Boss Lady

What is the ROI on your wardrobe?


While we’re accustomed to determining return on investment (ROI) in the business world with regards to investments and expenses, many of us fail to see the correlation that our wardrobe has to potentially produce a return for ourselves, as the buyer. But how do you determine the ROI on your wardrobe … and why is this so important?

A wardrobe says a lot about who we are to our potential clientele, by conveying messages about trustworthiness and credibility. How we present ourselves is an indicator of how we wish the world to perceive us and how the world perceives us, and will therefore relate directly to the wardrobe we select. It is important to realise that a wardrobe is not in fact an expense, but rather an asset and one of our greatest marketing tools – and should be considered an investment in our future success.

Today’s economic climate is challenging, and in such a competitive marketplace it is important to invest wisely in assets that are expected to generate a return. Your wardrobe is a long term investment which provides you with confidence and allows you to position yourself with credibility. As an industry leader, influence and impact are essential.

Your wardrobe should be seen as an extension of your curriculum vitae, where you have the opportunity to add colour and depth to your personality and achievements. Investing in pieces that complement and support your gravitas will result in a higher rate of return.

The importance of selection

It is important that the power of influence that your wardrobe holds is understood, when selecting key pieces to add to your collection. Each and every article of clothing that makes up your daily attire serves some unique purpose in highlighting your achievements, individuality and trustworthiness to clients. For this reason, it is essential that the significance that exists behind each and every distinctive piece in your wardrobe genuinely reflects who you are and how you want to be perceived – before you say a single word.

As with all investments, there are choices that you can make to maximise future return – the same holds true with regards to your wardrobe. In order for your wardrobe to offer the highest probable ROI, it must do the following three things:

  1. Reinforce the message you want to communicate
  2. Influence positive perceptions, and
  3. Align with the characteristics of your authentic self.

When purchasing new pieces of clothing, it is imperative that the above three factors are kept in mind. This will help to ensure that each piece is strategically utilised in a way that enables you to communicate intentions effectively, which ultimately translates to further career success.

The power of influence

Presenting yourself in a confident manner is key to establishing and increasing positive perceptions. Individuals who have high visual influence over others demand positive attention and respect, which allows you to command influence over their peers, team and other stakeholders. The suggestion here is to be diligent with the colours, patterns, styles and details that you select for key wardrobe pieces. Ultimately, the selection of attire will reinforce, in a non-verbal way, your desire to communicate; and will inevitably influence your ability to communicate effectively. Your wardrobe choices influence your personal brand and what you are known for.

Making the right wardrobe choices

The key to building a wardrobe that has a high ROI is to maintain a functional balance of strategic thinking and personal style. When making wardrobe selections, the clothing that is chosen to be worn is a resource that can either detract from, or strengthen, your personal brand. Ensuring the fit, colour and quality of the fabric is right for you will automatically increase your comfort level, improve perceptions and also positively influence your self-image.

Your wardrobe is a resource that is capable of yielding a high return on investment. I appreciate that viewing your wardrobe as a business tool is a different approach, but one I can assure you will deliver results.

What you choose to wear matters – significantly. Accepting this notion will help to stimulate the right decisions when it comes to desirable and influential business attire. When garnered in the correct way, clothing has the capacity to motivate, influence and encourage. When utilised in an incorrect manner, wardrobe can hinder your ability to initiate and develop constructive working relationships, as well as influence business partners, employees and clients.

When selecting ‘the right’ wardrobe pieces, it is crucial to select pieces that emphasise success and strength, as well as encourage feelings of confidence and empowerment, without instilling attributes of arrogance. Gravitas and authenticity are the goals to aim for, taking care to not overshoot and end up along the lines of egotistical or inappropriate.

Choose wisely and be chosen

It is important to understand that your wardrobe directly affects how you are perceived. In life, we form judgements within the first few seconds that we meet. These judgements are based solely on appearance. Whether it be a co-worker, team member or important business contact, attire has the power to influence the perception of your credibility, success and capabilities.

Being mindful of the power that your wardrobe can have on your opportunity to influence, persuade and communicate will benefit you enormously. It is one of your best marketing tools, so make sure you put adequate thought into it and plan ahead. Your wardrobe should accurately reflect your skills and reinforce your authority, as well as your reliability and aptitude.

It is imperative to attract and manifest positive attention. Putting adequate thought into your wardrobe will ultimately influence the investment that others make in you.

The Women who Lead program is a collaboration between Flow Leadership and Style Confidante, designed and delivered by Katalin Howell, Director of Flow Leadership and Melissa Lewis Founder of Style Confidante.

If you would like to know more about our programs or would like a program tailored for your organisation, please contact us at or visit our website

About Melissa Lewis

Melissa Lewis, founder of Style Confidante, is one of Australia’s leading personal brand, image and empowerment specialists. Her 1:1 sessions, corporate workshops and networking events empower professional women to elevate their confidence, visibility, influence and style. For more information, call 0405 440 366 or visit

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