What did you wear to work today? Did you feel good in it? Even more important, did you feel like you in it? These might seem like trivial questions, but they’re not.

What we wear has a real impact on how we feel about ourselves. And that, in turn, influences our work – our confidence, creativity, ability to focus and collaborate.

That’s why I’m so excited to announce the launch of our new section “The Psychology of What We Wear to Work.” Here we’ll look at how what we wear affects how we work, how we feel about our jobs, and how we feel about ourselves.

We bring our whole selves to work. But whether we’re able to access all of our talents, skills, creativity, wisdom and intuition depends on many factors, including how comfortable and confident we’ll feel about what we’re wearing. The workplace is changing. And more and more workplaces are realizing the value of allowing employees to express themselves through what they wear.

It’s a time of transition. And to kick off the section, and to see where we stand, Thrive Global and The Business of Fashion, the essential daily resource for fashion insiders, conducted a survey of 2,700 professionals about how their workwear affects their psychology.

What did we find?

• Of those respondents who say they don’t feel happy and fulfilled at work, 55 percent said the way they dress at work doesn’t represent them.

• Of those who say their attire has positively affected their career, 66 percent said what they wear to work represents their true personality.

• Over eighty percent say the dress code in their office or industry has loosened up over the years.

And 49% of women have felt self-conscious about repeating outfits at work. That’s been the subject of our #Repeats campaign at Thrive Global — celebrating and owning the idea of repeats is a great way to begin to close the style gap, affording women the same freedom (in the form of time and money and thought) that men have in putting together their outfits for the day.

And in addition to the full results of the survey, you’ll find personal stories, videos, and advice and tips from fashion experts on how to dress for work and how to feel more confident, creative and fulfilled.

Some of those include:

JVN and DVF in a Thrive original video
Diane von Furstenberg created the iconic workwear item for women: the wrap dress. Jonathan Van Ness is changing the way people think about expressing themselves as the breakout star of Queer Eye. In a Thrive Global video, the two meet for the first time and interview each other about the psychology of workwear, their style revelations over time, and (yes) the true impetus for JVF’s decision to pair a beard with heels.

Can the Clothes You Wear to Work Make You Happier on the Job? 
A story in partnership with The Business of Fashion (BoF), exploring the results of our joint survey.

How to Dress for Work When Going Through a Difficult Time
A piece by fashion psychologist Dawnn Karen, a therapist and instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, about the psychology of dressing for work when you have something major going on in your personal life.

I’ve Dressed for Work as a Man and as a Woman. Here’s What I’ve Learned
Thrive senior software engineer Autumn Trafficante wrote about what it feels like to dress for work as a man — and then, as a woman (she has had experience with both.)

Rethinking Your Work Style After Maternity Leave
A Q&A with author Lauren Smith Brody about dressing for work (and grappling with your new identity) as a new mom back from maternity leave.

How Power Dressing Moved Beyond the High Heel
Ann Shoket, the former EIC of Seventeen and author of The Big Life, on how she said goodbye to her power shoes in favor of a new kind of personal power (she gave up her sky high, editorial powerhouse Manolos when she launched her own venture).

5 People Who Wear a Uniform to Work Share How It Makes Them Feel
A powerful roundup of personal vignettes from people required to wear specific uniforms to work about how their uniforms make them feel and affect their work.

And Thrive’s 5 Fashion Tips to Get Out the Door 20 Minutes Faster

We also want to hear from you! Has the dress code changed at your workplace? What do you wear to work? Do you feel comfortable and confident in what you wear to work? What changes have you made in what you wear to work and how has that changed your job performance? Add your voice to the conversation by tagging your stories with #ThriveStyle — and let us know how you Thrive in style.

Author(s)

  • Arianna Huffington

    Founder & CEO of Thrive

    Arianna Huffington is the founder and CEO of Thrive, the founder of The Huffington Post, and the author of 15 books, including Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. In 2016, she launched Thrive, a leading behavior change tech company with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success. She has been named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on numerous boards, including Onex and The B Team. Her last two books, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time, both became instant international bestsellers. Most recently, she wrote the foreword to Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive: End Burnout, Increase Well-being, and Unlock Your Full Potential with the New Science of Microsteps.