Many people believe that you can tell everything about a person from how they dress. A man in a dark, three-piece suit, carrying a briefcase is obviously a businessman – right? A woman wearing a long black gown and tons of eye make-up is obviously into goth, and that kid with the large green mohawk and baggy pants must be a punkrocker. It is very easy to label people based on how they are dressed, sometimes too easy.
Do we really fit into neat labels so simply? Do we really convey an image, every single time we walk out of the house?
Seeing a person wearing designer labels, every item perfectly matching, will immediately make one think, “that person obviously has a lot of money.” Next, see a person wearing sweat pants, an old T-shirt, socks with no shoes, and then one might suppose they have little money or do not care about their appearance. The pressure to “dress for success” starts as early as the first day of school, where children immediately take note of each other’s appearance first and everything else second.
Let’s face it: the first thing you do to a person is look at them. Before a single word is exchanged, most first impressions are already formed. What is their opinion based on? How you look, of course. Your appearance gives people clues about your personality, and it doesn’t matter who you are. Tattoos, shoes, jewelry, even the way you do your hair can tell another person a little bit about you. Cowboy boots and blue jeans with big belt buckles, khaki pants with a crisp polo shirt, black fishnets and four-inch heels – what you put on in the morning is what you will be judged by for the rest of the day.
And if you want it to, can’t all of it fit some stereotype? Even something as simple as which brand of tennis shoes you prefer will tell the rest of the world a little something about you. After all, most everyone knows how much money each name brand costs. The amount of money you spend on your clothing and accessories is usually the most evident thing of all about you, but if anything will tell the tale most accurately it’s the shoes.
For the most part, people are drawn together based on common interests. But, strange as it may seem, you will usually find that certain groups of friends all dress alike. Most people wear clothing similar to what their friends wear. In a world that thrives on individuality and creativity, how is that even possible? Our clothing very often reflects our personalities. There is a certain uniform that goes with certain professions and activities, even likes and dislikes in music. Golfers, for instance, are recognized worldwide for the fashions they wear on the greens. Young men who are into rap music are known for baggy clothes, expensive tennis shoes, and an overall casual appearance completed by a well-matched outfit. People can tell the music they like from the clothing they wear, and fans of country music are no different when it comes to spotting them in a crowd. So it’s little wonder that the people we surround ourselves look like us, for we’ve made it a point to announce to the world who we are through our style of dress.
So if you completely change your style of dress, will your life completely change also? Will you be treated differently, draw different friends, find a different job? Will you, essentially, become a different person just because you started to dress in a different manner?
Isn’t anything possible? If a young man spends four years of his life wearing jewelry in his face, spiked-up, multicoloured hair, ripped t-shirts and blue jeans with holes in them, and then one day changes all of that for a distinguished suit, you bet he’ll know the difference. People will speak to and treat him differently. He could even meet new people as a result, be taken more seriously in his career, get a girlfriend. But will he stop enjoying death-metal and hardcore rock n’ roll? – Probably not. Changing clothes won’t change your personality, just the image that you present to the world.
Which could have an affect on your life. Every single day, people pass judgment on others in the span of three seconds or less. Everyone does it. You see a person, take in their appearance, and make a decision about them. What you present through your clothing often says more about you than you will be able to say about yourself in words. People who look like you will be drawn to you, and others will treat you accordingly based on your dress.
So, before you go out of your house each day, ask yourself this question: what do I want to tell the rest of the world about me?