I’m pretty sure you’ve heard the phrase bandied about more than a few times (power dressing), but how many people actually know what the whole idea behind power dressing is about? Power dressing is not exclusively about the garments you wear – it’s not about that three-piece lady suit to demonstrate just how much you “mean business.”

There’s a much bigger dynamic at play here, transcending the garments as mentioned, and that dynamic is the power itself. It’s the expression of power if it is possessed in the first place, and if it isn’t then it’s about the seizure, establishment and perhaps the assertion thereof.

An Underlying Goal to be Achieved

So I’m not trying to turn anyone who is rightfully in on the power-dressing practice every now and then into a power-hungry individual – no! I just want to make sure that I share the little I know about how to do things right if you’re going to be doing them at all.

In the case of power-dressing there’s always an underlying goal to be achieved, whether you’re going in for a job interview or indeed if you’re trying to nail that presentation to land some funding from some potential investors. The key is not to pin all your hopes on the outfit itself because that’s not where the power is contained. The outfit is just a conduit of the power – focus on the underlying goal to be achieved.

To elaborate by way of some actionable takeaways from what is otherwise just an ideology, what’s your takeaway from an interview which you power dressed for but didn’t land the job, for example? Did you make such an impression that you put yourself in line to be contacted later on, on the grounds that the employer initially made a mistake going with another interviewee, for example?

The devil is in the detail – they must be able to say “I’m talking about the confident lady who wore a bright red rose with her suit…”

Power Links

Again, the devil is in finest of details, with the smallest of gestures loaded with some psychological cues used to reinforce the application of your power. It’s nothing sinister – the gesture itself naturally comes from a good place, but in the true spirit of the consolidation of the underlying power one should take every opportunity to reinforce that power. For example, the congratulations gifts delivered to whomever it is you want to congratulate should have your signature attached to them in some way. This can be as simple as bearing some significance of which the link is unique to your relationship with that recipient, or you can even make things easier but still take advantage of this power dynamic just as effectively if that congratulatory gift basket you’re having delivered matches the colour of the outfit you were wearing the last time you perhaps saw this person.

It’s these subtle cues that often go on to make a huge difference, even though they appear to be so well hidden in plain view.