Top 5 Reasons to Prioritise your Style

 

By Nam Jayasinghe

Personal and Editorial Stylist at N Style Dreams

 

If all the world is a stage and we are all just actors in it (thanks Mr. Shakespeare), do you think that just saying your lines and using body language is going to cut it in getting you that Tony award? Costuming – or “wardrobe styling” as it’s called today – is critical to the success of any performance and this is true for both the stage and in real life.

You don’t have to be a trendsetter or a “fashionista” to have a strong personal style. In fact, elements of a good sense of style are as simple and timeless as dressing appropriately – for your profession, for your body, for your age, for the weather and most importantly, for the particular event that you are attending.

Here are the top 5 reasons why putting thought into your wardrobe before setting your foot out the door could be the missing ingredient to your career and personal success:

1. Make your first impression count

According to Forbes Magazine*, it only takes a tenth of a second to make a first impression. How are you ever going to get to a favourable position in any negotiation, if a negative impression has been made before you even open your mouth? First impressions are made so quickly and so unconsciously that the only way you can control the outcome is by getting your visuals right. You might not be able to change your genetic makeup but remember, you don’t have to be good looking to have great style. Fashion really gives you the power to make a great a first impression; regardless of your age, race, gender, socio-economic status or how blessed you are in the genes department. It is the one great equalizer that will level the playing field for you when you walk into that job interview, get on that presentation podium or sit down at that business meeting. So, think about your fashion choices carefully when you are tossing up between getting dressed up or down for your next important event.

2. Win friends and influence people

Have you struggled to engage with others at networking events? Perhaps you are the one coming across as closed off and therefore not connecting with who you want to connect with. Did you know that opening up the area around your neck (e.g. by wearing a V-neck or unbuttoning your shirt collar) makes you look more approachable to others? This goes back to primitive times, where humans exposing their jugular area were seen as being more vulnerable and therefore more approachable. Interesting details in your outfit can also be great conversation starters. I can’t tell you how many great collaborations have started because people came up to me at an event, to ask me about my outfit! Looking for the perfect icebreaker at your next event? Why not try wearing a statement ring, necklace or neck-tie? Wearing something with a little personality (e.g. a Star Trek insignia pin) is a great way to introduce yourself through your outfit and connect with others with similar interests.

3. Dressing is believing

Fashion can really build – or destroy – your credibility, when you most want to come across as trustworthy. Think, is your wardrobe backing up what you’re saying about yourself, when you’re in the middle of a well-rehearsed elevator pitch? Could your potential clients believe that you can rake in millions for them in sales, if you’re dressed in jeans and a t-shirt? (Mark Zuckerberg is probably the only exception to this). Could your future employers believe in your attention-to-detail, if you show up to a job interview in a crumpled top? Think about the company culture and the style of dress that would make you most believable in your role (a little background research on Google won’t go astray here). According to research cited in The Atlantic*, wearing a suit can make you think more like a leader, while wearing a white coat can make you think like a doctor. In other words, dressing the part gives you credibility to act the part, not only in the eyes of others but in your own mind as well.

4. Dress for your next role… and you’ll get it!

This one might sound a little cliché but it is nevertheless very true. I once had a client who was already doing the work at his company, managing multiple projects across different states. His job title still remained as project manager (same as those managing one project in one location) and he was heading for career burnout. It all changed when, after a styling session with me, he started dressing for his next role. Instead of the standard dark suit, dark tie, white shirt combination – he started power dressing. I introduced colours, textures and prints into his work wardrobe and created complete looks for him; coordinating his suits and shirts with his ties, pocket square, socks, shoes and belts. The effect was almost immediate. It started with compliments from other employees in the elevator on his way to his desk, to him being promoted to a service delivery manager (a role befitting the work he had already proven he was capable of doing). Sometimes a visual nudge is all the higher-ups need, when a new role pops up and they try to think of who to move into it!

5. Be your own business card

In this day and age, when even your cat has an Instagram profile, having your personal brand down pat is everything. Your signature style can be a strong part of your visual identity; one that is so memorable, that it’s even handier at creating new opportunities for you, than handing out your business card. Your peers, future clients, potential new friends and dare I say it, even romantic interests may remember you for that powder pink pantsuit you wore, long after they have lost your contact details. They might want to reconnect with “the guy with the cool lapel pins” or “the lady in the cuff earrings” and even when they can’t quite recall your name or your face; they will rush to say hello, the very next time they recognize you by your signature style. Trust me on this. I’m a stylist!

 

Nam Jayasinghe
Nam Jayasinghe
Photo by Maja Derbogosijan

 

Special event: Register for Nam’s FREE webinar on “Smart Shopping” on January 20th, 2018

Link: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/swap-style-clothing-swap-and-styling-webinar-tickets-52251806560

Description: Learn how to declutter your wardrobe, shop your own wardrobe and how to shop mindfully for a more sustainable closet in 2019

 

Coming soon

Stay tuned for Nam’s guest blog post in February, on “Wardrobe Staples for the Working Woman”

 

*References

Forbes Magazine

https://www.forbes.com/sites/serenitygibbons/2018/06/19/you-have-7-seconds-to-make-a-first-impression-heres-how-to-succeed/

The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/04/wearing-a-suit-makes-people-think-differently/391802/

Photo Credits

Cover Photo by Cleo Vermij on Unsplash at https://unsplash.com/@cleovermij

Photo of Nam Jayasinghe by Maja Derbogosijan at https://www.relicphotography.com.au

 

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Nam Jayasinghe is a professional fashion stylist based in Melbourne, Australia. She specializes in personal, editorial and special event styling. Nam has had the privilege of styling runway events, hosting styling suites and styling VIPs for red carpet events. She has also had the absolute pleasure of styling many a private client for their work and social commitments. You can find out more about Nam, including her personal styling packages and styling masterclasses at www.nstyledreams.com.au

14 thoughts on “Top 5 Reasons to Prioritise your Style

  1. Nicely written article. I’m a firm believer in dressing for the role you want. There’s something about mindset there that is tangible. When you dress the part, you feel the part. I don’t know how many times I’ve been way more productive just by changing my clothes and getting going. Nice point about “being” the business card. I’m gonna use that. Nice article!

    1. Thank you for your feedback Eric! It’s amazing what an impact your clothes can have – not only on others but on your own self-esteem. I’m glad you’ve learnt something new from my blog post and I wish you all the best with “being your own business card”. I hope you take your signature style to the next level!

  2. Hi Nam!  I’m obsessed with fashion and I love this post! Great points on how your attire can be a conversation starter at a party or networking event. I never knew having an unbuttoned collar or v-neck can make you more approachable but when I think about it, totally makes sense! Thank you so much for sharing! I’m looking forward to what you will share next! 

    1. Hi Sarah! Absolutely, we are always giving hidden visual cues with our attire and our personal style is a great way to control the outcome. Thank you so much for your feedback and I’m glad you’ve learnt something new from my blog post. In my next blog post on Ihliksir (planned for mid-February), I will be talking about “Wardrobe Staples for the Working Woman”. You can find more of my original blog posts on my website: http://www.nstyledreams.com.au

      Enjoy reading and you’re welcome to attend my FREE webinar on “Smart Shopping” on January 20th:
      https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/swap-style-clothing-swap-and-styling-webinar-tickets-52251806560

  3. This is really interesting. Thanks for sharing an informative and educative article. I know I am the only one who has learn from this. This is a must read for everyone as it will help us to prioritize as we go about our day to day activities. I will strongly share this post to my friends so they can get educated.

  4. I really like your tips in this article and to be honest they are just common sense things that I and many other people would not even think about.

    Seeing  a man or a woman in s suit with an  unbottoned collar  does show confidence and approachability  think about it  so for myself , who attends networking events, this is a very good  tactic to maybe use!

    1. Thank you for your feedback Darren! I’m so glad you found my blog post helpful. Remember to take dress code into consideration when putting the “open neck” styling tip into practice. If it’s an event where you are required to wear a tie, you obviously can’t unbutton your shirt collar. On the other hand, for a smart casual or business casual dress code, you could combine a v-neck t-shirt with a blazer, for a similar effect. All the best for your next networking event!

  5. Hi!

    I have to agree with you about your point with dressing the part and you’ll get it. The way we dress from day to day definitely affects our attitude and the way we are perceived. 

    Wow! I never thought about the small details though like wearing a low collar shirt when I want to be approachable but it makes sense. Thank you for that tip I will have to remember that one next time I’m going to a party or business meeting. Of course, how low will depend on the occasion. 

    So I have to ask. The man who got the job promotion. When he started to dress differently, was the emphasis placed on getting more colors into his wardrobe? 

    If I wanted to start power dressing, what would I need to focus on?

    Thanks for sharing this post! 

    1. Hi Tina, thank you for your feedback! I’m glad you found my blog post helpful. With the male client I mentioned, it was the combination of colour, texture and marrying different details to create a coordinated look that made him stand out. We also improved the quality of his suiting and other garments, so that he was getting more out of his investment for longer (and making a great impression at the same time). In your case, I would start by focusing on getting some coordinates in (power suits don’t have to be dark and conservative for women, you can really have a play with colour and silhouette) and auditing your wardrobe to make sure you’ve got a good balance of basics and statement pieces.

      If you would like a personal style consultation, feel free to email me on nam@nstyledreams.com.au. Otherwise stay tuned for my February blog post on “Wardrobe Staples for the Working Woman” on Ihliksir. You might also be able to pick up some styling tips on my FREE webinar on “Smart Shopping” on January 20th:
      https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/swap-style-clothing-swap-and-styling-webinar-tickets-52251806560

  6. Hey Nam, great advice! I’ve been reading a bunch of books lately about how acting like you already have what you want and who you want to be help you become that person. Do you think dressing for the part you want is the same thing? I definitely agree that first imressions subconsciously influence how people view eachother for the remainder of their relationships.

    1. Hi Brian, thank you for your feedback! I’m glad you found my blog post helpful. Dressing the part is a very important component of “acting the part”, for all the reasons mentioned in the article. I think it’s very important to work on the soft skills (confidence, communication, body, language and your presentation) as well as the hard skills (your expertise, qualifications and experience), when you set out to achieve your goals . I also believe that having a vision for yourself drives you towards achieving those goals and one way to communicate this vision to others (and yourself) , is through your personal style. I hope that answers your question!

  7. Wow Nam, your article gives me great inspiration. I think my wardrobe is outdated a long time ago. Your tips really started me thinking, like opening up the area around your neck to be more more approachable. Wearing a Start Trek insignia pin? That’s crazy, but will for sure start a great conversation. Beam me up Scotty! Thanks for giving notice of your webinars, I signed up for the first one.

    1. Hi Paul, thanks so much for that amazing feedback and for signing up for the webinar! I think you will get a lot out of it, in terms of how to audit your wardrobe and let go some of those outdated items in 2019. I will also be talking about how to restyle your wardrobe but since my audience for this webinar is primarily women, the styling tips are catered more for them. Having said that, it will still retrain your brain on how to look at your existing wardrobe differently and consider mixing and matching in ways you haven’t thought of before (your wardrobe might not be as outdated as you think!). You will also pick up important tips on how to shop smarter, when you are ready to invest in new wardrobe items. Star Trek fans are crazy but there are more of us out there than you would think. Live long and prosper!

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