Select the correct answer from the multiple choice question below.

Dressing for success is: 

A)  Is an important display of respect toward clients, colleagues and business associates.

B)  Is crucial when it comes to first impressions, often influencing a client’s early confidence in their advisor as a trustworthy, like-minded, reliable resource.

C)  Is often an expensive, time-consuming pain in the... 

D)  All of the above.


It’s a truth that’s as undeniable as it is irrational: when it comes to business, those who dress well are more likely to be successful. The concept has been embraced by the masses since before boardrooms were even a thing, and has typically – except in the case of the occasional Silicon Valley billionaire – been taken as law.

It’s no surprise then, that even the dream-fueled world of travel – which is largely comprised of big businesses – is not immune to the mindset that a polished veneer and confidence are both hallmarks (and measures) of success. In short: when it comes to earning the respect of a high-paying client or valued supplier partner, it makes more sense to dress up, not down. 

However, the idea that “dressing to impress” is a reflection of your professional –  and by association, mental – worth, while commonly accepted, is in many ways a misconception. Truth is, the key to finding success through your appearance is not so much about about earning the approval of others as it is understanding the power that lies in perception.

There are many reasons for travel advisors to adhere to a dress code, though not the ones you might expect. Here are some reasons why you should occasionally consider throwing on a pair of slacks:


It actually makes you smarter.

While many professionals will enthuse about the inexpressible physical and emotional effects of a lucky tie or a killer pair of heels, there’s also something to be said about the cognitive benefits which result from liking the way you look.

A recent study published in the journal for Social Psychological and Personality Science found that dressing formally not only made people feel more powerful, resulting in an overall increase in personal confidence, it also enhanced their ability to think in broader and more abstract terms. 

So next time you’re dreading the act of tightening your belt in the name of your appearance, remember: it could also be the difference between simply looking smart – and the real thing.


It can make all the difference to your clients.

While the phrase “dress to impress” implies that your professional achievements are directly tied to the thread count of your button-down, there’s also value in the idea that adhering to a certain mould inspires confidence. 

Even if you’re not a travel advisor who buys into the idea of dressing up (wearing what you want is a great perk of being your own boss, after all), if you want to pursue high-spending clients, a good way to earn their trust is having an appearance to which they can easily relate. And every good travel expert knows that once a client trusts you, they tell you all sorts of things that become useful in booking their current – and future – getaways. 

So don’t reject the idea of a good suit or tailored dress when the situation calls for one, because inspiring confidence in current – and prospective – clients can be worth its weight in gold.


Blending in can help you stand out.

Another common saying is, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” and it bears repeating for a reason – especially when someone else has the job (or client) you want.

Even if you already have everything your heart desires (you sell dreams for a living, after all), making the effort to, say, iron your clothes (or invest in increasingly popular wash and wear fabrics), especially in a word-of-mouth business like the travel trade, is arguably a forward-thinking competitive necessity.

Sure, being the travel agent who always wears your grandfather’s fish print tie or neon pink kicks may be a great way to get noticed in a crowd, but subscribing to a simpler, more easily acceptable form of dress – particularly one which resembles that of your professional opponents – is an effective way to inadvertently redirect a potential clients’ attention away from appearance and more toward recognizing the best travel expert to handle their next vacation.


It makes room in your schedule.

Another argument against adhering to an office (home or otherwise) dress code is that fashion, while a fun and creative form of self-expression for some, can be an expensive and time-consuming pain in the butt. 

That’s why more and more executives and CEOs are beginning to free themselves of the obligation of planning a new outfit every day. Instead, they opt for a personal uniform, such as dark jeans and a white shirt, or even a simple rotation of outfits, in the interest of preserving their minds for more important matters. 

It’s an agreeable – and affordable – workplace trend that’s catching on, and it’s well worth considering; if people in the travel industry were able to dedicate the same time and energy to their accomplishments as they do the labels and statements of their clothing, who knows what we could achieve? 


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