The Psychology of Clothing – What you wear says about you!

Royal Ascot – Are you judged on what you wear?

Royal Ascot has become a date in the diary for many people. It is an event which requires a certain type of dress, hat, suit and shoes and where everyone is willing to conform to wearing something beyond the usual. Traditionally the basic function of clothing was to protect the individual from their environment with the purpose of survival and warmth however now it seems an area of great interest and fascination as well as being an indication of social economic status, job status, religion, as well as a way to express who we want to be seen as. Which begs the question do people really judge us based on what we are wearing or is it all just for show?

Clothing can be a way of expressing yourself and can help you to come across in a certain way. Research has found that what an individual wears has a profound effect on how others perceive us as well as having an effect on how others treat and respond to us.  If someone is dressed in a scruffy manner with no effort put into what they wear a certain impression is made which is likely to be more negative than a person who is dressed in a smart, tailor-made suit.

So could our clothing impact our lives more than we realise?

The answer is YES! Research has been carried out looking at whether an applicant’s clothing in a formal interview influenced the interviewer’s perceptions of their management characteristics and whether they should hired or not. It was found that women are considered more suitable for management roles if they dressed in a more masculine style. As well as finding that women who are dressed more masculine were perceived as more forceful and aggressive.  Research has also shown that women who wear shorter skirts and more feminine clothing are seen as more provocative compared to women who has shirt buttons done up and longer length skirts, who in turn were rated better.

 This has also been found in research into male clothing. A study looked at judging a man in a tailored suit compared to a man in a untailored suit. It was found that the male in tailored suit were rated as more confident, successful and higher earners than men in untailored suits.

Interestingly these findings have also been displayed in children. Research shows that when teachers are asked to judge students on how they are dressed pupils wearing smarter clothes were perceived to be more intelligent and have greater academic achievement compared to those wearing hoods.

So whilst you’re out shopping for your Ascot dress make sure you think of the eye of the beholder… and don’t forget colour also matters!  It has been found that red is known as a sexual signal colour, black is seen as an aggressive colour, compared to greens and blues which are seen as more sophisticated and smart.

What can clearly be taken from the research and everyday examples is that fashion is an important factor in everyday life and is a worldwide phenomenon which has become a hobby, an addiction a day-to-day activity. So maybe keep these tips in mind when looking for your next job interview outfit because clearly clothing speaks volumes.

Why not challenge your own ideas.. Play our mini psychology game and guess the price of these dresses.

The four dresses below differ in price ranging from 80 pounds to 100k will you guess correctly or will you be swayed by their appearance overall?

Answers below!

Psychology game
Psychology game