy on Amazon, at Waterstones and other book sellers.
Lizzie Edwards is one of London’s leading Personal Stylists and Image Consultants for Women, and author of 'Look Like The Leader You Are; A 7-Step Style Strategy for Ambitious Women'