I’m not going to lie, the term POWER SUIT makes me cringe a bit. Yes, the right suit can help you look powerful, at least if it fits you perfectly, but just donning a suit does not by itself do the job. There are other pieces to the puzzle. So if you're going into a situation where you want people to sit up and take notice when you walk in, read on for 4 easy tips on how to manage your appearance.1) Straight lines and angles in patterns and clothing silhouettes signal authority. An easy way to apply the former is with ties: the tie above left is much stronger because of its angularity than the tie to the right with its curved lines. For silhouettes, you can see this everywhere from glasses, to suits, to sport jackets (if you wear glasses, my article on how to choose glasses frames is a must-read). For example, a squared-off jacket shoulder is more commanding than a soft shoulder. 2) Adopting the posture and body language associated with dominance, can change not only how others perceive you, but also how you feel about yourself. Check out this fascinating TED Talk by Harvard Professor and social psychologist Amy Cuddy. According to her research, if you spend just two minutes in “power poses” before going into an evaluative situation like a job interview (you can do them in a bathroom stall), the benefits will be considerable.3) Dark colors in general, and high contrast color combinations like deep navy and white, are commanding and will cause others to perceive you as powerful (that’s why a tuxedo is typically black and white).4) Crisp clothing textures are more authoritative than rough textures. So if you are going into a situation where you want to be received that way, you should wear a crisp suit, a pressed and non-textured dress shirt and a smooth tie.The nice thing about looking more powerful is that it actually causes you to feel that way, and that in turn affects how you act, causing you to take more "leader-worthy" steps. Of course, the flip side is that many leaders can appear too dominant, without having communicated warmth in a way that allows them first to build trust with the people they are trying to lead. Stay tuned for more on how to fine-tune your image so that you strike the perfect balance.
There's a lot of great info out there on what to wear for dates, but not so much for a high-level business role like CEO. Whether you're looking for a C-suite position or you already have one and want to dress the part (this can define your relationship with your staff), your appearance is key to your success.Appropriate attire will vary based on the type of business environment you are in. A Fortune 500 company is likely to have a much more formal dress code than that of a smaller tech company, which, in turn, is apt to be even more dressy than a start-up. Below are eight tips on how to dress like you run things:1. Dark colors and straight lines signal authority. So a navy suit and with a strong shoulder and a red tie connote power and authority. For the smaller tech company or a culture where you want to be slightly more approachable, it might be a textured red tie with polka dots and a navy blazer. (Tip: many websites allow you to shop by color, which is a great time-saver.)2. High contrast color combinations are perceived as powerful (that's why a tuxedo is so eye-catching); just make sure you're not wearing too much contrast for your own natural coloring.3. For dress shoes, opt for lace-ups over slip-ons. You'll gain credibility that way.4. While we're talking footwear, it's important to keep your shoes clean and well-maintained. Find a great shoe guy and take your shoes in as often as needed for polish and retooling. Here in Manhattan, my go-to is The Leather Spa.5. Get good haircuts. A lot of guys discount the importance of a great scissor cut, but it can truly make or break your look.6. Invest in high quality accessories like a leather carry-all or portfolio. You'll use these things everyday, so it makes sense to spend a little more on them, as your cost per wear will be lower.7. Make sure your clothes fit right. A good fit not only flatters your body, but it also shows that you've taken the time and effort to make yourself look good, and that you're aware of where and how to choose clothes that suit you.8. Have confidence in your choices. For example, if you decide to wear socks with an interesting pattern or a color you've never worn before, dive right in. If you don't own what you wear, people will pick up on that. The absolute most important element of your outfit is confidence!