Is Your Wardrobe Holding you Back from Business Success? - Christine Kane

When you’re first starting a business, you are focused on the things that will get you going NOW. Your website, your offerings, all the admin, the emails, networking and sales.

One of the most common mistakes I see women make is thinking that their style doesn’t impact their business success.

For the majority of businesses, how you present yourself has a direct impact on how others perceive your success and expertise. Your presence plays such a key role in how you communicate. Did you know that 55% of your communication is physical? So I teach my clients that how you present directly affects your ability to get your message across.

Here’s how that works: You only have a 7% chance of getting your message across verbally. But if your presence is out of alignment with your message, you just won’t come across as authentic. You immediately lose the valuable trust factor in a relationship. 

And I bet that, as an entrepreneur, you have a purpose-driven message that you’re passionate about sharing… authentically.

This means you have to show up and be SEEN.

And this idea of “being seen” is actually one of the biggest fears that holds women back from developing their own sense of style.

So many of us have been conditioned to be quiet, and that the safest place is on the sidelines, versus up front, speaking up and being heard.

I’ve seen this so often in women ­– we use our style and clothes as a way to hide. There is no risk in being seen if you don’t stand out, is there?

And guess what? That also means there’s no reward.

A few key indicators that you may be hiding behind your clothes:

  • Your clothes are too big and baggy
  • You use your size as an excuse that you can’t have style
  • You wear the same thing day after day

I don’t care if Steve Jobs became known for his uniform of the black turtleneck.
There is certainly something to be said for creating a uniform and many fashion designers do the same, but they also have STYLE + CONFIDENCE when they wear their uniforms. It’s not an excuse. It’s an extension.

And that’s what Style is – an extension of yourself. STYLE is an outward expression of your inner self. 

When you access that confidence as you create your own personal style, you access your true power. And, magically, opportunities start to come your way. You start seeking opportunities you wouldn’t have had the confidence to go for in the past.

With this confidence and this style, you show up differently – you FEEL different and, in turn, you perform differently.

Yes, your style has a direct impact on how you perform. There’s a science behind this.

In 2012, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management professor Adam D. Galinsky published a study where he shared the phenomenon of ‘enclothed cognition.’

Based on the premise of embodied cognition, the fact that you learn through your physical experience as much as your intellectual experience, Professor Galinsky wanted to test if what you wear actually impacts how you perform (aka ‘Dress for Success’).

He had 3 groups wear a white jacket and told each group it was something different. One group was told it was a white jacket, another that it was a painter’s smock, and the last group was told it was a doctor’s lab coat. Then, Galinsky had them take a memory test.

Those who thought they were wearing a lab coat outperformed the other two groups!

It’s not just that others perceive us differently when we ‘dress for success.’ It’s that we perceive ourselves differently.

We speak up. We show up. We stand tall and proud. We take risks. We are more inclined to take on opportunities we might have passed on. We aren’t afraid to be seen.

The beautiful thing is that finding your style can actually be easy, effortless and FUN when you get the right support.

Share with me in the comments below, have you ever shown up wearing something that completely Upleveled your confidence and noticed it improved your performance?


  • Georgiana

    Yes! Shortly after I started Uplevel Your Business with Christine Kane, and learned about her “empire mindset” for entrepreneurs, one of the first things I did was hire an image/wardrobe consultant.

    Even before she came I started dressing more like the high-value management consultant I am than the contract communications support I’d been dressing as previously– I immediately felt more confident charging the rates I charge and just signed my first “cold” client at my standard rates.
    And, with them, I find myself really sharing my expertise vs. being selective about when to push their boundaries.

  • Caroline Donahue

    Great article, Catherine! When we first met, I was definitely hiding behind tenty clothes and an unflattering haircut. Thank you for your support an encouragement to be bolder and have more fun with style. I definitely feel a difference when I wear something I love and that looks really polished. It adds confidence and gives me a huge lift.

    This post feels completely true to me. One other thing that I would add that I was reminded of in Europe this past fall… never underestimate the power of great lingerie to make you feel fantastic and confident. I love that it feels great to me, even though no one else (well almost no one else) gets to see it…

    Thank you for all your encouragement and great posts! I have learned so much from you.

  • chelsia berry

    Great post! I’m a fashion designer who has tried to convince women to dress with power. I’ve developed a coat dress style that takes you from plain to power by just putting it on!
    I love following Christine Kane and her supporters. I come here to gain encouragement and am happy to see energy put into this community. I’m using this energy to rekindle my designing. I’m not the only person that feels style has a real place in our lives. For a long time, I’ve felt lonely and ignored championing the call to dress your best and dress your body type. Thank you Catherine!

  • Teri Beckman

    Hi Catherine –
    YES! You helped me put together some easily put together outfits that make me feel great and look great. Just small things help tremendously, like not wearing clothes that are too big, understanding my body shape and how to flatter it and adding touches of color. I still have a ways to go, but just those awarenesses have made a big difference. So, I can put together a professional simple outfit quickly and stand in alignment – then people can focus on my message and not my frumpy outfit!