There’s a heated argument about what dressing well and looking good means these days. Should you grow a beard or not? Does keeping a beard imply you should be using new-age accessories like beard conditioners? Should you wear skinny pants? What about a tie? Should you show cleavage? How much cleavage is too much cleavage? Are mini-skirts appropriate?
This leads to an endless spiral of questions. And a never-ending debate too. But one thing is for sure though: dressing well and looking great will positively enhance your life. How?
Here are four studies that demonstrate this fact!
1. You’ll make a better first impression
“You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” You may not agree with those words, but I’m sure you’ve seen and heard them before. But do you believe you’ll make a better first impression when you dress well?
Research from North East London Polytechnic has taken the guesswork out of the question. In this study, a male experimenter poses as a market researcher and dresses in two ways – smartly and untidily. The results were interesting.
- 98 percent of younger women agreed more to a well-dressed man
- 73 percent of older women agreed more to a well-dressed man
- 23 percent of older men agreed more to the well-dressed researcher
Interestingly, the study shows that men are less likely to be influenced by your clothes and overall appearance. But women are. So as a rule of thumb, you’ll make a better first impression when you dress well when approaching a lady for the first time, when you’re meeting a female interviewer (more on this later), when you’re meeting your fiancee’s parents (mum especially), and just about everyone else.
2. You’ll think better of yourself
Ever wondered why well-dressed people seem to look more confident than others? Turns out there’s some science behind that. And yes, while most studies here talk about dressing well to improve other people’s overall impression and perception of you, this stuff shows why you should do it for yourself.
In a study published in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, the researchers introduced the term “enclothed cognition” to describe the “systematic influence that clothes have on a wearer’s psychological processes.” In the experiment, a lab coat was given to two sets of people. One group was told that the coat is a painter’s coat while the other group was told that it is a doctor’s coat.
People wearing the doctor’s coat had increased sustained attention when compared to those who wore the lab coat called a painter’s coat. This simply means that the clothes you wear affect you psychologically based on the symbolic meaning of the clothes and the physical experience of wearing them.
This means that in a formal setting, you’re more likely to feel confident if you’ve dressed as a Wall Street investment banker and not a rapper. Not rocket science right? Go figure.
3. You’re more likely to get a job and/or promotion
We mentioned that dressing well is the key to impressing a female during a job interview. But as it turns out, you should dress well to impress any interviewer, whether they’re male or female.
According to a study in The Journal of Social Psychology, 226 survey participants “indicated whether a job candidate of low, average, or high attractiveness who was appropriately or inappropriately dressed for an interview should be hired.” Both physical attractiveness and dressing influenced the hiring decision. Interestingly physical attractiveness was considered more important.
I know you’re already thinking (or maybe not…), “but I’m not physically attractive, so I still stand little chance.” Thankfully, there are specific steps that you can take to look more physically attractive, as you’ll discover later.
And what’s more? Dressing well at your job can increase your chances of landing your dream promotion. A survey by Career Builder proved that as much as 41 percent of US employers are more likely to promote employees who wear professional attire.
4. You’ll make up for physical flaws or unattractiveness
If you ever think you’re physically unattractive, don’t worry, because your sense of clothing and style can more than make up for it.
In a study by Opinion Research International and Men’s Health magazine, 1,000 women were surveyed to “identify, quantify, and rank the traits that make a man “hot” to women.” It may come as a surprise, but the most important physical attribute of a man wasn’t his muscles, handsome face, height, or lean build. It was his sense of style.
So while you may not have control over physical traits like your face and height, you have control over what you choose to wear. This makes you more attractive to the opposite sex than any other attractive physical traits you may think you have. Dress well, and you’ll automatically look more attractive than you really are.
Undeniably, looking good is good business after all. As these studies have shown, dressing well can improve your personal life, career, and relationships with others. The question is, are you willing to reap these benefits and more? If yes, start looking the part. Dress well.