There’s a saying that goes – “Power dressing is combat gear for the trip to the top”.
In this article, you will learn the Art of Power Dressing – How To Build Success With Your Style as well as the Importance of Dressing How You Want To Feel, and NOT How You Feel.
Power dressing refers to a style of clothing intended to convey the impression of competence, confidence and high self-esteem, especially in professional settings (but can be applied in all areas of your life).
Succeeding in the corporate or business world (as well as in LIFE) involves very few components: Education, Experience and Skill. This 3 key “tools” may get you the job, but when you add Appearance and Power Dressing to the mix, then you are well equipped to keep your job and continue your journey up the ladder of success.
According to a web dictionary, “Power Dressing is explained as a style of dressing intended to show that one holds a powerful or important position in business, politics by wearing formal clothes.”
Why does the concept of ‘power dressing’ still feel outdated in this day and era?
A lot of people would argue that “wearing what you want” is 21st-century power dressing. Some people would advise others, saying – “You should dress how you feel, and nobody should dictate what you should wear or not wear.”
You are correct, nobody should!
But nobody’s going to respect you for dressing in a shabby way or when you wear a “nice” outfit that doesn’t fit your body type, complement your skin tone or doesn’t give people the right impression about you.
As you know, we should all dress how we want to be addressed.
If you deliberately want to wear bad or ill-fitting clothes, would you like what that says about you? I doubt that.
-WHAT POWER DRESSING IS NOT-
Power dressing doesn’t necessarily mean dressing in an expensive clothing style, however, the impression you create as a result of your dressing style (irrespective of the dress code) is always going to project power, luxury, expensive and confidence. This concept is called the HALO EFFECT, and I’m going to talk about it in a bit.
True power dressing is about demonstrating mastery of personal style, not an ostentatious display of wealth (otherwise called peacocking). It’s showing that you know how to play by the rules, and bend them to your will in order to project the best version of yourself at all times.
It’s knowledge and understanding of what’s appropriate: not dressing like a petty employee when you’re the boss, and not dressing ‘for your dream job’ when you’re still stuck with a menial one. Because knowledge, after all, is POWER. You’re probably familiar with the saying, “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.”
SHOULD YOU DRESS HOW YOU WANT TO FEEL OR DRESS HOW YOU FEEL?
Rather than dressing “how you feel”, I would say – Dress “how you want to feel”.
For a lot of people, the way we dress (when not trying to impress anyone) usually reflects our emotional state – which could be “happy”, “sad” etc.
If your emotional state is a sad one, you do not want it to radiate through your appearance ‘cos it may be detrimental to the image you wish to project (a winning image).
This is because the impression you make on people is a function of how you look or dress. This concept is called the HALO EFFECT.
There is something about the Power of Clothing, and how anyone can use it to influence people the right way, build confidence for yourself and help you get what you want out of life. This is the fundamental of POWER DRESSING.
In summary, anyone who intends to portray a winning image at all times must learn to use “Power Dressing” and the “Power of Clothing” to his/her advantage to make a great impression and this means Dressing How You Want To Feel and not “How You Feel”!
Here, I’ll outline six precepts of contemporary power dressing – ones that should be taken into consideration by every classy gentleman who’s ready to update his status.
6 PRECEPTS OF CONTEMPORARY POWER DRESSING
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#1. GOOD SUITS
The classy gentleman understands the importance of well-fitted suits and jackets, how it should look and feel. Charcoal grey, navy blue, and the black suit should be the foundation of every gentleman’s wardrobe. They are versatile and perfectly acceptable for all business occasions, therefore when building your suit wardrobe start with these.
Suit Style Tips:
- For a two-piece suit, you should keep your suit jacket fastened when walking or standing but you unbutton it when you want to sit.
- For a three-piece suit, when wearing a waistcoat, leave the bottom button undone.
- Go for a one or two-button suit, never go for three except you are over 6ft5 in height.
- Double-breasted suits are good suit options for power dressing. They are statement pieces that speak volumes and it takes one with a knowledge of style, confidence, and a perfect fit to pull off the double-breasted suit, which is why many don’t try. But you should wear them on days where you want to make a bold statement with your suit.
- However, if you are on the big size, you should avoid double-breasted suits, they add bulk to your frame (and won’t flatter your look); neither should you wear your double-breasted suits unbuttoned – that would be sacrificing “style” for the sake of comfort. Not acceptable!
Additional Suit Style Tips:
#2. CRISP WHITE SHIRTS
A crisp white fitted dress shirt is a man’s greatest and powerful sartorial tool. Simple, classy, versatile and the epitome of gentlemanly elegance. Every man should have at least one.
As a power dresser, you should have at least one or two French cuff shirts (also called the double cuff) in your closet. However, for your first 3 dress shirts, it’s best to stick with more versatile barrel cuffs (also known as button cuffs).
Shirt Style Tips:
- Your shirt sleeves shouldn’t be more or less than 0.75 to 0.5 inch past the end of your Jacket sleeve.
- If the tail of your shirt is above your wrist or stops mid crotch, you should always leave it untucked. However, if the tail of the shirt is below your wrist or enters the palm of your hand, you should ensure it is tucked in.
- The seam at the top of the shirt sleeve shouldn’t go past your shoulder, it should be in-line with the top of your shoulder.
- White shirts should look white, bleach them or throw them out if they start to turn grey or if they’ve got permanent stains.
- Buy dress shirts that take collar stays, this will keep the shirt collar in place and ensure it looks crisp.
- Your shirt should be cleaned and well-pressed at all times. No wrinkles.
- If you are not a fan of all-white shirts, include some other solid colours such as light pink and light blue – they are the most versatile shirt colours.
#3. GOOD SHOES
When it comes to this I’m not just talking about good shoes but also a clean one. They say good shoes take you to good places. Irrespective of the fact that it’s an idiom, it can be very literal.
As a Power Dresser, you should take care of your shoes ‘cos if you don’t, that’s a good sign that you don’t take care of your business.
In summary, your shoes are your signatures, people can assess your personality based on the kind of shoes you are wearing and how clean you keep those shoes.
So always remember to keep your shoes clean, and go for the classic shoes, from brogues to oxford, or tasselled loafers. Consider first quality, then style, then comfort!
Shoe Style Tips:
#4. A GOOD WRISTWATCH
A wristwatch is more than just a timepiece. It’s a piece of jewellery that can be used to make a fashion statement.
What does your wristwatch say about you?
A gentleman’s choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his suit. Therefore, as a power dresser, you should go for a good quality wristwatch. Also, have in mind that simplicity is the keyword for maximum versatility.
Watch Style Tips:
#5. A GOOD COLOGNE
The second thing that makes an impression after the way you are dressed is how you smell.
As a power dresser, the way you smell is one of the best ways to make a great first impression.
Some people don’t use perfumes at all, and that’s bad. There is a perfect scent for everyone, you just need to find it.
For some others, they don’t know the usage/application limit. You need to understand that too much fragrance is a turnoff. Some people either don’t have a very good sense of smell or they’ve become desensitized to the fragrance they wear every day, hence the problem.
How much cologne should you apply and where should you apply it?
Here are two links below that teaches you how to pick a good cologne and how to apply your signature scent for the best projection and impression.
#6. GENTLEMANLY BEHAVIOR/MANNERS
The first point to take note of here is BE CONFIDENT.
CONFIDENCE is how you feel about yourself and the way you carry yourself.
The way you carry yourself is influenced by the way you feel inside, therefore if you aren’t so confident in yourself, you need to boost your confidence.
Here are some gentlemanly behavioural trails and manners you should adopt to distinguish you as a power dresser, helping you project the best impression.
- Stay up to date with current affairs, so you always have something to talk about during conversations.
- A gentleman is never rude to anyone, he treats everyone with respect. Be courteous, be polite and show professionalism at all times. Everyone is equal and deserving of respect.
- Learn how to keep secrets and your word should be your bond. As a true gentleman, the words you speak have value and are biding. They reflect who you are and your actions would prove whether you are trustworthy or not.
- A gentleman is always punctual, pays attention to details and always takes responsibility for his actions.
- Master how to keep your cool in difficult situations. The ability to stay calm under pressure or in a difficult situation can mean the difference between success and failure. Train your brain to help you stay calm under pressure and in stressful situations as it will help you lead a healthier and happy life.
Be a cool, calm and collected gentleman at all times. It’s achievable, all you need is some daily practice.
If you have a mastery in everything just said, you’ve just earned your first degree in power dressing, but then, there’s still a long way to go. After all, learning is continuous.
Conclusively, pay special attention to GROOMING ESSENTIALS.
With respect to your grooming – your hair, nail, and your scent are on top of this list. Keep your nails clean and neat; and definitely, you want to smell good always because you never know who you would meet.
Thank you for stopping by.
Till you hear from me again, continue to do well, live well and dress really well. Be Classy, always!
Yours in Style,
Kobi O. Mbagwu (Mr. Kobi)
Founder, KOBI KOACHMAN
Connect with me
My name is Kobi O. Mbagwu, a professional image consultant, menswear style expert, and entrepreneur who uses fashion, style and clothing as key tools in transforming ordinary men into extraordinary classy gentlemen.
My personal goal is to help gentlemen dress better, live well, do well and develop a unique personal style that matches their lifestyle and goals.
I believe that success can be built through style. I believe that fashion is a tool that can be used to change people’s lives positively. I also strongly believe that if you dress well, you look good, and if you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you worry less, and the less you worry the more you are able to stay motivated and focused on your goals pursuit and by so doing you are able to live a more fulfilling and successful life.