An successful professional tennis player, Arthur Ashe, once said: “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
It really is no secret that self-confidence is one of the best attributes any person can have.
So, let me ask you: how is your self-confidence?
Pretty high… somewhat low?
I am sure that even those of you who consider themselves to be pretty self-confident, still could use a little self-confidence boost.
Not to mention the others, those who suffer from a very low confidence, or even a certain lack of self-esteem.
But it doesn’t necessarily have to stay this way. There are several things you can do about it.
For today I am going to focus on a single one:
The way you dress can influence the way you feel about yourself.
You just have to be prepared for it.
What if I told you that making a very simple change in the way you dress can lead to this needed self-assurance boost? Believe it or not, wearing a suit can increase your confidence in ways that you probably haven’t think of before. Please keep reading, we’ll get there… First, the basics.
The Relation Between Clothes and Confidence
You are what you wear – a fact that has been repeated time and time again after many psychology studies. I don’t want to go too deep into this subject since this simple blog post would easily turn into a book.
In fact, books have even been written about this mere reality, like Mind What You Wear: The Pyschology of Fashion. (Recommended to anyone willing to go deeper into this theme).
So let’s take this for a fact: the way we present ourselves has a direct effect on the way we feel about ourselves.
Whether it is a positive or a negative effect depends a lot on the clothing choices we make for ourselves. Better be careful.
Sure, some of you might say: “Oh I’m OK with the way I dress. I have absolutely no confidence issues – I am all about comfort when I dress, so leave me, my t-shirts and jeans alone.”
I am in no position to declare whether someone is confident or not. But even the most confident of you out there could benefit from that extra assurance that dressing well can provide.
Furthermore, the way we dress definitely makes a certain impression in the people we encounter everyday. We are judged everyday by the way we look and these judgements will, ultimately, influence directly the way we feel about ourselves.
So let me ask you: why don’t give it a try and see what dressing well can do for you?
How A Suit Can Increase Your Self-Confidence
Now that we have talked about the fact that clothes are in fact, very important. Let’s go a step beyond and get more specific for this blog post.
My Dapper Self is a blog about men aspiring for a dapper style and lifestyle and I am convinced that suits are an integral part of what a dapper lifestyle (or fashion) is about, so obviously this is where I’d like to focus on.
I am positive many of you will find this topic very close to your hearts. But for those still on the fence, this will surely help you go for it!
The Journal of Experimental Psychology has published studies demonstrating that the clothes we wear can, in fact, influence how we behave and act.
Furthermore, our capacities also seem to be affected by our choice of garments.
According to their experiment, people who wore white coats that they believed to belong to doctors, performed better on tests than people wearing casual, street clothes or those who thought the coats belonged to artists. Apparently, what we wear dictates how we will perform in a certain situations just by playing the part.
That’s how awesome our brains are.
Now let’s look at these findings from the suit perspective: wearing a suit with the right mindset, that is, by believing this outfit belongs to a successful person, will have a direct impact on our abilities and capacities, not to mention our self-confidence.
A Suit Improves Your Posture
A well-cut suit that fits you the right way will help your posture as you go about your daily life. This is achieved not only by the suit’s cut itself, but also by any man’s tendency to stand up straight and walk correctly while wearing a suit.
Try this: Go out in for a walk shorts and sandals, then put on your best fitting suit and go for another walk. Compare the different postures you adopt for each outfit: the way you stand, the way you walk, the position of your shoulders and back, but mostly: the way you feel.
Given that the suit fits, your slouching will be somewhat reduced and you will, as an effect of this, look and feel more confident. Give it a try!
People’s Opinions and Impressions of Men in Suits
It’s been said on countless occasions and by many, many experts: people judge other people by the way they dress.
Is this fair?
Nope, probably not. This is indeed a very superficial way to judge people. But we know life’s not fair, so we gotta learn how to make the most of it.
To be specific to what this blog post is about, I’ll be very clear: there is no better outfit for a man than a suit and tie in order to project a confident image to people around.
Try this: Go to a restaurant in your best suit and tie, see how people react to you, how they address you, and the type of service that you will get. Now compare this experience with the last time you went in a very casual outfit out for dinner. I guarantee, people will notice your appearance and treat you accordingly.
Trust me, you’ll feel like a million bucks, and what else comes with this great feeling?
Yep, increased self-assurance.
(See also: Dressing Up in a Casual Office)
Look Good, Feel Good
Yes, other people’s opinion on how you look and the way they treat you when wearing a suit is important.
But what’s more important is the way you feel about yourself.
Make sure you are wearing a suit that fits correctly and is comfortable. You will definitely feel much more confident about yourself, your attitudes and even your capacities when you are looking your best.
For some quick, additional inspiration read My Dapper Self’s ultimate list of dapper quotes.
Warning: Avoid The Opposite, Negative Effect
Let me say it again: yes, wearing a suit can increase your self-confidence.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that any suit will give you this fantastic outcome. There are external factors to mention too.
As long as you are careful enough with how you put your outfits together, you’ll be mostly safe, but you still better be prepared.
The most significant factors that can hinder your efforts are the following:
- Fit: the suit you wear must fit correctly. Too tight and you’ll hardly project any confidence will dealing with how uncomfortable it is. Too baggy, your posture and appearance will suffer. Always go for a good fit – and if needed – get some help from an experienced local tailor who should be able to take care of any fixes your suits need.
- Own your style: You look great, you feel great. Some people will probably question your tendency to dress up so constantly, because let’s be honest, most people these days dress terribly and many of them will just love putting you down. Don’t feel like you need to justify why you dress the way you dress. Just ignore any negative comments and move on. You have more important things to focus your attention on. Do you have a particular love for bow ties? Wear them with confidence and ignore the unjustified negative myths bow ties have always faced.
- Don’t overthink it: once you are dressed in your best suit, which fits great and you feel comfortable, it is time for you to go out and conquer the world with confidence. If you keep overthinking how you are dressed and how your outfit looks all the freaking time you will end up feeling very stressed and lose all signs of self-confidence. Stress is a self-confidence killer.
Take Action Now
Now you have some good reasons why you should at least consider upgrading your everyday style of clothes and also a few things to consider so you can be 100% successful in your attempt.
If you are convinced – or at least believe – you could use an uplift in the way you feel about yourself, there is nothing to lose: give suits a try, they might make you feel you can achieve any goals you have.
For those who are already there…. what has been your experience like? What positive changes in your self-confidence came as a result of your choice of clothes? I’d love to hear real stories from all of you and get the discussion started. Leave all your comments below!
Need help? I will soon be launching personal style coaching services for men, where I will offer all my help and knowledge in the subject to make sure you reach your style goals and any other objectives you might have in mind. I highly recommend you join The Dapper Tribe by subscribing to my Newsletter so you can always stay informed.