Why dressing like a CEO no matter your job level will prime you for career success

Morsa Images/Getty ImagesDressing up could increase your productivity.
  • Dressing up can increase productivity and self-confidence, research suggests.
  • This is especially important for employees looking to move up in the ranks, like interns or prospective hires.
  • If you don’t earn enough to buy expensive suits, there are still ways to make sure you’re dressing up for work, no matter your position.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Think of dressing up as one of your keys to career success.

In fact, studies suggest that employees who want to make an impression might just need a closet makeover. For instance, a 2014 research project found a group of students wearing Superman T-shirts rated themselves as physically stronger and more likeable.

Another study showed that employees of varying income levels and backgrounds who wore suits and blazers were more productive at work: “People who wear that kind of clothing feel more powerful,” study co-author Michael L. Slepian told The Wall Street Journal. “When you feel more powerful, you don’t have to focus on the details.”


Read more:
How to dress your best in any work environment, from a casual office to the boardroom

For interns and people looking to get ahead in their careers, dressing up becomes especially important. Experts warn dressing down is one of the most crucial mistakes you can make while networking or when making a first impression at a new company. As for interns, career coach Ryan Kahn told Business Insider it’s better to be the best-dressed intern than to be known as the one who is too casual.

Yet figuring out what to wear to the office isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Interns or entry-level employees looking to make an impression aren’t earning as much as CEOs, making their business-formal shopping options more limited. To make the most out of a tight budget, try purchasing just a few quality items instead of a bunch of low-cost clothes. Other experts suggest you spend 5 to 7% of your income on clothes.

“Work-appropriate styles do not change much year to year,” Lauren Bowling, an editor at the Financial Best Life told Business Insider in 2018. “So, provided you remain around the same size, investing now in some basics can sustain your wardrobe for years to come.”

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