Let’s say that you need to hire a senior business analyst. The two candidates for the position have identical resumes, but one is dressed poorly, while the other is wearing a well-tailored suit. Which one makes the best impression?

If all the other factors are equal, most people would hire the well-dressed individual. Even if that strikes you as unfair, this is how our society works.

Keep in mind that how you dress matters long after the initial interview. The next time you pick out a tie and style your pocket square, you may want to consider how a professional wardrobe can impact your career.

How Your Clothing Can Impact Your Success

With every outfit you wear, you are conveying a message to those around you. When you are on a career path, you want to be sure that you are projecting an air of confidence and command every day.

Can your wardrobe truly make an impact on your success? In certain industries, the evidence clearly indicates that how you dress can greatly affect your career.

Missing Out on a Promotion

You’re a hard worker, a team player, and have documented evidence that you have contributed to your company’s bottom line. Why are you not getting that promotion?

It may be that you aren’t dressing the part. A survey from CareerBuilder found that hiring managers seriously consider a candidate’s appearance before promoting them to a higher position. Among the most common reasons that led managers to think twice included wrinkled clothes, a shabby appearance, and revealing clothing.

Losing Respect in the Workplace

First impressions really do matter. Each time you meet with new people in the workplace, they make a snap judgment about you based on business acumen and outward appearance.

In fact, research suggests that our initial impressions of people persist even after we have had repeated interactions that might disprove the original assessment. This means that if you were to dress poorly for a meeting with new business clients, they could hold onto that perception no matter how well-dressed you were the rest of the week.

In other words, you need to look professional at all times. From your well-tailored suit to your shiny metal cufflinks, your entire appearance should be immaculate.

What You Wear Impacts How You Think and Behave

Clothes can do more than simply reveal parts of our personalities. Over the years, many scientific studies have shown that we feel different depending on the types of clothes that we wear.

If you want to be a master negotiator, put on your best business suit. According to a paper in Social Psychological and Personality Science, subjects who put on formal clothing before performing cognitive tests had increased abstract thinking—which is key to long-term strategizing and creativity.

Another study asked participants to take a test with half of them wearing lab coats and the other half in regular attire. The participants wearing lab coats consistently outperformed the other group, suggesting that if we dress smart, we act smart.

How to Balance Fashion and Professional Attire

Luckily, this doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate some personal style in your professional wardrobe. You just have to find the right balance so you can express yourself while you move up the career path.

Here are a few tips to help take your style to the next level.

Know Your Company’s Dress Code

Not only should you know your company’s dress code, but you also need to understand what all the terms mean. There are many professionals who don’t quite know what their employers mean by terminology like “business casual,” “smart casual,” and “boardroom formal,” which can accidentally lead to wardrobe missteps in the workplace.

Save Risky Fashion Trends for the Weekends

If you are a man who loves taking fashion risks, please heed this advice. Work settings are generally not the place to engage in big trends. If the clothing draws attention away from your performance, it’s better left for the weekends or possibly happy hour after work.

You can still dress fashionably for the office; you just need to choose classic pieces that never go out of style. A navy-blue blazer, a gingham shirt, and Oxford shoes are classic menswear staples that will keep you looking sharp and on the top of your game.

Wear the Right Amount of Menswear Accessories

The devil, as they say, is in the details. Menswear accessories elevate your professional attire while letting you inject some personal style in the office. To add some pizazz to your outfit, you should have an ever-growing collection of menswear accessories in your wardrobe.

Polish your look with cufflinks and tie bars. These small embellishments will impress your boss and influence the perceptions of your colleagues. Who doesn’t appreciate a man who pays attention to the smaller details?

If you want to make an impression and continue to climb the corporate career ladder, these accessories help you communicate that you take your job seriously. They are what distinguishes you from the competition while adding polish and flair to a traditional suit.


In a perfect world, your performance would be only measurable for climbing the corporate career ladder. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in most companies, and it’s important that your style conveys your dedication to the job.

There’s a reason why the phrase “dress for success” is used so often, and it continues to be relevant for modern professionals. With a little attention to detail, your wardrobe choices can make it easy to continue to advance your career.