Whether we like it or not, the way we present ourselves to the world makes a big difference in the outcome of our day to day lives. I know. That’s a pretty bold (and unpopular) statement. But it’s true, and I’ve seen it first-hand. The way we dress says something about us to the world. Personally, I’d like to make sure it’s saying something positive. I want to dress for success.
Now before you click away, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t some lecture on modesty or even dressing professionally and putting on makeup every day. Dressing for success is about finding the style that gives you confidence and compliments your goals and rocking it.
“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” the saying goes. And yet, we all do. Better yet, we judge movies and tv shows these days by the cover image and the two or three sentence description. Is it always accurate? No. Do we listen to it anyways? You bet.
Why exactly do we judge books, tv shows, and movies by their covers? Well, unless we hear first hand from someone we trust that something’s good or bad, the cover image is all we have to go off of. Because the creators of the book, show, or film are the ones who had a say in the cover art, we imagine it must be an accurate representation. And, the truth is, to some degree, it is. It is accurate to pieces and bits of the whole, but often it doesn’t give the bigger picture.
The same can be true for us. Our “cover art,” the way we dress, is presumed by onlookers, outsiders, and even those we encounter regularly to be an accurate representation of the whole. Why? Well, because we ourselves chose it, so surely we know the message we are sending and were intentional in choosing it.
The way we dress will never ever be able to tell our full story, but it can paint a picture of the type of person we are at a glance. It can show quickly what we’re about, what our focus is, and even a snapshot of our personality. Our outer appearance tells a snippet of our story, and the world expects it to be an accurate representation. That’s just the way it is.
Dressing for success doesn’t mean putting on a pant suit every morning or a pencil skirt and heels (thank goodness!). My style has evolved over the phases of my life based on my goals, focus, and season, and I’m sure yours has too.
Dressing for success doesn’t look like fitting yourself into a cooker cutter style. You don’t have to conform or dress like your class mates, your siblings, your friends, your coworkers. You were meant to be unique! Instead, it means being intentional about choosing to dress as the person you are with your goals, dreams, and values in mind.
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I am not a fashionista. I never have been, nor will I ever be, but I feel a difference within myself when I choose to dress for success and when I just throw on the easiest thing or dress to meet others’ expectations.
Dressing for success means dressing in what brings you confidence in your current season while keeping your goals in mind.
I’m living out the perfect example of this at my workplace now. My workplace’s dress code is business casual. However, because the company is like a family and there’s a casual comfort level there (which I love!) it sometimes leads to a more relaxed dress code. But while I have no problem with my coworkers dressing more on the casual side of business casual, I found that when I tried to go that route, I didn’t feel as good.
You see, in my current season, I am a noticeably young girl in a company where the majority of my coworkers have at least ten years in age on me. I graduated college early, so I’m even younger than your typical first-time employee. For both myself and the people I work with, it’s important that I dress for success.
By dressing in my blazer or blouse and heels, I feel more confident in myself. It gives me a self-reminder that I am supposed to be here, that I’m not a kid anymore, and that I bring value to the table. When I see myself in the mirror, I feel strong and mature. And it helps my coworkers take me more seriously, too. I don’t try to dress older than I am, but I do aim to look professional so that my age becomes unimportant to the work we’re conducting.
But I haven’t always walked around in business-casual attire. As part of the high school worship team at my church, I had a whole different style. It was edgy but modest. I wore comfy sneakers and black jeans with t-shirts and jean jackets or a plaid shirt around my waist. I did cool braids in my hair. It was a fun style that gave me confidence leading worship on stage and fit that season of my life.
You see, it’s not about having a certain look. Instead it’s about finding the look that works for you in this season and rocking it. Whatever gives you confidence and supports your goals, wear that!
Dressing well really accomplishes two things.
So what are you waiting for? Go find that style that’s uniquely you, that fits your season, and that reflects your goals!
Not sure what all that means for you right now? That’s okay! Take a few minutes and reflect. Maybe even write out where you are right now and where you want to go. Consider what season you’re in and what your vision is for the future. Pay attention to what you feel most confident in, and go for it. Spice it up, and try something new. Find that style that reflects who you are and what you value.
You have so much potential and such a bright future. Get out that and rock the style that matches YOU!