How clothes make you look powerful

How Can Clothes Make You Look Powerful?

How can clothes make you look powerful? When I coach clients on how to appear more confident, they immediately think of body language. They want to know what body language gestures they can use to project confidence and power in the office.

Of course, body language is important. It does play a major role in creating a confident image. But people are often surprised when I explain that body language is not the first thing others will notice.

When you meet people for the first time, it’s your clothing and outfit they will notice first.

So how can you project confidence with your outfit? How can the clothes you wear make you look powerful in the office?

1. Darker colours project more authority.

So choose a suit in charcoal, navy, or black for the office.
Image courtesy of Chatham House/ under Creative Commons license. No changes were made to this image.

Image courtesy of Chatham House/ under Creative Commons license. No changes were made to this image.

2. Choose dark jeans in a casual office.

If you work in a more casual environment and you often wear jeans to work, choose a pair of dark jeans or mid-tone jeans instead of light.
Image courtesy of adifansnet/ under Creative Commons licence. No changes have been made.

Image courtesy of adifansnet/ under Creative Commons licence. No changes have been made.

3. Use high-contrast colours to look more powerful at work.

High-contrast colours make you stand out. If the base colour of your outfit is dark, incorporate a lighter or brighter colour shirt, jacket, scarf, shoes, or other accessories.
Dress to look confident

Image courtesy of FinancialTimes/ under Creative Commons licence. No changes have been made to this image.

4. Lift your level of formality to look more powerful.

Lift the level of formality in your outfit to increase the amount of confidence you project. If others in the office wear jeans to work, put on a pair of chinos or tailored pants instead.
Image courtesy of: Ambro/

Image courtesy of: Ambro/

5. Choose solid colours for work attire.

The more pattern you wear, the more it will detract from your image, and from your message. Aim for clothing that has a solid colour so people concentrate on you.
authoritative look

Image courtesy of Fervent-adept-de-la-mode/ under Creative Commons License. Graphics added by Kara Ronin.

Your clothes are a resource that you can tap into and use to project confidence in the office.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, your outfit is the first thing others will notice. Once you’ve mastered confident styles and outfits, you should turn your focus onto your body language. But, let’s leave that for another time.

Now I want to hear from you. Do you have an outfit that makes you feel incredibly confident? Describe this outfit in the comment section below.

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Learn how to create an executive wardrobe, build the know, like and trust factor, network better, and improve your conversation skill in Business Etiquette 101: Social Skills for Success. Click the below image to find out more.

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About Kara

Kara Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions. She is an executive coach who specialises in leadership presence, social skills and business etiquette. She is also the creator of Bestselling Udemy course, Business Etiquette 101. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Muse, The Local France, The West Australian, and more. Kara works regularly with lawyers, investment bankers, and finance professionals to help them build presence, authority and influence in business. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox