Why It's Important To Dress To Impress

“If I dress professional, then I act professional.” –Kimberly LaMantia, senior in college.

Your appearance gets you many things in life, a job, a date, a dirty look, detention, or acceptance. Simply, your appearance builds your persona.

A mother and father bringing their child home, from the hospital, find the perfect outfit for their child to enter into the real world. On your first day of preschool, your parents or guardian search frantically for the perfect outfit that will set you on the right path. Your outfit is a depiction of their parenting style. A child with a neatly combed head, a fresh pair of shoes, and an ironed outfit persuade the other parents to believe your family is living a “picture perfect life.” As you get older and the decisions soon are able to be yours, you’ll spend hours going through your closet to piece together the perfect outfit. It’s always about who is wearing what name-brand, who has the perfect accessories, whose makeup looks airbrushed, or who’s wearing a wrinkled shirt and mix-matched socks. Pops of color, multiple ear piercings, floral design—the way you dress yourself allows for you to embrace your individuality.

“You want to make a good impression on the people you are working with because they will be more in tuned to work with you. In my field, there is a lot of networking to be done. When I go to network with people or schools, I want them to take me seriously. Especially since I look so young, I want to show people that I am a professional and know what I am talking about. I also work with adolescences, so I dress professional, so they look at me as an authoritative figure,” said Jessica Heredia, a senior in college. A good impression will ultimately determine the rest of your relationship, be it with a perspective job/client, boyfriend, or new friendship. Even by not talking, others perceive you by the clothes you are wearing and guess what they believe your personality is just by what you’re wearing.

“The way you dress open many doors for you. Completing high school and entering the workforce, I have realized how much your outfit depicts your persona. Though I would much rather prefer to wear loose-fitting sweatpants when I work 12-hour shifts, I simply cannot because my self-image influences the way customers view my company,” said a senior in college, Zoe Martin. “Growing up, I was usually in uniform. I didn’t really have a sense of what to wear and what not to wear. In 2016, I started working for a boat company inside the Wrigley Building. I worked very closely with the owner’s daughters who would dress business casual in sweaters, dresses, and slacks. It made me start dressing very business casual. Before I got the job, I would usually always just wear leggings and/or jeans and a t-shirt to class.” Martin is the face of the company; when clients come through the door, the first person they see is Martin at her desk. The way Martin shapes her persona, persuades the client’s first impression of the company. Working so close to ownership, Martin must prove herself through her image because every boss only wants employees who will create a positive impact on their company.

Kimberly LaMantia remarks how her daily clothing foreshadows her daily character. “As a second-semester senior in college, I finished all of my classes, and now I am working full-time at an internship. I decided that, after I got the internship, I wanted to start dressing more professional then how I used to dress going to class. I started shopping more at Express and even cleared out a certain section, in my closet, for my internship clothes. Getting ready each day for my internship in the morning, and dressing more professional, has made me feel more like an adult. I feel if I dress professional, then I act professional.”

Dressing in a blazer, for a day, at work or lounging around the house in polka-dot pajamas, each example demonstrates who you are and what you’re feeling at that very moment. Dressing business casual doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive either. According to Vogue, the 2018 fashion trends are outfits filled with mashed up colors, smaller purse sizes, and patterns and images. Living through the 21st century Boho chic trend, dressing professional has become a lot less boring and a lot easier. Step away from believing dressing professional means you have to wear neutral colors, start mix-matching a pink blazer with dark blue jeans. Shopping at stores like Charlotte Russe, Fashion Nova, Windsor, H&M, and Old Navy will help get you a bang for your buck with prices for blazers between $25-35 compared to Macy’s $89.98 price.

                                                                                                             Image from Charlotterusse.com: Collarless Open-Front Blazer, $32.99

“Dress to impress and dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”Jessica Heredia.