Jennifer Baumgartner, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist, author of You Are What You Wear ($16, amazon.com), and the owner of InsideOut, a wardrobe-consulting business based in Washington, D.C.: Designer labels are connected to financial success. And we tend to directly correlate financial success with the characteristics that help achieve prosperity, such as discipline, hard work, and intelligence. Due to these subconscious associations, we may give the person we believe to be successful a higher salary or more opportunities.
Kat Griffin, New York City–based former lawyer and founder of Corporette. com, a fashion and lifestyle blog for lawyers, bankers, M.B.A.’s, and consultants: It shows a commitment to your job if you buy quality items. That said, for young women, starting out of the gate with an Hermès bag can signal that you don’t need to work. You have to overcome that impression to show you care.
Roshini Rajkumar, Minneapolis-based executive coach and author of Communicate That!: Your Toolbox for Powerful Presentations ($13, roshinigroup.com): You may want to scale it back at times if you dress more extravagantly than clients or coworkers. I’ve coached executives who won’t wear their Italian leather shoes when they visit their factories. They want to be a “regular guy.”