It is a universal truth, in my universe anyway, that if I am dressed up I feel more confident. Coco Chanel famously said;
"If a woman is poorly dressed, you notice her dress, and if she's impeccably dressed, you notice the woman."
My job as a corporate financier often involves some very serious negotiation meetings. Sometimes between warring shareholders, sometimes with business buyers and sellers, either way we are trying to reach a resolution. More often than not all the parties are male and, by and large, will be suitably suited and booted. Yes I will notice the ones who wear cufflinks and have polished shoes and, in all honesty, I don't think they are necessarily better than those in the cheap suits and with slightly greying shirts, but I do notice.
Dressing well however is something I do for me just as much as I do for third the parties I meet. It just makes me feel more confident, shallow you may say (and I can't disagree) but we all have our own ways of making life work for us.
My daughter works with a charity "dress for success" an organisation helping those women in need source a suitable outfit to wear for re-entering the work place. It's a hugely successful worldwide initiative and one I am proud that she has such a positive impact with.
I still believe the old philosophy that 'it's the first 30 seconds in an interview that matter' carries some weight. I know it's entirely possible to rescue a situation if first impressions are not as great as they could have been. Of course if you can avoid having to do that in the first place then that is even better.
And dressing well doesn't need to cost a fortune. Out of town stores such as Matalan carry lovely, very inexpensive, outfits and these days there is always a sale of some sort on and bargains are everywhere.
In my 50s I can now afford to treat myself to the odd luxury item, and I do find that a good coat and quality shoes tend to be worth the investment as they simply last longer.
I also think you need to choose your look. I like to look as glamorous as I can and in my 5th decade it's my preferred persona, but I could just as easily have gone for natural or business. What's important to me at least is this is my identity.
Dressing well doesn't just cover the clothes though. Clean, well-manicured finger nails and suitably applied make up also add to my own confidence thermometer. As does a subtle hint of perfume.
The highest possible heals were also a signature part of my overall presentation but I am finding vertigo is a side effect of being in my 50s!
With my own killer look in place my confidence levels soar and I am ready to face the barrage of abuse I often face in a confrontational meeting with a smile, which is incidentally a massively powerful hidden weapon.
Just try to avoid those so called 'hold up stockings' which I have renamed 'fall down when you least need them to' stockings!