It’s easy for me to talk passionately about what a difference your image makes when it comes to career success – I see and hear about the successes from our clients on a daily basis. But I want to share an article published just 3 days ago by BBC Reporter, Kate Hope which references rigorous research conducted by Professor of Psychology, Karen Pine from the University of Hertfordshire.
Karen Pine has commissioned several research studies into the subject of dress and psychology and each time has been able to evidence it’s impact. Here are a few of her conclusions:
“What a person wears has a big impact on others’ impressions of them and on their subsequent career opportunities. She says women whose work-wear is “slightly provocative” are judged to be less competent and therefore less likely to get promoted. Likewise, a man in an off-the-shelf suit is judged as less successful, less confident, and less flexible than his counterpart who wears a tailor-made suit.”
“There is also growing evidence to suggest that appearance does not just affect how a person is perceived, but even influences how they perform.
Ms Pine points to a German study that asked people to describe their character traits when they wore either formal or casual clothing. She says they were more likely to describe themselves as neat and strategic when in smart attire, and as easygoing or clumsy when dressed casually. Similarly, she says an airline that experimented with casual dress went back to uniforms because the employees felt more confident when they dressed formally.”
So it’s also about it’s affect on mindset – how you feel. Exploring this a bit further, Ms Pine found “People unconsciously take on some of the characteristics and attributes associated with the clothing. Just this year my research found that wearing a Superman t-shirt affected how physically strong people thought they were and how superior they felt to others,” she says. (For a full copy of the BBC article click here).
I don’t propose that you wear a superman t-shirt for work, but I would suggest that you give some thought to how you feel when you choose your clothes each morning. As Ms Pine’s findings show, being well dressed and looking ‘polished and professional’ can go a long way. You may see it as an inconvenient truth, but what you wear really does matter.
If you’d like help developing your personal brand and refining your image to support your career aspirations please do get in touch.