Many years later after I was married, most days I tried to look at least “decent” even if I had no plans to leave the house. Seldom did anyone visit, so I decided on a “dress down” day. I donned a pair of not so well fitting jeans and a brightly colored, oversized shirt. Of course, that was the day of unannounced company. I was mortified. It was that day, I decided it mattered not whether I would be home all day alone; go away; or did or did not have guests coming; I would look my best, period!
What I have discovered over the years is how I dress often reflects how I feel. If I am dressed in what I consider a less than appealing outfit, then likely my mood will be less than appealing. When I am dressed casual, (which includes jeans and sneakers) I feel comfortable and pleasant, as long as the outfit fits well and is reasonably attractive. When I am dressed “nice” I find my mannerisms and behaviors will reflect the same.
The truth is, whether we like it or not, we are often judged by our appearance even when we don’t realize it. When a person demonstrates the attitude and deliberateness it takes to dress nicely (not expensive over dressing, but comfortable) it projects an attitude of caring about themselves and often about the person with whom they are interacting. This attitude carries over into the workplace.
According to an article by Aaron Gouveia, published in Forbes magazine March 2013, the way you dress can even affect your pay. The article suggests in a business setting, slender/thin people are likely to be paid more than heavier people and blondes are likely to be paid more than brunettes. Those who exercise regularly have an edge over those who do not and women who wear makeup also have an edge over those who choose to forego the makeup routine. Yet being too pretty for a female has drawbacks, but for her male counterpart, it’s an advantage to be considered handsome!
The article went on to explore the idea of not only dressing properly, but discussing how we “look” overall; and even suggested our table manners are scrutinized when we are in public.
How we “look” to others often falls into “conditioned” categories. A person who has large tattoos all over his arms and neck tend to make some wary. Motorcyclists have been known to raise an eyebrow or two, and an employer would probably re-think hiring someone who comes to an interview wearing chains and sporting knives in half his pockets!
Does this mean a tattooed person, motorcyclist or even the person wearing chains are bad people? Not at all; but we live in a society of stereotypes and often these kinds of visuals raise red flags. History suggests we should keep a careful distance from those we aren’t sure we trust.
Do you find yourself scrutinizing others, even if it’s only momentary when you enter a business? Can you tell who is a business person and who is not? Are you more likely to trust the mail man than an unknown vender who may knock on your door?
How we dress, look and behave makes a difference in how we interact with other people. We often project our personalities and values by our dress and and I suggest, even our attitude.