Can the Way You Dress Determine Your Success?

Dress for success. I am sure many of you have heard this statement before but is it really true? Can the way you dress determine how successful you are in your position?

The answer is yes. The way you dress not only helps boost your perception of yourself but how others perceive your success. Past studies have been done on this subject and the results are all the same. A professor at Northwestern conducted a study with 58 undergrad students to figure out whether or not the student’s success could be swayed by the way they dressed. Half of the students wore normal street clothes and the other half wore white doctor’s coats. The results concluded that the half wearing white coats performed significantly better at mental tasks because they felt more confident and professional. This may have been based on how others perceived them in the more professional dress or that they felt more confident in themselves.

Obviously each day you walk into a warehouse, job site or climb into a truck you won’t be wearing a white lab coat but what you choose to wear may affect you more than you think.  The phrase “properly dressed” is a broad guideline that may be hard to follow or even start to follow, especially if the company you work for has not laid out a dress code. This may be even harder if you drive a truck and know that you won’t be seen by many people during your work day or work on a job site and know you will get dirty in the span of the day. But many people have commented on this subject and say that they feel better about themselves when they dress up for the work day.

A recent discussion on the Women in Trucking Facebook group talked about just this. A woman talked about how she had fallen into the routine of dressing in whatever she could find, whether it was her PJs or just sweats and a tee shirt to drive her truck on a given day. She found herself resenting going to work that day because she didn’t feel put together and felt dressed more to sit on her couch all day. She then began working for a company that had an “appearance policy” in place that laid out how employees should dress for their work day. She said that she felt more professional and more successful working for this company than she ever had.

The power of dressing obviously has an impact on the way you perform at your job and the way that others perceive you in your position. What do you think? Should there be an “appearance policy” in play at companies to enhance success for workers?