There was a time when the term ‘power dressing’ was used to refer to the use of expensive, fine quality clothes with hard and sharp lines to make men look angular and assertive. But things have changed at least 180 degrees since then. It is no more about the cost of the suit; it’s about the cut, the tailoring of the suit that makes a better impression.
When it comes to power dressing, the confusion is shared by both young and mature people. The situation becomes even more acute in the corporate world where it is an indication of your professionalism. Power dressing along with office etiquette plays a great role in your professional success, often acting as currency to barter goodwill.
So forget the baggy, boxy, ill-fitting suits of yesterday and say ‘hello’ to slimmer cuts, lighter fabrics and straighter lines, after all we are talking about power dressing.
Here’s what you need to know to look like a CEO.
Dress for The Job
Today we live in an era where your clothes speak volume about you. The old proverb, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” has become a rule in the corporate world and you will do well by sticking to it. Power dressing is all about projecting the right image. So if you want a million bucks, look like one.
Remember that conservative careers need a conservative dress. And unless you want to look as radical, always dress according to your work. It is true that the corporate dress code has become a lot relaxed over the past few years, but power dressing still remains in effect. Although most organizations relaxed their dress codes during the dot-com boom to attract the younger generation, the current trend is back to suits and organizations are now asking young employees to dress more conservatively.”
With the vast array of shapes, shades and textures of suits available today, it is quite natural to get confused. The Golden Rule to follow here is: Wear a suit that perfectly fits your body type and personality.
Weight does Matter
As mentioned, the days of bulky, heavy suits are gone for good. The weight of your suit fabric has certainly dropped these days. Manufacturers are now using lighter wool for both winter and summer suits.
The fabric is made from a finer and smaller yarn and there is certain elegance to it. The suits no more hang stiffly on you; rather they drape perfectly to enhance your body shape. The appearance and texture of the modern suits are also different. The surface of the texture looks and feels so conspicuously lighter that you can comfortably wear them during the warm summer months.
The goal is to wear climate-friendly clothes. While a navy pinstripe suit is the ultimate power dressing item, you can wear lighter colors during summer and still project power. If you live in a tropical climate, you can wear any color you want as long as you stick to lighter fabrics and compliment your look with custom made shirts. That reminds us, short-sleeve dress shirts are long dead so don’t bother to wear one at work.
Style Steal: Instead of a navy pinstripe, wear a two-button charcoal gray pinstripe suit with single-pleat pants looks classic yet contemporary as office wear.
Focus on The Color Wheel
Navy, charcoal, and black probably defines the larger part of the color wheel for power dressing. However, there is enough room for experiment and add a dash of color if you are bold enough. Besides, if you can manage to pull off different colors seamlessly, it can certainly add personality and charm to your look.
Depending on your contrast, you need to find the perfect suit-and-shirt combination. For example, high contrast (whose hair color greatly contrasts their skin color) men should opt for a dark suit like black or blue coupled with a white dress shirt or a blue dress shirt with a charcoal gray suit. Similarly, if you have light hair and light skin combination, an earth-toned or dark blue dress shirt combined with a dark suit works best.
If you are up to it, you can even wear an olive green suit or a suit with white piping and purple lining to work and still look put-together.
Be Bold with Ties
Your power dressing is incomplete without a tie. When it comes to your tie selection process, the first rule to follow is to match your tie with your shirt even before you decide on the suit. Your wardrobe must include some striped and solid colors ties that are stylish yet conservative. Remember funkier patterns and designer ties may make your look more aggressive at work.
In fact, be very careful with your accessories. Keep it minimal with an elegant pair of cufflinks, a quality watch, a pocket square, leather belts and a pair of quality leader dress shoes.
Get The Right Fit
A suit that fits you perfectly not only looks great but also connotes confidence and authority. Here’s the formula for a perfect fit suit –
Though the jacket should not crowd the shoulders, it must be smooth against your stomach when buttoned. Likewise, the pants must drape in such a way that a clean line is created from the top to bottom of your suit.
A bespoke suit is your best option when it comes to right fit. These suits are made to your particular body shape and size and reflect your personality if made correctly. Many men buy off-the-rack designs and then get them tailored for the right fit. Though it is the great idea if you lack the time or money required for a truly bespoke suit, these off-the-rack items cannot meet the perfection offered by custom-made suits.
Power dressing is not just for your boardroom or trading floor to impress your clients and boss. It can probably help you impress anyone you have your eyes on. But clothes alone won’t take you far. You also need to wear the right attitude; to look like a million bucks you need to act like it too. The right clothes, however will make you feel a lot more confident, which means winning half the battle.