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Dressing For Success

Why Conscious Dressing is the key to upping your success.

We've all heard the saying, Dressing For Success. Back in the 80s when this was a big mantra (think Working Girl with Melanie Griffith), Dressing for success meant, looking like everyone else who did what you did (or what you wanted to do, i.e. dress for the job you want). It meant donning the "uniform" of your profession. Success was defined as fitting in, not rocking the boat and certainly not being yourself (horror of horrors). I, myself, a proud graduate of Katherine Gibbs School, back when it was renowned business school churning out, guaranteed professionals who walked the walk and 100% looked the part, was fully trained in Dressing For Success (we got sent home for having a run in our stockings or if our skirts were too short).

Fast forward a few decades, mindsets have definitely shifted and Dressing For Success seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle of retiring Boomers, coming of age Millennials, self-starters and entrepreneurs starting businesses in their garages or basements and post epidemic work-from-home zoom-life. Hoodies, and leggings and t-shirts abound. The only success many people achieve is putting on pants at all.

Its my belief that the answer lies somewhere in between these two extremes. What's the questions? How can I dress for success without loosing my individuality. The answer is what I call Conscious Dressing and it’s the foundational building block for Dressing For Success in this new age.

Conscious Dressing is the marriage of, what do I need to feel supported today, and what do I need to accomplish today, then putting together an outfit that blends those two needs into an appropriate look. Conscious Dressing allows you to be the best version of you, so you can show up authentically and successfully for others. It says my needs are important, but I honor others as well. Both are vital to success. One without the other creates an imbalance that can carry through to all areas of your life.

So, that being said, WTF are you supposed to wear? Its not as hard as it sounds, I promise. Say you are an investment banker. Its Monday morning, you had a busy weekend full of soccer games, errands and chores. You feel like you never stopped and took a break. You are feeling a bit frazzled. At 9 a.m. you have a meeting with a longtime client, and back to back calls to drum up new business. Since your meeting is with someone you have an established relationship with, you can probably get away with not wearing a suit. Score! Some decent slacks that are comfortable and a fun patterned button down shirt or a soft polo style shirt, nice leather loafers, and top it off with a sport coat, to keep things professional. You've provided yourself comfort, both physical and emotionally, with the slacks and shirt but balanced it with some classic professional pieces to keep you looking and feeling like a guy who can handle other peoples money.

Now you may be saying, I wear something like that now and don't put much thought into it. I say, AHA! And that's the kicker. There is a significant difference between doing something mindlessly and doing something consciously. By being mindful about your choices you are telling yourself you are worthy of the effort. And frankly, it feels different, knowing you chose specifics things to support yourself, carries through your day and allows you to be more available to someone else's needs.

When you are feeling supported and can be available to help others, success is achieved and it all starts with Conscious Dressing.


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