In a recent article from the Wall Street Journal (which should be as no big surprise) a number of studies suggest that dressing up for work in a suit or blazer could do wonders for an employee’s productivity. With the current trend we've discussed at length about regarding how casual the workplace attire has become, having actual scientific evidence to back up the old adage of "dress for the job you want" we may finally see less people wearing sweatpants or joggers to work. 

Using a number of measures, including simulated business meetings at which subjects wore formal and more casual clothing, the studies offer indications that wearing nicer clothes may raise one’s confidence level, affect how others perceive the wearer, and in some cases even boost the level of one’s abstract thinking, the type in which leaders and executives engage. The study also found that wearing more formal attire can send others a signal “about you being successful and real confident in whatever you’re doing.” Those more casually dressed, on the other side of the table, tend to back down more easily. The ones in formal attire become aware of the respect they are receiving and become more forceful as well.


This is not to say that you have to start showing up to work in a 3-piece suit if you work in a business casual environment, but the simple acts of wearing a nice blazer, the proper shoes or a nice watch can elevate not only your perceived status and value, but can also have a positive effect on your own self confidence. 

This study comes at an interesting time in my life... Recently I started dressing more casual at work; no longer wearing ties, swapping blazers with military jackets, sneakers instead of wingtips, etc. Whether of not any one noticed, I instantly felt different. I didn't feel as confident and felt people looked at me different as I walked down the street. With my confidence zapped, I noticed I carried myself differently and it even made me feel somewhat depressed. It's somewhat silly and superficial, but it's true. So don't just take the Wall Street Journal's word for it, but mine as well. Dressing for success is real and undoubtedly has a positive effect on how you feel and carry yourself. Not to say you have to throw those $100 sweatpants away, but maybe save them for wearing at home.
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