4 Unexpected Benefits to Dressing Well (That Can Make You More Money)

By: Peter Nguyen
Last Updated: January 30, 2019

Last year was the best year I’ve had at The Essential Man.

I worked with the most private styling clients I’ve ever had since I started.

My revenue literally quadrupled, earning me the most money I’ve ever made in my life.

I even partnered with one of my favorite brands Bonobos on some posts over the summer.

The crazy thing was I had no idea why this was happening at first. It’s like I woke up in a bizarro world where everything just started working out for the best.

I didn’t get any major press coverage.

I didn’t dump any money on Facebook ads.

Nor did I hire some 15 year-old to run my Instagram and help me get Instafamous.

When I sat down to reverse engineer this stroke of luck, it always led back to one conclusion…

It all stemmed from revamping my own personal style after getting in shape for my wedding.

At first, I just wanted to enjoy my hard and get some new clothes, but I started to experience the intangible benefits of looking really fucking good: I got a huge surge of confidence to put myself out there (literally and figuratively) and take more risks, and it’s given my career a huge boost.

This “Career Boosting Effect” I got from revamping my style wasn’t an anomaly. It’s  something I’ve seen time and time again with my private styling clients.

Today I want to share some of the less obvious side effects dressing well that NOBODY ever talks about…

1. Dressing Well Isn’t About Looking Expensive, It’s About What It Signals

One of my past clients, a successful consultant in the entertainment industry, came with me with a common problem.

He didn’t look like he was worth the fees he was charging.

When I first met with him, I had to be brutally honest.

“If I walked into a room as a prospective client, I’d mistake you for an intern.” I said. “Don’t be gas station sushi.”

Chef Jiro serving President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

You see, you could have Chef Jiro, regarded as the best sushi chef alive, secretly make sushi for a gas station, and most people wouldn’t buy it.

We don’t associate gas stations with fine cuisine. We associate it with sad looking hot dogs rotating on a warmer and 1-gallon cups of nuclear green soda.

It’s not congruent with most people’s expectations.

So of course a person walking into a business meeting wouldn’t trust an “expert” that looks like he still lived in his Mom’s basement.

We make snap judgments based on our past experiences for a good reason. It’s kept us safe from danger. (Psychologists call this “thin-slicing”)

We know when something is glowing red, radiating warmth, it’s hot, because we touched a stove as a kid.

So the moment we see something glowing red, we know we should be careful.

My client’s look wasn’t congruent with how many successful people in his industry looked.

So the goal for my client was to “Control The Narrative.”

When a prospective client walks into a room, I wanted them to know immediately who was in charge, and why he charges what he charges.

Before and After Private Styling Client
My client, Before & After. Which says “Take my money, I NEED to work with you.”?

Don’t be gas station sushi.

Control the narrative.

What does someone successful in your industry look like?

2. How You Look on The Outside Influences How You Feel On The Inside

I noticed something really fascinating whenever I got sick.

It didn’t matter what I had – a head cold or fever, but whenever I took a shower and got dressed to pick up some food and medicine, I felt better.

But whenever I lounged around in my sweats cause my wife picked up my medicine and food for me, I’d always feel worse.

That’s when I started to realize the psychological effect my outside had on my inside.

It’s the reason you feel pumped and hyper-motivated to go to the gym when you put on new gym clothes.

It’s why you feel super slick and confident when you wear your best outfit on a first date.

Placebo effects have been shown to be real, powerful tool, not just when it comes to physical illnesses, but in my experience, mental wellness. It’s why now when I get sick, I make sure to get out of my “bumming around clothes” and put on something comfortable, but put together.

This “Outside-in effect” of clothes doesn’t just give help you feel better mentally, it can even give you a performance boost.

3. Looking Good Helps You Develop Money Making Social Skills

Since the beginning, The Essential Man’s motto has been this:

“When you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, good things happen.”

This isn’t some mantra where you’re banking on some “secret” to fulfill your dreams.

It turns out, there’s actually studies that show being attractive helps a person’s confidence to develop money earning social skills.

When you look good, you get out of your head. You’re no longer worrying about whether you’re being judged negatively on how you look.

That boost of confidence makes you relax in situations like networking events, interviews, and meetings, helping you build crucial social skills that can have a positive impact on your career.

Over the last year, I’ve nailed high-end clients from companies like The New York Times and Linkedin thanks to my pitching skills. Skills I honed from putting myself out there more. And a huge part of that is due to the confidence I got with my new look.

4. Everything Else in Your Life Improves (For a Surprising Reason)

Part way through working with a client, something always ends up happening: they start asking me for recommendations for stylish things beyond clothes – pens, bags, speakers, even laundry baskets!

As you start dressing well, not only to do develop that mystical “eye” for style, you develop a mindset to improve.

You start looking around.

You begin to realize there’s a lot of things in your life that makes you feel like “gas station sushi.”

I’m not just talking about physical objects either.

I started wanting to get better at appearing on camera, at nurturing professional relationships, at managing my money, and the quality of my writing.

Raising the standards in life was a big factor in why I quadrupled my income last year, and I attribute it to thinking:

“How does this new and improved version of me act? What does he do?”

Dressing well to improve your life isn’t about pretending to look like you’re successful. It’s about giving yourself a kickstart to become successful.

As you start to look successful, that inner critic starts to nag at you. Imposter syndrome might even kick in. And the only way to combat that is to not only look successful, but become as successful as you look.

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