Fashionable dressing can carry confidence

Zach Petroff | Opinions Editor | In this picture, taken Wednesday, Luke has embraced having a strong sense of fashion.

Luke Henne | Editor-in-Chief

Feb. 16, 2023

Anyone that knew a younger version of me knew that I had no sense of fashion. None.

My hairstyle was either buzz cut or let it grow until the cowlick sticks straight up. My version of dressing up was wearing khakis and a sweatshirt with a team’s logo on it.

Simply put, my style was lacking, and when you don’t dress well, chances are you might not be confident in yourself.

A year ago around this time, I was not a confident person. I was anxious. I was embarking on the summer before my senior year without a solidified sense of where my career could be going. I felt like I had no legitimate reason to dress up.

Then, I finally caught a break. A little over a year ago, I landed an internship in the communications department with the Pittsburgh Pirates — an internship where I’d need to dress in business casual (collared shirt, dress pants, dress shoes, etc.) every time I stepped foot in the office.

I had never dressed in anything close to the sort on a regular basis. The only exceptions, to that point, had been for funerals, weddings and occasional holiday gatherings.

I made a trip to Macy’s a few weeks prior to the start of the Pirates’ season, where I got a pair of Johnston & Murphy’s, as well as two pairs of dress pants. That was all I needed to change my perspective.

I felt confident in my appearance, and I knew that I got to look presentable because of the internship opportunity that I’d earned.

From that point forward, I slowly but surely started incorporating this business-casual look into my wardrobe on a more regular basis. Why not? I had the clothes, and I had the confidence, so why not put them to good use?

Now, nearly a year removed from that wardrobe change, I love to dress up, more than I ever have. I do it without hesitation. I do it because I get to, not because I am required to.

Basketball game that I’m covering for the Duke? Dress up.

Heading across the street to my current internship with the Pittsburgh Penguins? Dress up.

Waking up and getting ready to go out for my slew of Tuesday classes? Dress up.

It doesn’t have to be flashy — it can be modest — but it can make a significant impact in the way you carry yourself.

If you look good, you feel good. And if you feel good, your confidence in yourself is going to reap the benefits. For myself, I was tired of looking like I didn’t care, and that’s exactly what my wardrobe was saying about me.

I’d like to think that there is a correlation between my willingness to dress up in a fashionable manner and the rise in my levels of self-confidence. Because right now, I’ve never been more confident in my talents and abilities.

All it took was catching one break in the professional world to give me a wake-up call. That call told me that I was capable of doing great things, so why not dress in a way that reflected that potential?

The next time you’re thinking about whether you should just throw on the baggy sweatpants or put on the dress pants, opt for the latter. It might seem like a small choice, but taking the extra steps to make yourself look and feel like a more-successful person will serve as a boost to your confidence.

Body language carries you a long way. If you dress with confidence, you open up a lot of avenues for success in this world.