AgentsEntrepreneur January 12, 2017

Dress for Success: What You Wear Matters

Key Takeaways 

  • What you wear, and your appearance in general, has a direct impact on your success. 
  • Like it or not, others will judge you based on your appearance.
  • Perception is reality – create the reality you wish for yourself.


This may frustrate some people. I hope that it stirs up some thought and dialogue. If it does frustrate you, I hope that you ask yourself, “Why” prior to blasting me. 


Can we please stop saying that what we wear doesn’t matter? It matters. I see these refrain(s) again and again, especially from my generation: “Wearing a suit doesn’t make you successful”, “Richard Branson dresses casual”, “There are tons of CEO’s who wear T-Shirts”, “Men with Suits work for men in T-Shirts”, ETC. Well, I have a couple of questions in response to this line of thought. 


  1. Since when does looking like a bum make you MORE successful? 
  2. When was the last time you went to the office dressed in a bunny suit? 


Let’s take question number one. If dressing nice doesn’t make you successful, then wouldn’t the inverse of this argument hold water? Couldn’t we just as easily say that looking shabby and wearing sweatpants to meetings with your clients is sure to take you to the top? No? Why not? I thought it didn’t matter? Oh… it matters? Question number two contributes to this reasoning. The following quote represents my thoughts on this issue and on all matters related to success: 

“If it Matters, then it Matters. If one detail Matters, then they all Matter. The only question becomes, where do you begin to sacrifice excellence? At what point are you good enough with ‘Adequate’?”


I want to address another point on this topic, directly. As quoted above; You will often hear people say that they know of many CEO’s or Owner’s (or anyone hyper successful) who dress casual. Well, AFTER you have climbed the ladder of success and AFTER you have proven yourself then I suppose you can make your own decisions about what defines professional in YOUR organization.  Does the CEO dress differently now than they did on their first job interview or client meeting? Yes. Does the fact that they now, at their pinnacle, wear a t-shirt mean it is a good idea for us all?


Finally, are there exceptions to this rule that what you wear matters and that it is important to look professional? Yes and no. I think there are variances in what defines “Professional” from industry to industry. The tech industry has different standards than the Real Estate industry which varies from the Trades. That said, would you wear the bunny suit to any of these occupations? Why not? If it doesn’t matter…


~Nick Schlekeway