How you dress has a considerable influence on how others assess you and your abilities. It can also affect how confident you feel about yourself and your work. In fact, I've spoken about The Importance of Confidence in it's own post because of how much impact it can have on your success.

The importance of appearance

Putting your best professional foot forward is more important than ever. Whether it’s in your current profession where you don’t want to be overlooked, an entrepreneurial career, or a job interview you’re preparing for - looking good is one of your strongest opportunities for success.

Research has shown that when well-groomed men and women are placed in identical situations with poorly-groomed men and women, the well- groomed person got the job/promotion/pay increase/date every time. Rather than taking offence to this, you can take action and do something to increase your chances of success.

When presenting yourself, your clothes are your silent but strongest, partner. They will help you develop an executive presence and create a strong corporate image. Here are some ideas to consider when creating a professional wardrobe that yields natural confidence and competence.

Bring in some colour

Colours have a powerful psychological effect on other people and can help you project yourself as you want to be seen by others. Buy a suit or top in a colour that makes you look amazing, rather than reaching for an easy option neutral that may drain you.

In a corporate setting, clothing is usually more formal. Colours tend to be dark such as navy, black, charcoal grey. Lighten things up by contrasting these dark colours with light ones - a light-coloured top under a dark jacket will pull attention to your face. Your face is your best asset in business - it’s your communication centre, so it’s where you want people to focus.

When you wear colours that relate to your own colouring, you automatically hold people’s attention. Don’t underestimate the power of wearing a shade of green if your eyes are green, or wearing a blue jacket if your eyes are blue. It makes you appear more approachable. If your workplace is more creative, wear more creative colour combinations or more variety of colours.

Stay on top of your grooming

A well-groomed person speaks loudly in the workplace. Your appearance sends the message that you’ll take care of details and get the job done.

Polished, natural make-up makes you look professional and productive. Invest in decent quality makeup and make sure your foundation matches your skin. Consider booking a professional makeup lesson to learn how to perfect your makeup routine. You can book an appointment with a brand such as Bobbi Brown, who specialises in natural-looking makeup.

Get your hair coloured and cut regularly in a good salon. It does not pay to scrimp on a good haircut. Ask friends for recommendations. 

Well-groomed hands are a must. Scraggy cuticles and bitten nails detract from everything else! If you struggle to get yours growing I recommend having professional CND Shellac gels. It looks like nail polish but lasts for 3-4 weeks and acts to coat and protect your nails, helping them to grow. Light nail polish is great for a fresh, healthy nail look.

Is your work wardrobe a winning one? Get a second opinion. Over the years the workplace has become more casual, but it wouldn’t hurt anyone to take their wardrobe up a notch. Appearances count, not only in first impressions but also in ongoing interactions.

If you’re wondering how to ensure you’re looking your best, don’t hesitate to call me to help you find the best colours and wardrobe for you and what you need to project yourself. Get in touch with me here.

Lizzie Edwards is the leading personal stylist and image consultant in London, working with women over thirty-five on their business image and personal brand.