Aesthetics play a prominent role in our professional life, more than we are wont to acknowledge. The saying that “You are addressed the way you are dressed”. Has never been as true as it is in our twenty-first century. At an age when some would rather choose sweats and tees over suit and tie, aesthetics could make or break your professional life. It could put you in line for that promotion you think you deserve or throw you out of the promotion arena.
Aesthetics covers basically everything about fashion; from shoes to clothes, hairstyles, makeups, purses, bags, or briefcases and other accessories like wristwatches and pieces of jewellery. A lot of studies has been made to analyze the impact of aesthetics on one’s career. Authors like Professor Pine in her book, “Mind What You Wear “. She took a step further to examine the cognitive, social and emotional consequences of what we wear. From her findings, she emphatically concludes that we are not only what we wear, but also become what we wear.
So, next time you get tempted to ignore those wrinkles on your shirt or contemplate wearing those stinky dead-to-the-world loafers over wearing a polished pair of shoes, here are the reasons why you should banish those thoughts;
Can you ever compare the feeling you get when you are wearing your most flattering fashionable dress with the feeling you get when you are sashaying in a wrinkled dowdy dress? The former confers a certain authority to you which makes you feel more in control, confident, elated, energetic, and creative. The latter, however, dampens your mood, ensuring that you lose the zeal, creativity and energy required for your work. It influences your own opinion about yourself, making you doubt your own expertise and experience. Therefore, knowing that your aesthetics not just people’s perception of you, but also your own perception of yourself, shouldn’t you put a little more effort in dressing for each day?
SETS YOU APART FROM THE CROWD –
For some people, the saying that “First impression matters” holds true just for their interview day and the first day of work at a new company. This idea is faulty for so many reasons. The major one being that we come in contact with new people every day, even when you don’t set out to. The stranger beside you in that taxi you took to work today. He/She could be the contact you need for the job you want.
For all you know, the woman seated at the next table when you stopped by that eatery to grab a pack of doughnuts for the office meeting. She could be the CEO of the company you have been eyeing for a very long time. What better way to draw their attention than by stepping in a killer power dressing and successfully exuding an aura of authority? It is no longer your first day at work, but there is always a periodic influx of new clients, new employees, prospective co-workers and interns. Believe it or not, making a great impression on them could be more beneficial to your career than you think. Therefore, always aim to stand out from the crowd in your attire.
ACCELERATES YOUR CAREER –
Have you ever seen a CEO, top manager or any executive leader who came to work shabbily dressed in creased clothes or torn jeans? No, I’m yet to see one. This is to tell you that you have to dress the part to get the promotion you desire. Do you want to be the Human Resource Manager? -Dress the part! Are you eyeing the General Manager position of the company? – Then, start by dressing the part. This doesn’t mean you should wear a suit and a tie every single working day. Casual work attire like neatly-straightened neutral-coloured shirts and parts could suffice. Add in a pair of well-polished shoes or loafers, nice clutch/bag or briefcases that is still in good condition and other accessories like a wristwatch and you are good to go!
MAKES YOU A GOOD REPRESENTATIVE OF YOUR COMPANY –
Companies are particularly conscious image they create before the world. They want employees who are good representatives of the company. In order to continually promote the image of the company even outside the office. Only these employees with the capability of achieving this that they are willing to promote into power positions. No matter your level of expertise, if you are not approachable, if you are known to incite public fights, if you have drinking issues, can wear bedraggled night wears in broad daylight, spot untamed hair or brawl until you are spotting a broken nose, which company would trust you well enough to promote you into a high position?
MAKES YOU SEEM MORE CAPABLE –
In the earlier part of this article, we talked about how aesthetics makes you feel more confident about yourself. Reiterating on that, making conscious efforts to look good can make you seem more capable and efficient for a job.
In conclusion, every look has a symbolic meaning. A lot of professionals and celebrities utilize this knowledge to create looks that promote their brand/image. Chimamanda Adichie, for instance, is known for a particular look around her. She effortlessly pulls off the look of a chic African woman with her affinity for Nigerian designer wears (Project Wear Nigerian) and her naturally kinky hair in cornrows. Other celebrities like Bella Hadid, Meghan Markle, Alexa Chung, and Michelle Obama are known for particular fashion styles. They chose styles which symbolizes an image they want for themselves. If looks are symbolic, what does yours symbolize?
READ MORE: 5 Women Speak on Their Biggest Career Mistake.