Dressing For Success

Growing up in a family of socialites with relatively popular parents and siblings, I was thrown into the world of fashion very early on.

There was a lavish celebration every other month, so every other Saturday was for shopping.

If you are Nigerian, you know the words party and fashion are not just synonymous but are Siamese twins joined at the hip. Thus, I grew up around fabrics, colour swatches and shoes; my first word would probably have been the word “Italian”.

In the In the paraphrased words of Coco Chanel, “Dress shabbily and they remember the outfit; dress impeccably and they remember the woman/man.” You however don’t have to be financially irresponsible or blindly follow every single trend in order to look good. You can work with what you have to intelligently create your own modest style and stand by it. Impressions are formed from the way we appear and as the saying goes, you will never get a second chance to make a first impression.This piece will therefore focus on things that should encourage us to show up better. Psychological

In a time and day where we are encouraged to do what we want and whatever makes us happy, I will advice you not to dress however you want. With racial barriers and glass ceilings still rife, we need to step up and dress like we have arrived to shatter glass ceilings and not to shine them.

You wouldn’t dress how you feel to a first date or ‘wake up like this’ to a national event; If you dressed to suit your mood, you will only get reactions that reflect said mood. Your dressing is an indication of who you are, your brand and what you represent so until the day humanity stops judging by appearance, be presentable at all times.

Honour It is true that our dressing can sometimes be psychological and we want to dress the way we feel. Some days we just want to feel light in our tracksuit bottoms but if you are going to be appearing before a judge and jury, meeting the parents or stepping up for an interview at a banking firm, you just don’t roll out of bed and dress the way you feel. No, you show up in regard and honour for the people you before whom you stand and what they represent.

Favour What you honour determines how far you go and people’s perception of you determines the doors that will open to you. Before people take the time to be familiar with your skills, talents and beautiful well meaning heart, your appearance speaks before you open your mouth or get to introduce yourself. Even science has proven that people make their decision concerning another person in the first six seconds of meeting them.

Authority You can command the room by your appearance; have you ever seen those movies where the elegantly dressed woman or man walks into a room and the whole room pauses as they walk in slow motion? I have always said nobody is born ugly, we just lack good branding. There is a reason why various professions have uniforms and dress codes. A uniform speaks about appearance, it introduces and gives you access before you ask for it. A police officer does not wake up one morning feeling like going about their day dressed as a stripper, neither would you authorise someone dressed as a fire-fighter to perform brain surgery on you. Uniforms can also be functional as they facilitate the wearer’s job description. Think of a fire-fighter’s flame retardant clothing or a butcher’s apron, protecting their clothing from blood and guts.

After all has been said and done though, the most important thing to consider when dressing for success are the words Polonius offered to his travelling son in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “To thine own self, be true”.