April 5, 2024


The Power of Dressing Up: Why It Matters Every Day

By: Leah Nalepa

In a world where comfort often seems to trump style and convenience overrides elegance, the art of dressing up every day is gradually fading into the background. Casual attire dominates workplaces and Zoom calls, and sweatpants, casual tees, and athleisure become the unofficial uniform of weekends even when going out. However, amidst this casual revolution, there remains a compelling case for the importance of dressing up daily. Beyond mere aesthetics, the way we dress profoundly impacts our mindset, behavior, and even how others perceive us. Here’s why trying with our attire every day holds significant value:

1. Boosts Confidence: The way we dress directly influences our confidence levels, mood, and behavior. How we feel about ourselves will have a direct influence on how we treat others. Wearing clothes that make us feel good about ourselves can elevate our self-esteem and attitude towards the day ahead. It’s not just about looking good; it’s about feeling empowered and ready to take on challenges that inevitably come, in or outside of the office. It’s Easter Monday as I write this, and work is the last thing I feel like doing. But putting on an outfit that I love and that improves my overall mood dramatically helps me feel like I can accomplish the things I set out to do well today.   

2. Enhances Professionalism: Whether it’s a formal suit for the office or a polished ensemble for a client meeting, dressing up communicates professionalism and competence. It demonstrates respect for oneself and others, conveying that we take our roles seriously and are committed to excellence. Take for example a financial advisor. A potential client most likely wouldn’t work with an advisor if he or she showed up to the first meeting with a messy, wrinkly, ill-fitting suit. If they can’t take care of themselves, how would they take care of a potential client’s financial portfolio? Conversely, if the advisor arrived to the meeting with a crisp, clean, pressed ensemble, with a genuine demeanor, the potential client’s likelihood of trust that the advisor could take care of their finances would be much higher. 

3. Fosters Discipline and Routine: Cultivating a habit of dressing up daily instills discipline and structure into our lives. It sets a positive tone for the day, signaling to our brain that it’s time to switch from relaxation mode to productivity mode. Dressing up (which can be changing from pajamas to jeans and a nice top) can serve as our ritual for gearing up mentally and emotionally for the day.

4. Improves Productivity: There is a psychological theory which suggests that the clothes we wear can influence our cognitive processes. Similar to boosting our mood, dressing up can enhance our productivity based on what we wear. When we dress up, we’re more likely to adopt the traits associated with our attire. For example, wearing formal attire can enhance focus, attention to detail, and critical thinking—all crucial elements for productivity. Likewise, dressing like the future person we want to be would dress (manager, CEO, etc.) puts us into that headspace and brings that future self to the present.   

5. Impacts Perception: Humans are visual creatures, so whether we like it or not, people judge us based on our appearance. Dressing up sends a message to others about who we are and what we represent, what we care about. It commands respect, admiration, and credibility, influencing how we’re perceived in professional and social settings. 

6. Preserves a Sense of Occasion: In a culture where everything seems casual and ordinary and more or less the same, dressing up adds a touch of elegance, flare, and specialness to everyday life. It turns mundane activities into memorable moments and encourages us to celebrate the beauty of the ordinary. It can literally add color to where there was none, and bring showcase personality in meetings, outings, or dates. 

7. Cultivates Personal Style: Arguably the most important point is that dressing up allows us to express our creativity and individuality. It showcases our innate qualities, and beauty as humans. Dressing up is an opportunity to curate our personal style, experiment with different looks, and showcase our unique identity to the world without saying a single word.

Dressing up every day isn’t merely about adhering to societal norms or impressing others; it’s about honoring ourselves and embracing the transformative power of clothing. It takes time and effort, but once it’s routine it becomes an easy habit to adhere to. By making a conscious effort with our attire, we cultivate confidence, professionalism, discipline, and self-expression—all of which contribute to a more fulfilling and empowered life and world. Let’s reclaim the lost art of dressing up and rediscover the joy and significance it brings to our daily existence.