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Men spending more on suiting up?

By Naomi Mannino · Bankrate.com
Friday, March 9, 2012
Posted: 11 am ET

If you weren't part of the "mancession" yourself, you probably know a man who was or is still affected by the economic downturn of the past few years. Reportedly, the downturn hit men especially hard with unemployment.

A CNBC.com article yesterday, however, mentioned that menswear apparel sales were beginning to rebound because men were finally getting back to work and needing the clothes to go with it.

"The competitive landscape for employment is tough," Durand Guion, the Macy's men's fashion director, said in the article. "People perceive that they are getting a leg up by being dressier." He also explained that work styles are a little more formal now than last decade's dressed-down "casual Fridays."

Is it true? Do you have a better chance at nabbing a job and doing better once you get it depending on what you wear? Women have believed this for a long time, but I decided to get an expert opinion.

"It's much better to be a little overdressed than underdressed," says Judi Perkins, a Connecticut-based career coach and founder of Find the Perfect Job. "A well-tailored suit is never out of place. It affects, often unconsciously, how people perceive you: your skills, your demeanor, your communication skills and your competence in general."

She further explains that it changes how you feel about yourself also, especially if you're feeling discouraged from being unemployed for a long time. "You'll feel more put-together, more accomplished in a well-tailored suit or new outfit," Perkins says. "Dressing up and spending a little on yourself  gives you back a feeling of self-respect, of feeling deserving."

So the verdict is in: Make room in your budget for a new suit, shoes and maybe some accessories to go with it. "I do believe that a well-dressed man with an air of competence and confidence could nail a position over a guy wearing Dockers and a sports coat," Perkins says, "even if the guy with the suit isn't quite as qualified. The suit makes a strong psychological impression in the wearer's favor."

Here are Perkins' smart-spending shopping tips for the well-dressed man.

  • Take advantage of specialty menswear stores and department store promotions such as BOGOs (buy-one-get-one) and 2-for-1 deals, one-days sales and dollars-off coupons.
  • Take your wife or significant other with you, if you're embarrassed about whipping out coupons.
  • Make use of the tailor so clothes fit impeccably.
  • Upgrade any scuffed shoes, outdated tie styles and stained or worn items.

Do you think clothes make the man? Have you upgraded your attire recently or landed a new job?

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