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Flashback 20 years: Men were wearing boxy, oversized suits with square shoulders and thick pinstripes that accentuated a sharp, square and angular look.

Though we may chuckle at how times have changed, these men also inspired the term ‘power dressing’ – a relatively new concept to the corporate world back then. Men around the globe incorporated style into their equation for workplace success; a concept that is still very relevant today!

“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

Yes, it’s a bit of a corny cliché, and whilst the comic above pokes fun at the old adage, like most clichés this one has a timeless truth and relevance.

“I would hire someone immediately if they dressed better than I did,” said Simon Kneen, Vice President of Brooks Brothers, the longest standing and most esteemed men’s clothier in the United States.

How you present yourself in the workplace says a lot about your character, and the correlation between dressing to impress and success is as strong as ever. As such, I’ve provided 5 tips for men on how to exude power, and encourage success through using their wardrobe.

5 Tips For Men On Making An Impact With Their Work Wardrobe

1. The Suit

Whilst modern workplaces have certainly relaxed the dress code, suiting up still plays a massive role in the corporate world and can have a lot to say about an individual’s professional status.

Forget the ill-fitting ‘power’ suits of yesterday, when a suit was all about the price tag… nowadays, making an impression with your suit really comes down to two factors: a suit that perfectly fits your body, and your personality.

Check out the comparison between two Hollywood lawyer characters, Harvey Specter (left, 2015) and Arnie Becker (right, 1990).

Bulky heavy suits are out, and thinner, lighter suits have replaced them. The modern business suit is tailored to fit body shape, and whilst navy, charcoal and black still generally dominate the corporate scene, playing around with lighter colours, thin pinstripes and different textures provides opportunity to express individual style and personality.

For more tips on suiting up, check out these business attire FAQs.

2. The Colours

Traditionally, the business world sticks to the darker, more somber colours – but there is definitely wriggle room for those who may not spend all their time around the boardroom table. Modern suits come in so many colours, from lighter blues and greys to dark burgundy and olive greens, which still pass in a professional work environment.

For the slightly less formal workplace, you can definitely experiment with a dash of subtle colouring to add charm and personality, whether that is in suit details shirt and tie – still maintaining a professional image.

3. The Accessories

Accessorize with care when it comes to ‘power dressing’ and making a professional statement. Remember, you’re at work, not the races. Over accessorizing with fancy, elaborate or bright ties, patterned shirts, clips, buckles, cufflinks, shoes or socks can come across as playful, and as a general rule, playful deters from powerful/professional.

Keep it minimal with an elegant pair of cufflinks, a quality watch, a pocket square (if appropriate), leather belts and a pair of quality dress shoes.

4. The Occasion

‘Power dressing’ is all about projecting the right image – if you want a million bucks, look a million bucks!

Having said that, it’s definitely important to dress according to your workplace environment. Wearing a suit when everyone else is wearing polo shirts isn’t necessarily going to make you stand out in a good way. Dress in the same general manner as your colleagues, or perhaps the future colleague that you’d like to advance to… again, only if appropriate.

Your environment extends to your climate, and wearing lighter colours and materials during the warmer months and darker, earthy tones and textures during the colder months doesn’t go unnoticed.

TIP: Think about how you might change your outfit if you knew you had to meet with your boss or important client… now, dress like that everyday! This will assure you draw the attention of your superiors or prospects, even when you’re not dealing with them directly.

5. Don’t Lose Yourself

This final point is really the core of every personal styling or image consultancy advice and particularly important when it comes to trying to impress professionally. There is nothing more obvious in a professional environment than someone who is trying to be someone that they’re not, and this often has a lot to do with the wardrobe.

Whilst the rules above are tried and trusted guidelines for ‘power dressing’, if you’re not comfortable in the image you’re putting forward, you’ll inevitably give off a non-genuine, non-confident vibe that doesn’t encourage trust, endearment or promotion. Be AUTHENTIC.

* * *

If you’d like to know more about making an impression with your professional wardrobe, please don’t hesitate to contact Nikki Casey. Nikki has extensive personal experience, provided image consultancy and training services to some of the highest-level corporate operators in Australia, from Shell to AMP Insurance.

Contact today about men’s styling, wardrobe editing, corporate styling and personal shopping services that can help you get on the right track for success!

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