Controlling the Environment
When faced with an important task, our performance is affected by different factors. First, our skills and preparation. The more important the task is for us, the more preparation is conducted for it. However, if you’ve ever been in such a huge undertaking, be it a presentation, report or social gathering, you would know that skills and preparation isn’t enough.
We are also highly affected by our physical environment which is why we attend meetings 30 minutes before the schedule to check the vicinity. We have early call times on events to ensure everything we need is in place. We have rehearsals for important events like weddings. We know that the best way to control our lives is to take control of things that control us. Apart from our skills, another thing we can easily control is our clothing. We can control where we buy our clothes, the type of clothes we buy, and how we groom ourselves.
Still in doubt? Look back and remember the first time you applied for a job. Didn’t you make it a point to look as presentable as possible, even if it was an entry-level position? You did it for several reasons.
First, the most obvious reason: You wanted to make a good first impression to get better chances of getting hired.
The less obvious reason: Admit it, when you put on that business attire, especially for the first time, you think to yourself, this is it, I’m going to be a professional. The more impressive the company or position, the better dressed you are, the more confident you feel. Your clothes dictated how you would feel when you stepped into that interview. Now, imagine yourself in the same interview, except that professional shirt wasn’t available, and you were left to wear something you would have worn in the mall. It would alter your confidence as quickly.
It’s because your clothing not only influences others’ perception of you. It also affects how you see yourself and, ergo, how you behave and perform during that interview or at work.
It’s Not Just Business Wear
Because I work in an outsourcing and creative industry, we require our staff in Coffeebot to wear uniforms only 3 days a week. It’s either a short sleeved collared shirt or a printed round collared shirt. That’s it. The rest of the week, they’re free to choose what they want to wear.
Doesn’t it defeat the entire reasoning behind clothes have power? Well yes and no. Yes, clothes have power. And because they have power, they can affect how our people work. Encouraging our staff to wear clothes as they choose encourages creativity on the outside that reflects on their output. It also stamps the culture we want to establish in the company, which is one of openness and acceptance. We want to make sure they’re also comfortable in our office, and with what they wear. If there are no client calls, or need to face other people where they might be misinterpreted, we encourage their freedom of choice.
Why do we still impose uniforms on the other days?
Because apart from a culture of acceptance, comfort and creativity, we wanted to remind everyone that we are one unit. Working in a single office, seeing each other donning the same logo reminds everyone that we are a single team. We should act and function as such. They are not just individuals, we are a single company, helping each other, and representing the brand. We acknowledge this. We want to give our staff a sense of belongingness and ownership. When they wear our logo, it doesn’t just show they are proud of their jobs, but that we are proud to have them represent us.
“The Tighter the Belt, the Less You Eat” and other Applications
I believe I am a size XS, therefore, I am a size XS. Whenever I gain weight, I resist the urge to buy clothes a size bigger. In fact, I still buy the same size or one slightly tighter, and I continue to wear them no matter how uncomfortable. No, it’s not a fashion choice, it’s a practical one. There is no better reminder not to overeat than a tight belt… or clothes. Besides, buying a bigger size is also an unspoken surrender to the weight gain. The old clothes inspire me to lose the weight I gained over the holidays. I get to save, plus, it’s easier for me to get back to my original size.
Bringing gym clothes to work is the new gym. No, not really, but if I needed motivation to work out, I buy some gym clothes and bring them with me to work. They already cost a lot of money I don’t want to waste. If you already have a gym subscription, you have your gym clothes, and you even brought them with you. Whats stopping you?
Give a girl the perfect pair of shoes and she can conquer the world. I guess you can say I like shoes. I’m not sure when it started but I knew I needed to have the perfect shoes for every occasion or mood. Yes, I also have flats. I wear them when there’s a lot of walking involved for the day, or when I feel like I want to be sweet. But when it comes to work, whether I’m training or in the office, I always wear high heels. It’s probably not applicable for everyone but I feel different in stilettos. I feel more powerful. I feel it transforms me… transforms my body, my language and my attitude. I live the saying “Never underestimate a woman in red lipstick and high heels.”
Bottom line, whatever clothes you wear, make sure they’re comfortable and they bring out the best in you. Wield its power to get that job, ace that test, finish that project or get the love of your life, but remember. Clothes are tools to represent who you are or who you want to be. If you use it as a form of pretense, the real you will surface once you open your mouth.
With great power comes great responsibility.