"She isn't my type". "He couldn't hack it. She looks friendly". "He looks talented". "I can tell she is an outgoing individual."
We quickly make judgments about people from the clothes they wear. On what basis?
There is much more to our clothing choice than we might think. For some people, what they wear is simply a matter of habit, however when we dress in the morning it may pay us to be somewhat more careful in the decisions we make. Doing something different with your clothes may be a method for changing the impression others have on you.
Two distributed investigations by our group in the U.K. and Turkey demonstrate a number of the extremely subtle ways in which clothing impacts a wide range of impressions about us. Our clothes have a tremendous effect on what people think about us and without us knowing or in many ways we couldn't even think. People make their assessments in the first couple of minutes of seeing another; assessments go way beyond how well you are dressed and how neat and clean you may look.
We conduct a research with over 300 grown-ups (men and women). They looked at images of a man and a lady for only three seconds before making 'snap judgments' about them. In some of the pictures, the man wore a made-to-measure suit. In others, he wore a very similar off-the-peg. The distinctions in the suits were minor—we controlled for all the big differences, for example, color and fabric, as well as ensuring the face of the model was pixillated so that there could be no concealed messages in the outward appearances.
After only a three-second exposure, people considered the man as more favorable in the bespoke suit. What's more, the judgments were not about how well dressed he was.
They appraised him as more confident, successful, flexible and a higher earner in a tailor-made suit than when he wore the others. Since the model's face in the photos was blanked out, these impressions must have been formed after rapidly glancing toward what he was wearing.
Therefore, our clothes say a lot about who we are and can indicate a lot of socially important things to others, even if the impression is really unproven. Research proposes that these impressions about us can begin in childhood—one examination found that teachers made assumptions about children's academic ability based on their clothing.