• Invest Wisely, Calculate Your Wardrobe’s ROI

    Posted by in Career Resource, Dressing for Interviews & Promotions, Image Update, Impression Management, Professional Development, Professional Image, wardrobe building, Wardrobe Planning, Your Professional Image With | 1 Comment

    In today’s economy, you can’t afford to make a poor investment. For that reason, you need to view what you wear and how you wear it as a tangible asset that can potentially have a higher rate of return in the long term if you invest wisely. In order to maximize the return on your wardrobe investment, it is necessary that your clothing does three things:

    1) help you to create visual influence

    2) reinforce the message you want and need to communicate

    3) prove to be of good financial value.

    Keeping these three things in mind will enable you to strategically utilize your wardrobe as a communications vehicle to help propel your career success.


    Just like a company’s Price/Earnings (P/E) Ratio, individuals have a Performance/Advancement (P/A) Ratio, and people will move up faster when their P/A growth perception is high. Let’s take Apple and Dell as an example. Both are technology companies selling computers. Apple’s stock trades at 16 times earnings because it is considered a growth stock. On the other hand, Dell trades lower at less than eight times its earnings. Because Apple is viewed as a leader, innovator and forward thinker, they garner twice the value. If you present yourself in a manner that gives you visual influence, it will increase your growth perception. People who have a perceived high P/A ratio will advance quicker in their careers than those who don’t. Individuals who have visual influence command attention. Simply visualize an army general in his or her dress uniform and you’ll see the point.  I’m not suggesting you wear a uniform, but be aware of styles, details, colors and patterns that can be combined. Whether you’re in relaxed attire or dressing for an important meeting, what you wear can non-verbally reinforce what you intend to communicate. If you aspire to a higher level of professional success, you’ll need the education and skills to perform at the necessary level for advancement and your perceived growth ability will be duly noted if your non-verbal communication is congruent with your capability.


    With your visual presence alone, you’re always communicating something about yourself, and you can be assured everyone you encounter will have an impression of what that is. Some impressions will be positive, and others could be negative. Some thoughts will be right, and others will be completely wrong about who you are. If someone else’s impression of you is completely wrong, wouldn’t you prefer that the impression you make is positive and not negative? Strategically build your wardrobe to visually communicate your authentic attributes to help you establish credibility. As a result, the consistent message sent will help you broadcast the value you bring to all you do.


    So how do you decide which wardrobe pieces make good investments?  Simply calculate the cost per wear for the key pieces or major investments in your wardrobe. To do this, estimate the number of times you will wear the garment in question. For example, if you buy a jacket for $200, and wear it twice before pushing it to the back of the closet, your cost is $100.00 per wear. In comparison, purchasing a $200 jacket you wear 3 times a month for 8 months a year over a three year period, your cost per wear is $2.78. Wear it more frequently over a longer period of time, and each time you put the jacket on, can potentially result in a negative amount. Taking a few extra minutes to calculate cost per wear will help you to determine if you’re making a wise investment.


    Build your wardrobe by balancing your personal style with strategic thinking. Keep in mind that your clothing is a resource that will strengthen or detract from your personal brand, and can potentially yield a high return on the investment you make in yourself. Utilizing this vital tool will increase your performance advancement ratio while propelling your career success.

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    Diana Jennings
    Diana Jennings is the founder of Brand You Image – a personal branding and image management company based in Southern California. A specialist in non-verbal communication, she brings a sophisticated understanding of people and a passion for growth to those working to reach their personal and professional goals. Typical engagements involve the development of high potential individuals and senior level management in personal brand discovery, image management, social and business behavior, and body language for better communication and interaction with others.

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Comments (1)

Paul Copcutt » 30. Sep, 2011

Love this notion of wardrobe ROI – be great to have a handy iPhone app for when I go shopping!

I have certainly found that when you spend a little more time and money picking the right clothes you then love wearing them and that ROI drops dramatically. Had far too many older suits that were just not a good investment at all but after buying a custom suit and shirts I am never going back to that buy it because it’s on sale, buy it because you look great in it! Just my toonies worth.

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