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Dressing for success: Is streetwear the new power suit?

28 April 2016

Since the 70s we’ve been talking about how to “dress for success”, with what we wear communicating a strong message about us as a person. This message – if we want to be successful – has predominantly been about wearing a power suit. You know the one, well fitting, Italian design, strong shoulder structure and shiny shoes to match. But in this day and age, many chief executive officers and high-level business people are bucking this trend.

Dressing for success - Branson style

Rather than wearing what author of “New Dress for Success”, John T. Molloy, calls “conservative suits, shirts and ties”, CEOs and executives are electing to wear jeans, t-shirts and sneakers; designer label, of course. Just think Richard Branson, he lives in jeans and exudes success. So is streetwear the new power suit?

Branson believes that both suits and ties, when worn in the office for the sake of ‘office wear’ are nothing more than "a uniform that no longer has a purposeful use". Success to Branson is not denoted by how you dress, but more by how you think. And he’s not alone.

Styled to perfection

Men’s style expert Stephen Doig notes that many have “bucked the trend”. While it is popular for movie stars and musicians to sport individualised attire, it is not until recently that the business world has followed suit. American President John F. Kennedy was one of the first to truly impart his own personalised style onto his business-wear, and it quickly made its way into mainstream fashion. In fact, according to Doig, jeans that are well-cut, a stylish tee and a character laden jacket simply ooze success.

Why? Well it’s not what you wear – but how you wear it that defines who you are. If you’re confident, display attention to detail, and present yourself as a stand-out in a crowd, then you too will appear successful to those around you.

So how can you dress for success?

These seven tips will make sure you’re always on trend.

  • Wear flashy colours but don’t flash skin
  • Show you care with regular wear rather than overdressing and overbearing
  • If you must wear a suit then you also need to display your personality
  • Think neat and complete not sloppy and eccentric
  • Forget trends – stick to what you know you like and you’ll never be out of style
  • Remember that casual is the new “easy-to-relate-to”
  • There’s a fine line between sexy-smart and inappropriate – walk it with finesse

If you are looking to enhance your success or change your career, then you may like to consider further study. To find out where online study with SCU Online can take you, give one of our student enrolment advisors a call today on1300 589 882.