How to Dress When Starting a New Leadership Job

November 7, 2021

I’m starting a new leadership job but have no idea what to wear.

Moving up in your career is exciting, but it can also be stressful.

You want to put your best foot forward, but how should you dress?

How Style Can Help You When Starting a New Leadership Job

Photo Credit: @NextLevelWardrobe

Studies show that we make judgments about people within a few seconds of meeting someone and once we make those judgments it can be hard to change them.

For this reason, it’s important to be strategic about the message you send with your style.

If you can, plan what you will wear on your first day on the job in advance.

As a new leader, you want to use your style to convey a message about who you are as a professional.

So, how do you dress as a leader?

In this blog post, we’re going through 3 steps you can take to dress like a leader.

Evaluate What Executives and Management Wear

Loro Piana Lesiure City Cotton Jersey Trousers For Starting A New Leadership Role

Photo Credit: Net-A-Porter

Before starting a new leadership job, observe what leaders in your office are wearing.

Check to see what kind of clothes they wore when you were interviewed and what employees are wearing.

You should also ask about your office dress code. If your office doesn’t have a dress code, you can use the standard for your industry as a guide.

Fields like law, accounting, and finance tend to dress more conservatively. On the other hand, if you work in creative environments like marketing, design, or tech you are likely to have more casual dress codes.

To dress like a leader, men and women should dress slightly more formally than the people they are managing. Still, don’t overdress either.

If you look too formal it could send the wrong message. You just need to dress one level up.

Here’s an example of how that can look:

If you work in a really casual office (like tech) where other people are wearing jeans and hoodies, try trousers with a t-shirt and non-gym sneakers.

The look in the photo above is cool and casual, but the navy trousers add a level of professionalism.

Decide What Story You Want to Tell

Starting a New Leadership Role Means Dressing Differently Before And After A Promotion

Before and After Working with Next Level Wardrobe

When starting a new leadership job, take control of your personal brand by deciding what story you want to tell.

Depending on your career and role, you might want to convey different things. For example, you might want to communicate:

– Leadership
– Confidence
– Innovation
– Authority
– Openness
– Creativity
– Vision
– Focus
– Maturity

If you want to emphasize leadership and authority, choose a strong color, like navy, black or gray.

(If you already use the Next Level Wardrobe Style System™ this will be easy).

On the other hand, a pop of color in your look or architectural cuts can convey innovation and vision.

Don’t underestimate the impact of style on your professional growth.

It’s something many people ignore or undervalue, but studies show that how you dress can affect your chances of being promoted.

Your clothes tell a story about you.

Make sure it’s the story you want to tell.

Customize Your Look to You

Photo Credit: @NextLevelWardrobe

Finally, customize what you wear to the office based on individual factors, like your age and gender.

If you’re the youngest on the team, you may need to start dressing up a bit more to compensate.

But don’t take it too far. If your office is casual and you show up in a full suit, you could look out of touch or unobservant.

Similarly, if you’re one of the oldest people in your office, you may want to add some more casual, younger touches, like office-appropriate sneakers or jeans.

To dress like a leader, women may want to add some feminine and masculine elements to their wardrobe, especially if they work in a male-dominated industry.

In short, your style is a powerful tool for enhancing your professional brand. Implementing the strategies above will help you succeed as a new leader.

To take your professional brand to the next level, apply for our women’s image consulting or men’s image consulting services.

About the Author - Cassandra Sethi
About the Author - Cassandra Sethi

Personal Stylist & Image Consultant

Cassandra Sethi is a Personal Stylist and Founder of Next Level Wardrobe, a luxury Personal Styling and Shopping Service that helps successful professionals of all ages and sizes. After working in the fashion industry for over 25 years, she used her expert knowledge to create a proprietary styling system called ‘The Next Level Wardrobe Style System' which guarantees clients more outfits with less items in their closet. NLW has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Tamron Hall Show, NY Mag, Huffington Post and more.

*Disclosure: Next Level Wardrobe only recommends products that we’d suggest to our clients or personally wear ourselves. All opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, Next Level Wardrobe may earn a small commission. Read the full privacy policy here.

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Cassandra Sethi

is a NYC Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. She is the Founder of Next Level Wardrobe and 'The NLW Style System' that guarantees clients more outfits with less items.

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