Common wisdom would say that in the professional world, experience is paramount to employment and inter-personal connections. However, many forget the importance of appearance and its impact on how others perceive us.
Every day we make conscious decisions about how we present ourselves to the world. Whether we like to admit it or not, the choice to not dress well takes nearly as much effort as its counterpart. At the very least, it sends a particular message that we can’t be bothered to try. We cannot afford to give the illusion of apathy, or we risk being disregarded by potential employers, friends, associates, et al.
Here are a few reasons to pay a bit more attention to our wardrobes and grooming.
Appearance impacts the way we are perceived by others.
Appearance impacts the way we are treated by others.
Appearance impacts the way we feel about ourselves.
Appearance impacts the way we act/carry ourselves.
The first point is obvious. On a daily basis, people react to our physical traits, and their actions are based on their perception of our social standing. However unfair this may be, evolution has led people to make subliminal inferences about those they encounter. In such a fast-paced society, we don’t have time to consciously stop and process each interaction. We are forced to quickly evaluate and continue with our own tasks.
When we decide that someone is worth our time, we still act differently toward those we consider more worthy. Even amongst groups of friends, not all are treated equally. In a social setting, those who dress appropriately tend to receive better treatment and are afforded more respect. There are plenty of anecdotes about people being treated poorly because of the way they dress, and they turn out to be someone of great importance. By dressing well, we add merit to our words, opinions and social standing. It is inevitable that people who appear to care about their appearance will affect the actions of those around them, simply by adding a sense of propriety.
Perhaps most important is how clothing makes us feel about ourselves. No matter where our clothes are purchased, we make conscious decisions about what to wear. Clothing tells a story about our social groups, interests, and aspirations. We treat clothing as our armor. It provides a physical layer of protection, but also the confidence that we look good, and fit a particular social role.
There is a reason that wearing a new outfit makes people walk with a bit more swagger. When we feel confident that our “look” is congruous and interesting, we act with more tenacity. The ritual of dressing up imparts the sense that we are preparing ourselves to face whatever issues might arise throughout our day. Even in a relaxed social situation, we will tend to carry ourselves with a bit more poise. Whether going out for dinner, to a concert, or just errands, people should take a little extra time to dress, and then take notice if they feel a bit better about themselves.
More about David
David Neff has been involved in some facet of the clothing business for a number of years. He currently works at Badowers, a men’s store in Des Moines. His goal is to elevate the way people feel about themselves, by making sure they dress well. For more information, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check outhttps://www.facebook.com/badowers.