Like most people who work, my mornings tend to be more of a race to get to the office on time than a gentle awakening. As I zoom around my flat brushing my hair and gulping down my coffee, the last thing on my mind is what outfit I should pick to perfectly represent my character and ability. In fact, I tend to just go for an outfit that is clean and not creased...don?t most people? Apparently, however, by not taking an extra five minutes to properly consider my wardrobe, I have been doing myself a professional injustice. A study carried out by Sandra M. Forsythe revealed that female applicants are more likely to be hired if they dress in masculine style clothing than in feminine attire. The psychology behind this being, that women who dress more masculine are perceived as more forceful and therefore able to do their job. It is not just how other people read your outfit that affects your ability to do your job; it is also influenced by how you feel in the clothes. U.S. research published in 2007 showed that workers felt more productive and credible when they wore a suit to work, but more approachable when they wore casual clothes. However, it is important to recognise that the results differed according to each individual?s style preference. In the test, smart characters suffered most when required to work in casual clothes; their sense of ability being directly linked to the professionality of their outfits. Conversely, it was the laid-back employees who couldn't stomach wearing formal wear as it hindered their creativity and talent. Information that goes to show how important it is to recognise and appreciate your own style...if given the choice! When in doubt, follow the number one rule of marketing and consider your audience. If you are interviewing for a creative job, a formal suit probably isn?t the right way to go. Instead, why not try something more daring and alternative. Research has shown that a risque outfit will portray you as more unique and appealing. Or, if you are a teacher, try to gauge how your clothes are affecting the concentration of your students. The teacher I most respected at school always wore no shoes and oversized cardigans. It may seem odd that I liked her more than any other teacher but, the fact is, she was more approachable. I wanted to work hard for her because I saw her as on my side. You don?t have to just take my word for it though, in 2010 a female experimenter reported the exact same finding. She deduced that when dressed casually her students paid more attention to her in-depth instructions. Since learning all of this I have started to pay attention to the small judgments I make about people based on the way that they are dressed. I was never consciously aware of this practice before but now I cannot help but notice my critiquing. For example, I've realised that I instantly dismiss people who wear wrinkled clothes because I see them as lazy. Harsh, yes, but I bet you all have similar preconceptions. Anyway, the point I am making with these stories is that there are no rigid rules for how to dress to impress; different approaches work with different audiences. The only thing that is certain is that, like it or lump it, your clothes make a statement about you. The way you look is your own form of personal marketing and, if you want to be successful, it might be worth investing some time into the message it is sending.