Dress for success a lesson in perception. Consciously or sub-consciously we are all thinking on it; the perception that others have of us and the perception we have of ourselves. But is this thought innately human or is it something we have been taught to pay attention to? Do the various forms of perception aid or hinder us?
One of the easiest ways to influence perception is via clothing. Think on sayings such as “Dress for success” or “Dress to impress”. These sayings are the reasons why the man in a suit at first glance seems more powerful than the man in jeans. This changes when interaction with both men increases, factors such as speech, charisma and knowledge come into play and change or strengthen our first impressions. The way one dresses is said to give an impression of which social status one holds and also shows cultural aspects.
Everyone uses this knowledge to their advantage, think on a salesperson or accountant who regularly wear suits as this gives the impressions of being successful and trustworthy.
The flipside of the coin is that con artists employ the same idea in order to trick their victims. The thing is being successful and trustworthy have little to do with clothing but more to do with character aspects. One who is trustworthy can also be seen as someone who is honest. The question is then who do you see as more honest, the salesperson who arrives in jeans and a t-shirt because he finds this most comfortable or the one who arrives in a suit because he knows that this is what you expect?
Dress for success a lesson in perception.
There is no doubt that the one wearing the suit starts with an advantage. Simply because the one who arrived in jeans and t-shirt shook the expectations of his meeting partner. This can have a positive or negative effect, the success depends on various factors. First how natural and comfortable is the one wearing jeans, second does this person posses the skill to really be exemplary and third can the conversation partner objectively shake his/her preconceived notions and expectations.
These preconceived notions have been implanted from a young age. Think on social concepts such as dressing up for special occasions, the clothing of those who are at the top of the social ladder. The clothing type and styles that imply success vary in countries, religion and cultures.
Dressing to impress is a concept that has been around for a long time. Think on ancient warriors who paraded their battle prowess by wearing memento’s gathered in battled. Something as simple as a crown is part of this concept. We do it to impress those we would like to be romantically involved with and simply to impress others. We also dress to set ourselves apart from the masses. Some of us purposely choose to wear clothing that sets us apart from those at the social gathering we might be attending. Because in a room full of suits the one wearing jeans is remembered!
Ask yourself can you bear the weight of being the one wearing jeans?