It’s often said that the clothes you wear change what people hear you say. How you present yourself – whether it’s in an interview, speaking at a conference or simply having a conversation in the supermarket cue – can subconsciously determine whether people decide to listen to you or not. It also affects how much faith they have in what you’re saying and whether to trust you or not.
How you style yourself goes beyond vanity and can have a big impact how seriously you’re taken by the world around you.
Siya Beyile, one of South Africa’s youngest stylists and founder of The Threaded Man (An online platform for men’s fashion and grooming), describes “dressing up” as: “Looking your best and feeling comfort in looking your best”.
“When it comes to dressing up, personally, it’s always about me figuring out what the best presentation of myself is. When someone meets me, what am I communicating non-verbally to them about myself?” he asks. “It starts from the small details – from getting the proper hair cut to making sure you’ve got a pocket square and a tie clip. It’s all the small details that I’ve found a lot men don’t pay attention to that make the ultimate difference.”
Speaking about how the way you dress affects the way that people perceive you, Beyile says that if you’re in a particular industry, your dress sense can play a huge role in growing your identity, helping you ascend the corporate ladder and succeed in your goals.
Whatever you’re wearing, it’s all about making sure it’s tailored to your size.
“If you look smart, then people know that this is a guy who cares about how he looks which translates into: ‘OK, here’s someone who cares about his work’. In my context and for the industry I’m in, the way that I dress is an extension of my brand and is also a subconscious indicator of my work ethic,” he explains.
A lot of men immediately assume that to look good and to present their best, they have to be draped in a suit. This is a common misconception, especially in the 21st century. Beyile concurs and outlines key smart-casual items that all men should own to help form the base of a good wardrobe. Even if you’re not necessarily required to dress formally, you should still look well put together.
Every man should own:
- A pair of well-fitted jeans
- One pair of formal shoes
- A casual, collared shirt
- A well-fitted blazer
“It’s not always about a suit. Even if you’re wearing jeans and a t-shirt, for me, it’s always important that everything fits well. A lot of guys don’t care about fit and wear something that’s either too big or too small and it all gets lost in translation,” he says. “Whatever you’re wearing, it’s all about making sure it’s tailored to your size.”
Context also play a role in what you choose to wear. It’s important that you understand what kind of situation you’re in and what is appropriate to wear in those specific contexts.
“It’s about understanding the type of people in the space that you’re in and how you’re going to interact with them, making sure that the way you dress is still comfortable enough for you to carry on a conversation in that environment,” he concludes.