For most people, one of the greatest pieces of fashion advice comes from an unlikely source. And, really, what we’re talking about goes way beyond style; it’s an idea that almost approaches a life philosophy.

We needn’t look further than this timeless wisdom from Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders:

“If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.”

What more do you need to know?

Dressing well is about a lot more than impressing other people. Many of those who take this idea to heart aren’t showing off. On the contrary, they do it for themselves. And that boost of confidence and general feeling of a job well done when leaving the house in the morning is a catalyst for the rest of their day. It carries over to other areas of their lives and helps them look — and feel — their best no matter what challenges lie ahead.

1. Dress for Confidence

There’s a big difference between dressing nice and walking around like a peacock. One earns near-universal praise while the other can be off-putting. Ultimately, you should just “do you.” In other words, find your own style and run with it. But, at the same time, there are certain looks that help instill self-confidence, especially among people who are just now starting to think critically about their wardrobe.

A well-groomed man in a blue blazer and crisp jeans looks good almost anywhere. The same goes for a woman in a little black dress — both to dress up or dress down — that can be worn year-round. Try out some of the classics that you know work well before experimenting on the wild side. This way, you can always strut your stuff with confidence and avoid any embarrassing attempts to overdo it before you establish your look.

2. Dress for Success

They say you should always dress for the job you want — not the job you have. This is some great advice for workwear that aligns perfectly with the Deion Sanders philosophy. Yes, really, you should be dressing well for yourself. It helps establish discipline and shows — to yourself — you have respect for what you will be doing with your day.

But we also need to be realistic. Other people are watching, too. It may not ultimately be fair, but bosses notice how you look. This doesn’t mean you need to spend your savings on fancy clothes. You should, however, try to look the part in all situations at work. Don’t just do the bare minimum to meet the dress code; instead, step it up, and your supervisor will recognize your drive to move up the corporate ladder.

3. Dress for Yourself

The last thing to remember is that we all walk around with different personalities and bodies. What works for some people may not be a great fit — in terms of size, aesthetics or style — for you. A lot of this comes down to personal choice and how you choose to present yourself in all aspects of life. A leather motorcycle jacket with studs looks great on some people and a bit like a costume on others — and you probably already know which side you fall on here.

You want to also consider the physical fit as well. Certain cuts of jeans (skinny, regular, relaxed) look different on different body types. This isn’t even about whether you carry a few extra pounds. Sure, skinny jeans tend to work better on thinner frames. But high-rise or low-cut waists can be more or less flattering even on two different super-fit people. The same goes for lapel widths and the number of buttons on a blazer (for both men and women).

You don’t need to read some fashion encyclopedia about all this; instead, try to follow your instincts. Something that looks great on your best friend may not work for you, so don’t force it. Find items that fit you properly and that you will feel better in, rather than walking around like some imposter in uncomfortable clothes that are too baggy, too tight or just too “someone else.”

Looking Better, Feeling Better

Most people think about fashion as a shallow endeavor — and it definitely can be. Of course, many people miss the point of finding their own style. Sometimes, it can all seem like a world reserved for insecure people begging for acceptance.

But, at its best, dressing well is all about internal rewards. You don’t want to base your whole self-esteem on clothes. They’re just clothes after all. You can dress for confidence, though — just like you can dress for success at work. And no matter what you choose to wear, you should always first and foremost dress for yourself.

It may seem silly to some people, but if you dress well and look great, you really can feel better about yourself. And this can help you out in many ways, both big and small.

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