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Ever notice that business is getting more and more casual? I certainly have. Dress codes have been relaxed almost to the point of “please just wear clothing”. That’s okay – the more latitude you give people, the more ability you give them to differentiate themselves. That’s one of the main reasons I love to wear a very formal business suit on things like customer visits and on stage, complete with the seemingly unnecessary necktie. It’s a differentiator as more people get more casual.

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There’s an even more esoteric reason for doing so beyond surface appearances. I wear a suit not to change other people’s minds, but to change my own mind. What we’re wearing is a subtle subconscious cue to ourselves about what it is we’re supposed to be doing. Ever put on your favorite workout clothes just around the house and find yourself humming a tune from your favorite workout mix? I certainly have. That clothing brought up a series of memories and associations in my mind. When I tie on the black cloth sash that’s part of my martial arts uniform, it puts me in a very different frame of mind and makes me feel more in the moment.

Likewise, when I wear a business suit, it sends a subtle mental reminder that I’m changing personas, that I’m to be even more mindful of what I say, how I say it, and what my thoughts, words, and actions should be working to achieve. Wearing a suit creates that mindset, almost a different personality. I associate that feeling with the goals I’m trying to achieve.

You can, of course, accomplish any of these mindsets without the use of a suit or any clothing outfit. We learn all the time to associate different objects and items in our lives with different mindsets. You might have a “good luck charm” that you carry or wear on business appointments, or a certain routine that you prefer to do. Wearing full business dress is just a convenient way to constantly reinforce that reminder because we are literally wrapped in it.

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