Whether we like to admit it or not, style reflects the way people look at us.
Felicity Small from Charles Sturt University conducted a study on how consumers base judgments and first impressions on our clothing choices.
The conclusion of the study showed that consumers will instantly judge others based on their clothing choices.
You may have heard the term “dress for success,” and to this very day, it’s true. If you know you are a strong leader, you need an outfit to match.
Some of the best outfits that empower and support memorable leaders are timeless looks that look classic, effortless, and don’t overpower them.
So what are some ideas you can use as a style reference to look like a leader?
Take a look at some of my favorite best-dressed CEOs and why their outfits work for leadership roles.
Focus On Core Colors
Bold colors can be great, but they aren’t always best for meetings or work attire. When you stick to core colors, the look becomes classic that you can wear for years.
It’s nice to follow trends when you are outside of work, but dressing like a leader means you need to focus on colors and styles that will not go out of style quickly.
The best thing about focusing on core colors is adding additional pops of color or print to give it some flair and personal style. You’ll get thousands of looks by using this approach.
Take A Look At Jennifer Rubio
What does she do right? Jennifer Rubio sticks to core colors that modestly accentuate her figure. She exudes confidence in her outfits and is easily one of the best-dressed CEOs.
How to Copy The Style
Focus on one to two pieces that are core colors. You can use these to mix and match, giving the look your own personal look.
In the fashion world, structure means having a distinct shape. The best way to incorporate structure is through suits or dress pants. Owning a power blazer is a must as a leader.
Unlike flowy material that changes shape as one moves around, a suit is a structured piece that will hold its strong shape throughout the day, which is perfect for a busy leader. It also looks best for photos and video.
Though slouchy is comfortable, it can often give the wrong impression or come off as too feminine or sometimes disheveled.
Take a Look At Mellody Hobson
What does she do right? Mellody Hobson wears a bold colored suit that gives her power. She rocks the power suit like no other and is a prime example of feminine leadership style.
How to Copy The Style
Since no one is wearing full pant suits anymore, invest in a great blazer instead. You can add your own shirt underneath and still exude the confidence you are looking for.
Fit Is Key
One of the most important things to take away from this article is to focus on the fit. You can have the best power suit in the world, but if it doesn’t fit well, it will not make you feel good.
An ill-fitting suit may end up making you look scruffy and less like a leader. Often, you will find pieces that are amazing but do not fit right, especially right off the rack.
One thing that sets Next Level Wardrobe apart is that as both a stylist and an image consultant, I advise all my clients on the fit- if it’s suitable for them and what alterations that they need.
Take a Look At Melissa McCarthy
What does she do right? Melissa is the queen of getting the fit right. Every outfit is perfectly tailored to her body. This helps her appear professional consistently.
If you have ever wondered what the secret to looking out together is all the time, the answer is in the fit. And yes, it’s absolutely worth it to invest in a great tailor.
How to Copy The Style
The first step is finding a great tailor, they should be a part of your ‘CEO Dream Team’ to help you look your best every day.
One common misconception that I hear often is that clothing should fit off the rack- it’s just not true.
Because of the way the fashion industry operates behind the scenes, they’re creating garments for the average body shape that shops with them- it’s just impossible for every item to fit you perfectly right off the bat.
Getting alterations is very common, about 95% of my clients need some sort of alteration whether it’s the shortening of a pant, sleeve or taking in the body.
Cassandra Sethi is a NYC Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. After working over 15 years in the Fashion Industry, most recently as a Senior Buyer for Equinox, she created her business, Next Level Wardrobe – a luxury personal shopping service for successful professionals. Cassandra’s been featured in Greatist, Livestrong and NY Mag.