What Do Your Clothes Say About You?


When you get dressed in the morning, how much time do you take to consider what your clothes will say about you? Do you imagine what kind of impression you’ll be making on your boss in that meeting this afternoon with that worn-out sweater? Do you think about what a potential love partner might think of those scuffed-up dress shoes you’ve been meaning to replace for ages? If you don’t, science suggests maybe you should!

Clothes make a huge first impression

A pair of studies has found that there’s so much subtlety in the way clothing influences other peoples’ impressions of us that changing even one item of dress can completely alter the way those around us perceive us. When we meet people for the first time, they assess us in the first few seconds – and their impressions go much farther than just your clothes.

In the studies, people were exposed to images of a man for three seconds at a time. In each image, he was dressed differently: in one, he wore a made-to measure suit; in another, an off-the-rack suit bought at an upscale retailer. The differences between the suits were minor, and the studies controlled for the color and fabric of the suit, as well as the facial expressions of the model.

People use small details to paint a larger picture

The study found that participants judged the man in the tailored suit more favorably – and those judgments were not about the clothes. When dressed in the tailored suit, the man was said to be more confident and more successful.

So when you’re getting dressed in the morning, pay attention — every detail informs the people around you as to the kind of person you are.


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