Fascinating Research on the Impact of Your Clothes (and Your Shoes)
Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives
Click here to watch a video and learn more about Evidence Based Advisor Marketing.
As Shakespeare said, “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.”
Over the years, I’ve written hundreds of articles on many different subjects. None generate as much attention – mostly negative – as when I write about clothes. To avoid misunderstandings, here are some caveats:
- I’m not trying to tell men or women how to dress.
- I’m well aware that attire choices are influenced by budget, geography and demographics.
- I’m not a fashion expert. Nothing I’m relating reflects my personal opinion.
My goal is to report on the findings of peer-reviewed research so you can make whatever decision is appropriate for you.
Summary of findings
This sentence from a study done in 2016 caught my attention: “In a flicker of an eye, people take an insignificant sample of an individual and believe it represents 100% of their personality.”
The study cites ample research supporting the fact that we judge competence, intelligence, likeability, self-esteem, self-confidence, success, authority and beliefs, immediately upon meeting someone, and before they utter a single word.
The primary metric we use to make first impressions is clothes. Extensive research supporting this statement can be found in The Meanings of Dress, by Kimberly A. Miller-Spillman, Andrew Reilly and Patricia Hunt-Hurst, and Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion, by Professor Karen J. Pine.
Formal clothing favorably impacts how both men and women are perceived.
There’s evidence women who dress provocatively are perceived to be less intelligent than those who dress conservatively.
One study measured perceptions of men dressed in daring, conservative, formal and casual clothes. Those dressed formally measured significantly higher in assessments of charm, intelligence and reputation.
Another study investigated the impact of dress on ratings of classroom presentations. Three female students at a Midwestern university gave a presentation designed for a health psychology class wearing different outfits: casual, party, business casual or business formal.
Student participants rated presentations higher when the presenter was formally dressed. The authors of the study concluded: “This evidence for the power of dressing well is consistent with a wealth of research assessing the role of clothing in business settings.”
Another study had a similar finding. It looked at how the clothing worn by a teaching assistant in a university classroom impacted judgments from students. The study found a positive relationship between more formal clothing and favorable assessments from students. Formal attire also impacted the attitude of the students towards the course and the content. Finally, professionally dressed teaching assistants were less likely to encounter student misbehavior.
Marketing Services For Evidence-Based Advisors...and a New Book!
We offer consulting services on how to convert more prospects into clients through Solin Consulting, a division of Solin Strategic, LLC. Our evidence-based persuasion strategies have significantly increased conversion rates for our coaching clients. I'm available to speak at events. I also provide individualized coaching using videoconferencing.
We offer a full range of digital marketing services exclusively to evidence-based advisors through Evidence Based Advisor Marketing, LLC . These services include: web and content creation and the creation of innovative videos. You can see websites we have designed, content we have drafted and videos we have produced here.
Click here to request a free, no obligation website evaluation.
I'm working on a new self-help book for the general public. It's called:
Be Liked. Be Loved. Be Better
Ask will be published in early 2020. We'll be rolling out programs for advisors who want to offer this game-changing book to their clients as a way to demonstrate value. For more information, click here. You can sign up for updates at the link (scroll down).
For more information, please contact:
A fascinating study attempted to assess the impact of shoes on first impressions. Participants provided photographs of the shoes they wore most often and reported information about personal traits. Other participants were asked to make judgments, based solely on the images of the shoes, about income, age, gender and some personal traits.
The ratings correlated positively with the actual characteristics of the owners of the shoes, especially when determining age, income and even attachment anxiety (apparently anxious people crave attention and are more adventurous with their shoe choices).
Wendy Patrick, Ph.D, had this “walkaway” from this study, which is relevant for advisors, “depending on what type of impression you are seeking to make, well-maintained attractive shoes can convey a meticulous image, regardless of accuracy.”
It would be a mistake to conclude from these studies that one style of clothes is universally applicable. We don’t make judgments in a vacuum. They are strongly influenced by our own status. One study concluded, “when the target clothing is a suit, forming an accurate opinion may be different for higher income respondents whose occupation affords them greater familiarity with this style of clothing.”
Nevertheless, the impact of what we wear on first impressions is indisputable.
Get Dan's investing insights by signing up for his free, weekly newsletter here.
Subscribe to Dan’s YouTube investing channel here.
To be listed on our Middle America's Plan website as a Preferred Advisor who offers MAP to clients, click here.