We make snap judgments about people from the clothes they wear. On what basis? That’s the unanswered but long standing question. No one really knows, but it’s just what we do and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.
‘She looks friendly. He looks efficient. I can tell she is an extrovert.’
Intelligence, confidence, trustworthiness, responsibility, authority, success, flexibility and a if you’re a higher earner are just a few of the judgements people pass on just by looking at you.
Putting it simply, we share something about our lives when we step out everyday through our dressing, sometimes intentionally and other times without knowing or thinking it through. While we know that we cannot help it when we do that, sometimes, we tend to give off too much. Remember when we talked about people who dress according to how they feel? well, when you do that, your clothes may be revealing what is really going on internally. Your thoughts and feelings are laid bare out of the closet – your viewers just have to look for them.
The key here is to dress according to how you want to feel not how you actually feel.
What you wear can very well inform people of your type of employment, as well as your ambitions, emotions and spending habits. People can even make or change their judgement of you by minor clothing manipulations like a shorter skirt at work, a less fitted suit etc. People also seem to think much less of you when your outfit is more provocative.
Is this an invitation to think twice before you throw on your favourite jeans and tees?
Clinical psychologist Dr Jennifer Baumgartner has claimed our wardrobe decisions tell others about the secret desires that we are trying to hide:
It’s what “helps you figure out where you fit in. Especially now, with the economy, with people losing status, maintaining a sense of who we are becomes even more important. Our clothes help place us where we think we want to be. ”
People make all sorts of assumptions and decisions about us without proper evidence. We are unlikely to know what these assessments are too, so it is quite possible that our clothes reveal more than we thought:
Too much cleavage may suggest you are power hungry and keen for attention, ‘knowing people will be looking at you’; while over-the-top jewellery implies you are insecure to many, and could be an attempt to tell others you are rich, but actually implies that you are having money problems or that you are trying too hard to show off . Many often fall into the trap of only buying designer labels, wearing office clothes all the time or simply buying too much. All these tell a bit too much. Why really, are you stuck on wearing only designer labels?
…And if you often find yourself in jeans and trainers with unkempt hair, beware! Far from enjoying some downtime, you may be ‘overly identifying with motherhood and suppressing other parts of yourself, possibly out of guilt or exhaustion’.
Another way to look at it: A young girl choosing a short skirt could be an attention seeker, while an older woman doing the same is having difficulty accepting that she is a grown-up.
How about the colors you wear? Are you hung up on black alone? Besides making people wonder what you’re so gloomy about, when worn properly, symbolizes extremes — all or nothing — and is a color of strength, power, sophistication, elegance, and authority.
Dr Baumgartner said: ‘All of our behaviours, from the food we eat to the men we date, are motivated by internal factors. Why is it any different with the clothes we buy and the way we buy them? All you need to do is track your shopping habits, or note the styles in your wardrobe to identify the patterns.
Author of “You Are What You Wear,” Dr. Baumgartner features some of the most common wardrobe and perception problems. Do you recognize yourself in any of the below?
- If You… You Might… Consider…
|Have been told you’re dressed inappropriately or too sexily||Consider the same outfit appropriate for every occasion (i.e. clubbing and family barbecue), or be looking for the wrong kind of attention.||Consider the image you want to project in given situations (at work, on the town) and choose outfits based on cues from those around you|
|Dress too young (or too old) for your age||Be trying to express the age you feel you are, but getting caught between your actual and internal age||Gearing your outfits toward your goals (like getting a promotion, meeting a significant other, traveling the world), rather than a specific age.|
|Are always in work clothes||Value yourself primarily through your work and work-related accomplishments||Recognizing your talents outside of work (great artist, compassionate, fun to bring to parties, etc.)|
|Covered in designer logos||Think you need to broadcast wealth in order to be treated well by others||Practice wearing “blank canvas” pieces and only accenting with logos to emphasize that people value you for more than your labels|
|Live in your “mom outfit” of jeans and a hoodie||Put the needs of your family before your own||Take more “me time.” Remember: When mom isn’t happy, nobody is.|
Culled From the book “You Are What You Wear,” Dr. Baumgartner
What you wear everyday may be merely a matter of habit, but it might pay to be a little more careful in the choices you make. Doing something different with your clothes might be a way of changing things. Now we know, our clothes say a great deal about who we are and can signal a great deal of socially important things to others, even if the impression is actually unfounded.What we wear speaks volumes in just a few seconds. Dressing to impress, first yourself and then others, really is worthwhile and could even be the key to success.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk .www.Forbes.com . www.psychologytoday.com, huffingtonpost.com