People who have set out to achieve their goals, live their dreams and realise their potential are prepared to do whatever it takes to get there.
They invest time and resources in reading, education and coaching. They know that positive daily habits are critical so they visualise, meditate, journal, and optimise their morning routines to reach a peak state of flow from which success can manifest.
But what if there was something else? Something so simple and so obvious, right under your nose every day, that you’ve overlooked?
One thing that doesn’t require you to build or change your daily habits - because it’s already a habit.
And what if that one thing was one of the few things in life that doesn’t require willpower, and is 100% within your control?
Dress for success
“You must become the kind of person who naturally attracts the success you seek.” - Benjamin Hardy
Every day, by and large everyone gets out of bed, washes, eats and gets dressed. What you wear is one of the few things in life that is, as an adult, 100% directly within your control.
What you wear is an outward manifestation of your inner mindset. How you perceive yourself is visible to others.
When you walk into a room, before you’ve had a chance to speak or demonstrate anything of your personality or expertise, what you’re wearing and how you physically present yourself, speaks for you.
“You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.” - Zig Ziglar
Which is not to say that you have failed at anything, but if you want to get where you want to go, you have to become the person who will achieve your future success.
And chances are if you haven’t reached the point you’re aiming for yet, that person isn’t wearing the clothes you’re wearing right now.
What does your style say to others about you? About your level of self respect? About how they should respect you in return?
Ultimately the opinion of others shouldn’t matter but the reality is that in business and in life, in most cases you need to work with others to make things happen.
You simply can’t do everything on your own. So others’ opinions of you do count. And their positive feedback will boost your self esteem and, in turn, your confidence, creating an upward spiral of positive fulfilment.
To get ahead in life, looking the part by dressing the part will rarely, if ever, let you down.
Success requires you to create an environment in which you can be successful. The environment you live in every day is inside your own body.
Enable your success by presenting yourself in the best possible light to the outside world.
It’s not about how much you spend
You don’t have to spend a fortune to dress well. Of course you can if you want to, but there are three simple guidelines to follow if you want to look a million dollars without spending a million dollars.
The most important is fit.
Forget sizes - they’re inconsistent and, frankly, a nonsense of the clothing industry. I own garments from the same store that are wildly varying in size, from XS to L. Don’t let a number or a letter on a label uplift or depress you. Only wear what fits you well.
Following that, it’s fabric.
If you find something for £10 in TopShop that’s 100% cotton or 100% wool, it’s a perfect fit and it aligns with your future self, it’s a safe buy. In most cases, natural fibres will be the most comfortable and will wear better, giving you greater value for money over the long term.
Finally, it’s about function, which is whether what you’re wearing is appropriate for the occasion. If in doubt, follow Oscar Wilde’s timeless advice: “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”
Knowing that the fit, fabric and function of what you’re wearing are en pointe will help give you the confidence you need to succeed.
Confidence will get you everywhere
“You can have anything you want if you dress for it.”- Edith Head
Confidence is positive self talk. It has nothing to do with what you may have already achieved - or not achieved. It is believing in any given moment that you are capable of the things you are setting out to achieve. That you deeply and genuinely believe that they will happen.
To be confident, you need to substantiate what gives you the right to claim that confidence.
For example, if you’re speaking or presenting your work in front of a large group you can remind yourself that:
You’re an expert in your field. You’ve studied and worked professionally in this field for some time and you have experience and knowledge that is worth sharing.
You have spent hours preparing your presentation. You know the content is valid and of interest to your audience.
And you know that you will be perceived to be an expert because of how you are presenting yourself physically as you stand up in front of the group.
How you dress is a critical success factor in thinking and acting with confidence. What you wear won’t make you successful in and of itself, but how the clothes make you feel can.
Presenting yourself in the best possible light helps support a positive inner dialogue to grow your confidence and your ability to realise your goals.
Five things you can do right now to ensure you’re dressed for success
Reflect on your goals and what you’re trying to achieve, and then reflect on your style. Is how you’re dressing going to get you where you want to go? Is your style supporting your mission, or holding you back from achieving it?
Evaluate how your clothes fit, or ask for feedback from an expert, or a trusted friend who dresses well. Fit is everything. While quality clothing that’s made well in a first class fabric is the ideal, even the cheapest of clothes will look good if they’re a perfect fit. If it’s not a perfect fit either have it altered by a quality tailor or get rid of it (donate it to charity or sell it if you think it’s worth the effort of listing it on eBay) and, if it forms a core part of your wardrobe, replace it with a new version that fits you perfectly.
Don’t save your best clothes for special occasions. Work out what you wear most often and invest in the best quality versions of those things that you can afford. For example, if you wear jeans every day, go to a department store that has a great denim department, speak to the jeans expert on staff, and get their help in choosing the best possible pair of jeans for you. Make your everyday wardrobe as great as it can be to enhance your confidence in yourself on a daily basis.
Dress for your body shape. Accept who you are, regardless of size or any hangups you may have about yourself, and make the best of it. You are who you are, and no amount of wishing you were different will change it. Sure, you may be able to make health or lifestyle changes over time, but for now: Accept it, own it, rock it.
Seek expert advice. It can be hard to see the wood for the trees when you’re dressing yourself, and it’s even harder if fashion isn’t your ‘thing’. Like with many things in life, the devil is in the detail and in fashion it’s all about getting the nuances right. There are so many people who can help you and who, if asked, would love to take you shopping or give you some feedback to set you on the right path. Ask for help - you’ll probably be surprised at the positive response!
Remember, you are a walking billboard, advertising yourself. Give yourself every chance of success in achieving your goals by presenting your best self to the world. And ensure that if someone notices, it’s for the right reasons.
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Upgrading your style is totally worth it. If you'd like me to help you, just get in touch!