I recently read a newsletter and blog by an awesome coach for high powered women. In it, she talked about ‘letting go of the idea that I need to be suited up to be perceived as credible in my own eyes and in the eyes of others’. The best part of this article speaks about the goal of showing up as your true self in the world. I definitely agree and have devoted my professional and personal life to advancing this concept. However, she also states her belief that “if you are truly comfortable in your own skin, what you wear over it will not impact your presence or effectiveness.” Here she and I differ – there is too much research out there that shows definitively that what you wear does impact both your presence and your effectiveness. Not necessarily inwardly, as you carry your self-confidence with you, but it definitely impacts your communication with others. Context is everything and it’s important to be aligned with yourself and the context within which you’re operating.
It’s true that there are a number of ways to appear credible without wearing a suit and I encourage everyone to find their best way of expressing themselves and caring for themselves by dressing appropriately for themselves and for their personal context. What you wear absolutely matters – we need you to show up as your whole self and need you to be just as effective and present as you can and your wardrobe choices can help you do that. What are your thoughts? Do you ‘suit up’ according to the context or do you express yourself differently?