Does it matter if the people who walk through your office every morning arrive in clothes that are ripped, stained, and skimpy?
Does it matter if the females look like prostituted, or if the males look like they just got out of bed and dressed themselves in the dark?
After first look you may conclude that he/she is not your type. You may say: he couldn’t hack it, she looks friendly or he looks efficient.
We are aware that we make judgments about people from the clothes they wear. Question how dress code psychology is influencing that?
There is much more to our clothing alternatives, than we might imagine. For many people, what they wear is merely a matter of habit, but when we dress in the morning it might pay us to be a little more careful in the choices we make. Doing something different with your clothes might be a way of changing the impression others have of you.
Dress code psychology is claiming that our clothes make a huge difference to what people think about us. Usually that happens without we even know or in ways we couldn’t even imagine. People make their appraisal in the first few seconds of seeing another person. Those assessments go way beyond how well you are dressed and how neat and tidy you might look.
Research about dress code psychology was conducted with over 300 adults (men and women). They looked at images of a man and a woman for just 4 seconds before making ‘snap judgments’ about them. In some of the pictures the man wore a classic suit. In others he wore a very similar off-the-peg suit bought on the high street. The differences in the suits were very minor. The other big differences such as color and fabric were covered, as well as making sure the face of the model was pixillated so that there could be no hidden messages in the facial expressions.
After just a 4-second exposure people judged the man more favorable in the classics suit. And the judgments were not about how well dressed he was.
They rated him as more successful, confident and a higher earner. The model’s face in the pictures was blanked, so these impressions must have been formed after quickly eyeing what he was wearing.
So, our clothes say a great deal about who we are and can signal a great deal of socially important things to others. Research claim that these impressions about us can start in childhood. One study found that teachers made assumptions about children’s academic ability based on their clothing.
Female Dress Code Psychology
Researchers did minor manipulations to female office clothing to see how this affected first impressions of them. It was also evaluated whether the occupational role of the woman made any difference to these impressions.
129 female participants were tested, who rated images of faceless female models, on six competence based dimensions (trustworthiness, intelligence, confidence, authority, responsibility and organisation). In all cases the clothing was conservative but varied slightly by skirt length and an extra button being unfastened on a blouse. The models were define as having different occupational roles, varying by status (high – senior manager, or low – receptionist). The images were only presented for a maximum of 6 seconds.
You may think that the assessment of the competences are not affected only by these minor clothing manipulations? Surely people use proper evidence to make such judgments?
I am afraid that the clothing did matter. Employees rated the senior manager less favorably when her dress style was more ‘provocative’, and more favorably when dressed more conservatively (longer skirt, buttoned up blouse). Researchers says that the clothing in the ‘provocative’ condition was still very conservative in style and look – it was a skirt slightly above the knee and one button on the blouse undone.
So even small changes to clothing style can contribute toward negative impressions of the competence of women. So Wearer beware!
It is important to choose your dress style carefully because people will make assumptions about us without proper evidence.
Laziness is an easy habit to slip into. We may think that fashion is just profligate business and our sunny personality will not be affected from it Untrue. What we wear speaks volumes in just a few seconds. Dressing to impress really is worthwhile and could even be the key to success.