How to Dress Like You Mean Business: What Would a CEO Wear?

There’s a lot of great info out there on what to wear for dates, but not so much for a high-level business role like CEO. Whether you’re looking for a C-suite position or you already have one and want to dress the part (this can define your relationship with your staff), your appearance is key to your success.

Appropriate attire will vary based on the type of business environment you are in. A Fortune 500 company is likely to have a much more formal dress code than that of a smaller tech company, which, in turn, is apt to be even more dressy than a start-up. Below are eight tips on how to dress like you run things:

What Does a CEO Wear: Power Ties

1. Dark colors and straight lines signal authority. So a navy suit and with a strong shoulder and a red tie connote power and authority. For the smaller tech company or a culture where you want to be slightly more approachable, it might be a textured red tie with polka dots and a navy blazer. (Tip: many websites allow you to shop by color, which is a great time-saver.)

2. High contrast color combinations are perceived as powerful (that’s why a tuxedo is so eye-catching); just make sure you’re not wearing too much contrast for your own natural coloring.

How to Dress Like a CEO: Laceup Dress Shoes3. For dress shoes, opt for lace-ups over slip-ons. You’ll gain credibility that way.

4. While we’re talking footwear, it’s important to keep your shoes clean and well-maintained. Find a great shoe guy and take your shoes in as often as needed for polish and retooling. Here in Manhattan, my go-to is The Leather Spa.

5. Get good haircuts. A lot of guys discount the importance of a great scissor cut, but it can truly make or break your look.

What Does a CEO Wear: Quality Attache Case6. Invest in high quality accessories like a leather carry-all or portfolio. You’ll use these things everyday, so it makes sense to spend a little more on them, as your cost per wear will be lower.

7. Make sure your clothes fit right. A good fit not only flatters your body, but it also shows that you’ve taken the time and effort to make yourself look good, and that you’re aware of where and how to choose clothes that suit you.

8. Have confidence in your choices. For example, if you decide to wear socks with an interesting pattern or a color you’ve never worn before, dive right in. If you don’t own what you wear, people will pick up on that. The absolute most important element of your outfit is confidence!

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