While over the years there has been plenty of notable advice for dressing for success (I even have an entire chapter dedicated to it in my book Lucky Code), I have not seen the distinction made specifically for posts on social media. Times are changing swiftly, however, and what we wear online not only matters but needs to be brought to the forefront of our minds. It’s time to ask ourselves if our Instagram clothing choices are working for or against us.
Why What You Wear On Social Media Matters
Unlike the brief moment when you make a quick run to the grocery store in wrinkled attire coupled with a hoodie and shades hoping to hide from the world, social media wardrobe choices are etched into the minds of viewers. Even if removed shortly after posting, there is a chance that a screenshot was taken, solidifying the moment in history. Employers, potential clients, contractors, romantic interests, and other concerned parties usually seek to view your social media pages in the first instance, prior to meeting you in person or giving you a call to organize an important meeting. In a brief moment of scrolling through your page, viewers have obtained a solid impression of who you are and what they believe you represent.
Ultimately, how we are presenting ourselves online could be the deciding factor for whether or not an opportunity comes to fruition. You see, what we wear speaks for us in moments that we cannot. We live in a world where everything is instantaneous, including someone’s opinion of us, before even formally meeting. Successful millennials get this and ensure that they dress the part both off and online. If we do not value our appearance, the unfortunate reality is that we are often devalued by society. We cannot speak to every single person that we cross paths with in daily life (or on the interwebs), because of this, we must make a conscious effort to present the best version of ourselves whenever we can.
Of course, with the aforementioned, this does not mean you shouldn’t be authentic in your social media interactions. Be real, but do it while highlighting your personal style in the best light.
Meet The Expert
To solidify my point as well as get some helpful tips, I sought the advice of a trusted style expert, Perri Furbert. Furbert is an award-winning fashion icon, published art director, wardrobe stylist, “Halfway Bougie Podcast” co-host and designer behind Gold, The Label. Furbert’s marketing degree helps her to knit business principles with a unique style, which has afforded her multiple speaking engagements as well as her sought-after style advice.
When I asked if she believes millennials, and people in general, should be more aware of their clothing selection online, and what it says about them, Furbert replied:
“Most definitely! Your wardrobe is a form of non-verbal communication and usually acts as a deciding interaction factor. People will, unfortunately, judge you based on what they see. It’s very important to express what you want to say to the world in your apparel.”
This is brilliant advice. While most people tend to take clothing choices more seriously as it relates to business settings, it’s important to represent who you are as an individual at all times. In Furbert’s opinion, shoe choices say a lot about a person’s character. “I believe shoes anchor a look and tie it all together. Flashy shoes and shabby shoes speak volumes of a personality before you even engage.”
Now that you know just how important it is that you put your best foot forward online, here are three simple things to consider:
1) Get Clear on Your Personal Style
Furbert suggests doing what feels right for you. “Personal style is just that—personal. It’s a self-expression of what you want to say to the world about you. Far too often people confuse style with fashion and what’s trendy. Style is what others can especially tie to you and your character. Usually, when you wear what you personally love, your confidence is piqued.” Confidence can make or break an interaction, so I was all ears. She went on to say, “Be yourself at all times. It’ll reflect in your clothing and what you deem as post-worthy. You won’t have to fumble to explain why you’ve posted what you’ve posted if you’re true to yourself. Have fun with it and remember there are no rules to personal style.”
2) You needn’t max out your budget to look great.
When I asked Furbert for a tip for individuals without a huge budget to spend on wardrobe she suggested investing in staple pieces.
“Staple wardrobe items are inclusive of crisp white collared shirts; a good pair of jeans, that can be worn in any setting; quality T-shirts, which can, again, be dressed up or down depending on the setting; and a well-fitting blazer. All four of these items can be worn in professional settings as well as casual. One keyword to note is “invest.” Purchasing fast fashion is very convenient but many times the items can’t weather many years. If you budget correctly, you can buy quality items that are timeless, which ultimately saves you more in the long run.”
3) Post with Intention
Remember that what you put up online will be there for quite some time. Ensure that it is the best representation of you. While, at first, this may take some getting used to, once you make it a habit to thoughtfully post, it will become second nature.
Furbert is now a pro at this, stating that she puts very little thought into posting as it’s a lifestyle for her. She did, however, advise that people should be intentional about what they post, adding that it’s important to be able to stand by your posted clothing choices in any scenario, be it business or social.
I believe once you get the hang of your personal style and message you’d like to share with the world, it’s much easier. Furbert notes, “I think very little thought has to go into it if you’re being authentic.”