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!
Special event: Register for Nam’s FREE webinar on “Smart Shopping” on January 20th, 2018
Description: Learn how to declutter your wardrobe, shop your own wardrobe and how to shop mindfully for a more sustainable closet in 2019
Stay tuned for Nam’s guest blog post in February, on “Wardrobe Staples for the Working Woman”
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
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