Skip to content

What I Call Dressed for Success

By Cristofer Pereyra

“I would like to make the case that a business suit–when worn with intentionality–can be the laity’s cassock or habit.”

Back when I first entered the workforce, the slogan “dress for success” was still a popular phrase printed on business invitations. I am not sure how popular it is today. After all, in the era of workforce perks, flexibility and remote-work arrangements, we’ve all heard stories from Silicon Valley about the extravagance of going to work in shorts and sandals.

But in my professional experience (which started in news media, moved through real estate, business, and later evolved into public relations and leadership development) a good old-fashioned suit still is key to professional success. And is not that a suit can guarantee one’s success. It can’t. A suit is nothing but a garment, but when that suit is worn by someone who has prepared him or herself professionally and taken on the life-long commitment of building a virtuous character, that suit can be a conduit to great professional opportunities.

Today I am a person of faith. So, I can appreciate the powerful message that a priest’s cassock or a nun’s habit can send, without saying a word, when they are accompanied by exemplary behavior. What is it that their clothing suggests to the world? Well, among religious and theological implications, it says that they are servant leaders. The clergy’s garment, whatever it may be, signals to the world that those who wear it have a supernatural mission on Earth, something beyond themselves.

I would like to make the case that a business suit—when worn with intentionality—can be the laity’s cassock or habit. We too can tell the world we mean business, God’s business. This is the case when we glorify God through our work and see our work as our ticket to Heaven. Particularly when a Catholic lay person has formed him or herself, worked to develop a virtuous character and received the adequate professional education, a suit can be that person’s entrance to a world of possibilities that, quite simply, a lack of professional appearance would otherwise deny.

“There are no limits to the ways in which we can glorify God, when our intentions are pure and our actions are consistent.”

You may ask, “So, what about Christ’s call for humility?” “What about it?” I reply. When I talk about a suit or business attire, I am not referring to luxury brands; it's rather about professionalism. It is not the cost of the suit which brings out professionalism; it is the way a professionally dressed Catholic man or woman conducts him or herself. It’s who they are and what they do while dressed well that matters. This is not to say that a preoccupation for professional appearance should consume our time. It shouldn’t. Just like nuns and priests don’t really think so much of apparel; they simply wear the garments in accordance with their state in life.

So should every lay Catholic professional do . Professional appearance is an effective means of witnessing to others and influencing them for Christ, and so, should not be neglected.

There are no limits to the ways in which we can glorify God, when our intentions are pure and our actions are consistent. Appropriate professional attire—in many cases a business suit—can and should say to the world: I am a child of God, a mirror for His light to shine through my life, with my eyes placed firmly on the price, which is Heaven, and my hands firmly on the means, which is holiness. That, my friends, is what I call being dressed for success.

Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

P.S. In the lines above I referred to a suit as the epitome of professional attire. I have done that out of convenience. What about the ladies? As I tell the female participants of our leadership program, “I don’t know what the equivalent of a man’s suit is for you, but I know there is an equivalent. Wear that.”

So, what do you think about professional appearance? What difference do you think it makes in your career? Please write your comments below.

Check Out Our Sponsors:

Alere Group

Catholic Association of Latino Leaders

Catholic Cemeteries & Funeral Homes

Catholic Cemeteries & Mortuaries

Catholic Community Foundation

Catholic Education Arizona

Desert Diamond Casino

Divine Mercy University

Exodus 90

EWTN Global Catholic Network

Home Light

Notre Dame Federal Credit Union

Obria Medical Clinics

Pietra Fitness

The Diocese of Phoenix

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul


Eucharistic Revival in the Workplace

Eucharistic Revival in the Workplace

The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life. Valuing the Eucharist in the workplace can offer profound insights and practices that can transform our daily life. Here are some tips on how we can integrate the theme of Eucharistic Revival into our day-to-day work: 1. Spirit of Gratitude

Members Public
THL2024 Saint Series: Light of the Nations

THL2024 Saint Series: Light of the Nations

This year’s The Hour of the Laity Conference (THL2024): Lumen Gentium (November 7-9th at Christ Cathedral, Orange County, CA) will build upon the success of last year’s conference. It expands upon how the laity, as members of Christ’s body, His Church, have a role in being “A

Members Public
Networking Tools & How To Use Them Effectively

Networking Tools & How To Use Them Effectively

So, you’re on the hunt for a job. You’re applying on LinkedIn, Indeed, and any other job search portal you can think of. You’re also meeting people, attending networking events, and putting your foot out there to form connections. Great! However, are you maximizing these tools and

Members Public
9 Reasons to Attend THL2024: Lumen Gentium

9 Reasons to Attend THL2024: Lumen Gentium

The Hour of the Laity: Lumen Gentium (THL2024) will be here before we know it. And at Tepeyac Leadership, Inc. (TLI) we are putting together the final touches for our annual conference. If you are part of the TLI family, you already know what THL2024 is about. But if you

Members Public