Dress to Communicate | Summary and Q&A

January 19, 2017
Stanford Graduate School of Business
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Dress to Communicate

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This video discusses the importance of clothing in communication and offers tips on how to dress for success. It explains how clothing affects how others perceive and behave towards you, as well as how it impacts your own self-confidence. The video also emphasizes the need to understand your audience, their expectations, and how they feel, in order to choose appropriate attire. It further highlights the importance of aligning your clothing with your personal brand and the brand you represent. The video concludes by providing practical advice on planning ahead, considering travel logistics, and collaborating as a team in terms of dressing.

Questions & Answers

Q: How does clothing affect how others perceive and behave towards you?

Clothing is a powerful communication tool that influences people's perceptions and behaviors. Research has shown that people are more likely to follow someone wearing a suit compared to someone wearing casual attire. Additionally, individuals in suits are more likely to have successful negotiations. Clothing sends subtle signals about your professionalism, credibility, and authority, which can impact how others interact with you.

Q: How does clothing affect your self-confidence?

Clothing not only influences how others perceive you but also how you perceive yourself. Wearing clothes that make you feel confident and powerful can boost your self-confidence. When you wear superhero clothing, for example, you are more likely to feel mentally and physically confident. Finding clothing that fits you well and makes you feel good about yourself can have a positive impact on your overall self-confidence.

Q: What is the AIM framework in dressing for success?

The AIM framework stands for Audience, Intent, and Message. It emphasizes the importance of connecting with your audience through your clothing. By understanding your audience's expectations and preferences, you can choose attire that resonates with them. Your intent and the message you want to convey also play a crucial role in selecting appropriate clothing.

Q: How can you determine what your audience expects you to wear?

Determining what your audience expects in terms of dress code can be tricky, as different industries and professions often have varied norms. One approach is to ask people who work in similar fields for their insights. Alternatively, you can observe what people typically wear in your industry on a day-to-day basis. This can provide valuable clues about the expected dress code.

Q: How can you dress in a way that represents your personal brand and the brand you represent?

Your clothing should align with the brand you represent, whether it's your personal brand or the brand of the organization you work for. Dressing in a way that is authentic to your brand helps establish your credibility and professionalism. However, there may be instances where you want to intentionally contrast the brand's message to create a specific effect. It's important to make a conscious decision about the message you want your appearance to convey and ensure consistency in your outfit choices.

Q: What are some key tips for successfully dressing for communication?

Planning ahead is essential to ensure you have the right attire for each situation. This includes not just knowing what you want to wear but also preparing your clothing in advance. Considering the logistics of travel and how it may impact your outfit choice is also important. Additionally, if you are part of a team, you should think about how your outfits can either complement or contrast with one another to create a cohesive and appropriate image. By taking these steps and consciously thinking about your clothing choices, you can effectively communicate through your attire.


Dressing well can significantly impact the impression you make and your self-confidence. Clothing serves as a communication tool, influencing others' perceptions and behaviors. It's crucial to consider your audience's expectations, understand your own brand and the brand you represent, and intentionally align your clothing with your message. Planning ahead, considering travel logistics, and coordinating outfits as a team are also important elements of successfully dressing for communication. Breaking fashion rules can be effective if done deliberately and in a way that enhances your message.

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