What It Means To “Dress For Success”


“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Mark Twain



Robert Mihalik in a blue Bay St power suit


Dressing like a slouch has never been an option for me. I believe if you look your best, you feel better and you perform better.

For the younger generation, the notion of “Power Suits” has become a bit antiquated. The professional environment has changed, what works in the Financial District doesn’t necessarily fly in the more casual tech start up environment.

But, at all ages and in all professions, first impressions matter and it still pays to Dress For Success.


Power Suits Command Authority

There is a psychological effect to the way we dress. If you suit up everyday and work in an environment where everyone else wears a suit, there is a positive effect to being dressed better than your peers.

A power suit is like a knight’s armour, it commands attention and creates a perception of rank and prestige. Social rank is a powerful influencer on a wide range of life outcomes. It gives us a sense of power and control over our environment.

Wearing more formal attire can change our thought process, affect the way we see the world.

I recently read a study by California State University psychology professor Abraham Rutchick and others published last year who found that, in fact, formal clothing made people think more expansively and abstractly — more like a leader.


Formal Clothing For Every Day Situations


Canadian-made ties in every width from fashion forward 1 ½” to traditional 3 ¼

I don’t expect the suit as a symbol of power to be leaving us anytime soon. We do, however, see a shift towards personal style and comfort for the modern day businessman. For instance, the necktie has become an optional accessory for some

Men can easily get away with a plain oxford dress shirt or even a t- shirt with blazers and still look professional these days.

However, we have noticed an increase in tie sales over the last 12 months, contrary to this notion that neck ties are no longer necessary. In fact, the neck tie has become a more diverse accessory, much like the pocket square which has become especially popular in the past few years.



The Modern Day Power Suit

The big-shouldered, double breasted ensemble to which we once attributed the term “power suit” is now a bad fashion memory.

Although you may not be able to recognize a power suit from its tag, there are, however, certain qualities all power suits usually have. When shopping for a good power suit, look for the following:

  • A more traditional style. The classic suits never go out of style and there is a reason for that.
  • Dark in colour. Look for suits that are dark grey or navy blue in colour. You can also exude power in a black or dark brown suit, but they are not as effective or as flexible as a dark charcoal grey or navy blue.
  • Impeccable tailoring. An ill fitted suit can strip you of power. Make sure you invest a few extra bucks to ensure you look like a million.



Traditional grey with a dash of colourStay away from patterns and stripes. A subtle pinstripe can work, but the more noticeable the stripe is, the less powerful the look.

A well made, professionally tailored suit is crucial, but will not complete the desired look on it’s own.

In order to get the most power out of your suit, your ensemble should also include:

  • A solid white or blue dress shirt.
  • A silk necktie. Why silk? Because it’s a much richer look. Keep to the darker colours and more conservative patterns.
  • Black leather tie up dress shoes. A great shoe can really make or break your look. In fact, most people (men and women) will judge you based on your shoes so you better put some effort into what goes on your feet!


Whether you’re preparing for an interview, or a high-powered negotiation, a well tailored power suit should provide you with a heightened sense of confidence, like you could take on an army.

Get out there and show the world that you mean business!




About Tom:

A leading retailer of designer men’s suits and accessories in Toronto’s Kensington Market since 1958. Tom’s Place offers brand name men’s wear and business apparel at below retail prices.

Tom’s Place is unique. You’ll get a friendly welcome from the owner, Tom Mihalik, and helpful service from his knowledgeable sales staff and tailors. Please come in and see us!


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