Confidence really is the key to professional success, according to a new study. Whether you “fake it to make it” or dress for the job you want to have, using confidence-boosting techniques, including how you dress, really can help you get ahead in your career.
A study of 2,000 Americans who define themselves as having successful careers finds that 66 percent admit that they’ve had to “fake it to make it” in a professional environment.
The study conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Trunk Club, a Nordstrom-owned personal styling service, examined how successful people have progressed in their careers and the impact of personal style on career development.
The study found that feeling confident is the number one step to getting ahead in your career and how a person dresses is one of the top six factors for career success.
When asked what colors make them feel most confident, respondents reported black made them feel most confident, with blue, red, white, and navy rounding out the top five colors.
“Feeling comfortable in your clothing is a simple and easy way to boost your confidence at work,” says Linda Bartman, Chief Operating Officer of Trunk Club. “We found that nearly 60 percent of people have a go-to outfit that boosts their confidence for a big day in the office.”
“When you’re in a well-fitting and flattering outfit, you can’t help but feel capable, and that confidence is apparent to those you work with.”
Many of those surveyed shared that they use their workwear to help them get ahead and nine in 10 Americans follow the adage about dressing for the job that they want to have.
For those looking to climb the corporate ladder to success, over half (55 percent) have evolved the way they dress to help them appear more professional or get ahead in their careers. And it comes as no surprise that nearly half (48 percent) say they do dress more professionally as they progress in their career.
It’s not just professional clothing that makes people feel confident either. A favorite pair of jeans topped the list as the most confidence-boosting article of clothing.
“If an office dress code or company culture allows for it, a great pair of well-fitting, dark wash denim can be a great piece for the office,” Bartman shares. “For women, you can dress up your denim with a great blouse, a blazer or tailored jacket, and statement flats or a classic pump. For men, add a great button down and a nice leather shoe to look polished in your denim at work.”
Interestingly, the respondents also expressed that a garment’s fabric impacts how professional it looks. Three out of every four respondents believe that certain fabrics look more professional. Top fabrics included silk (71 percent), cashmere (60 percent), satin (47 percent), and wool (43 percent).
“Garments made with high-quality fabrics tend to last longer and wear better throughout the day. When a man wears a high-quality wool suit or sport coat, he doesn’t have to worry about it looking wrinkled and unprofessional at the end of the day,” Bartman adds. “And when you’re not worrying about your outfit, you can spend more time solving problems, building relationships, and bringing value to your company.”
She concludes, “Building outfits for our customers to help them feel confident is what stylists at Trunk Club do every day. They understand it’s about investing in staples that fit you well and make you feel good. If you’re going to be fidgeting with a hemline or worrying about wrinkles, you won’t feel confident and that will impact the way you feel throughout your day. What you wear should serve as the backdrop for the amazing work that you do, which is what will ultimately drive your professional success.”