What you wear not only affects how you feel about yourself, how you perform and behave, but also how other people perceive you.

Clothes affect what others think of you. It may not be fair, but it is happening, like it or not. Whether it be upon first impression or ongoing impression, your image infers a multitude of things about you as an individual. 

First Impressions

As your appearance is what others see first, the clothes you choose to wear have a huge impact on how you are perceived by others. Your clothes can be a huge influence on new people you meet, whether they know it or not.

Before you even utter a word, your image creates perceptions of you; your perceived level of intelligence, competence, affability, self-esteem, confidence, power and success. Once the first impression is made, this then creates the 'confirmation bias', whereby the new person you've met further seeks information that supports their initial judgement, and ignores, or gives little importance to anything that might tell them otherwise.

Ongoing impressions

You constantly send out silent messages, which provide clues to both existing and potential clients and colleagues. They will use these clues when considering you for a project, job or promotion. Dressing well shows others respect, and that you care about yourself.

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have, is a much-repeated phrase, and it's true for a number of reasons. Dressing for a higher position than you currently inhabit enables others to imagine you in the role and can have a powerful impact on the impression you make. If you look like you can run an important project, lead a team or present to shareholders, you are more likely to be given the opportunity to do so.

Lastly, consider the 'halo effect' whereby if someone is well dressed and put together, we instinctively have greater confidence in their abilities. 

You can read more about how clothes affect your career (along with case studies) in my book which is out in June 2018.

Lizzie Edwards is one of Londons best Personal Stylists and Image Consultants for Business Women. Her book 'Look Like The Leader You Are: A Seven-Step Style Strategy For Ambitious Women' is out 21st June 2018.