Dressing the part: are your clothes sending the right messages?

In the wise words of Mark Twain, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society”.

Now, jokes aside chaps, your clothes are working harder than you might imagine. Your clothes say a lot about who you are and how you want to be seen. For centuries, they’ve been used as a social and economic indicator of status. They are tools for fitting in – and standing out. Factors like colour, tailoring, brands and style say a lot about you, from your job and ambitions to your emotions and spending habits.

You really are what you wear.

Science supports this, too. Several studies have shown that what we wear not only informs how people perceive us, it also influences the way we behave.

So, is your dress code sending the right messages?


Lacking a lady in your life? Before you blame the calibre of conversation on your go-to dating app, take a good hard look at what you’re wearing. Colour, brands and tailoring could be standing in the way of you and your soul mate.

Take colour. Humans have different emotional experiences with different shades and respond to them subconsciously. Red can signal passion, dominance and courage, while blue is almost always associated with calmness and tranquillity. Black implies a sense of luxury and is often perceived as powerful, mysterious and serious. So, choose your colours wisely.

Styling can be a huge turn off too. According to a recent survey, 66% of women say wrinkled clothes are a big turn-off, 55% say socks and sandals are a BIG no-no, and ill-fitting trousers are an instant no-go.

Meanwhile, sharp tailoring, pressed collared dress shirts and fitted sweaters are instant wins. Sure, they might accentuate your broad shoulders better, but they also send a clear message that you pay attention to detail, you take pride in yourself and you’re in control.

So, gents, why not suit up for some instant sex appeal?

Business associates

Gone are the days when success took the form of a shirt and tie. Today’s most successful leaders and CEOs sport a wide array of looks. Richard Branson is a fan of an open-neck shirt, pressed trousers and a well-fitting blazer. Ayman Hariri, founder of Vero, is well-known for his sharp, polished styling. Mark Zuckerberg is renowned for his minimalist wardrobe, namely the grey t-shirt and hoodie.

But they all have something in common.

Every one of them has a ‘uniform’ that has been carefully considered to influence how they are remembered.

Our top tip for you, gents? Cultivate a uniform that makes you feel like Superman and stick with it.

That might mean donning more formal attire in a business casual setting to create a subconscious boundary between you and your employees. Numerous studies have found that wearing more formal attire can make you feel more self-assured and improve your performance too.

Alternatively, that might mean opting for a more relaxed dress code to encourage openness and creativity. Dressing like your audience can help you appear more trustworthy, too.

The right clothes will help you earn a place in people’s memory and command the respect you deserve.


First impressions matter, and you only have one chance to get it right. It takes just 30 seconds to form a long-lasting opinion of someone. How do you want people to perceive you? Confident? Trustworthy? Affable?

Unlike the clothes you choose for the boardroom, psychologists say the aim here is not to stand out. It’s human nature to think favourably of people who are similar to us. Dressing in similar attire to your peers sends a powerful message that you are just like them.

So basically, don’t be the guy who turns up to a casual birthday in a three-piece suit.

However, you also want to convey specific character and personality traits.

For instance, when it comes to jeans and trousers, outdated cuts might suggest you are outdated or, worse, don’t take care of yourself. Desert boots might suggest you have a more adventurous and spontaneous side, while brogues indicate that you’re someone to be taken seriously.

The devil is in the detail.


Calm down, no one is going to tell you to forgo your Saturday morning gym pants any time soon.  (In fact, some research shows that slipping into active wear makes you more likely to exercise and acts as a reminder to make healthy choices.)

But you also want to make sure you’re sending the right messages to your loved ones.

‘Dopamine dressing’ is the art of dressing to feel good and improve the mood of those around you. That means choosing colours that excite you, experimenting with textures that make you feel a certain way and wearing accessories that capture your personality.

So, embrace the sherbet lemon shirt, soft cashmere sweater and statement sunnies for an instant mood lift – you’ll be doing the whole household a service.

Conclusion: Dress to impress

It’s easy to write off clothes as shallow, but style is about so much more than getting dressed. The right clothes affect the way we see ourselves. They could be the difference between a bad date and a great one, a promotion, a win in the board room and a row-free weekend with the little ones. 

Pop into your favourite store for a consultation, and we can help make sure you’re sending the right messages, whatever the occasion.

Author: Gary Sweeney