When you’re an entrepreneur, putting money into your wardrobe instead of your business probably doesn’t jump out as a great idea. While it’s natural to be apprehensive about spending on new business attire, what you wear can have a dramatic influence on your success in life. The right outfit can help in all kinds of professional situations. The good news is that you don’t even need to spend a ton of money to great.
Why Does It Matter What You Wear?
What you wear is important for two reasons: How people perceive you and how you perceive yourself. You make your first impression the moment people look at you, and one way they judge you is your attire. Imagine you’re meeting with two potential suppliers for your business. The first is wearing a well-tailored suit, and the second is wearing sweats with a musty old T-shirt. You may not make your decision then and there, but the well-dressed person certainly has an advantage, because they’re projecting professionalism.
Wearing certain types of clothing is proven to improve confidence levels and cognitive function. Those in suits tend to negotiate more effectively than those in leisure clothes. Even though you may feel the same no matter what you wear, your attire affects you at a subconscious level.
How to Choose the Right Business Attire
With business attire, it’s important to base what you wear on what’s appropriate for your industry. For example, in the finance industry, a suit is a common part of the dress code, and wearing anything less could leave you looking unprofessional. The same isn’t true in the tech industry, where people wear more casual clothes. If you wore a suit to a meeting there, you may look completely out of place.
You can find out what’s industry-appropriate with a little research, and then build your wardrobe of work clothes. When in doubt, business casual is a popular style that looks professional in most settings. All you need is a few pairs of slacks and long-sleeve, button-down shirts. It’s also a good idea to have two pairs of dress shoes, as shoes last longer when you don’t wear them everyday.
Dressing Well on a Budget
Upgrading your wardrobe is a little harder when money’s tight, but it’s still doable. Start by figuring out how much you can spend and what items you need. Shop around online and check when department stores are running sales. Thrift stores and online used clothing sites are also excellent sources of inexpensive professional wear. If you buy any used clothing, consider having a tailor alter items to fit you better. A good fit makes your clothes look much better on you, and the cost of used clothing plus tailoring is often still cheaper than buying a similar item new.
While it’s important to dress appropriately for special events, formal wear can be costly, and it’s something you don’t wear very often. One cost-effective alternative is to try a clothing rental service where you pay to borrow clothes as long as you need them.
Putting together a professional wardrobe can take some time and money, but once you do, you project the right kind of image to everyone you meet.