How we dress is obviously extremely important to us as individuals. We generally dress ourselves to suit the current weather conditions. If it is warm and sunny we adopt our summer clothes; T-shirts, shorts, sandals etc. If the weather is wet and cold we take to our winter clothes; jumpers, boots, raincoats etc.
However, we also and possibly more importantly, dress to suit our current occasion or event. What we might wear to say, a job interview would most likely not be what we might wear to say a night on the town. We tend to base our attire on what we believe is most apt for each occasion. We want to feel good about how we look; we may want to impress our peers and other persons. We outwardly project the self image we wish to put on display.
However, do we actually understand the psychology of how our image is interpreted by those around us? What impressions do we believe are we trying to convey and how are they actually interpreted by others? Clothing choices have a clear impact on the way we perceive and make judgements about each other and possibly the way in which people behave towards toward each other. Our clothing, outfits and how we put them together may say an awful lot about us. They may signal socially important factors to others in how they are actually interpreted. The clothing may be new, bespoke, fashionable, suggesting maybe money and/or social standing. Outdated, untidy clothing could signal negative interpretation such as lack of finance, poorly paid job.
Our choice of clothing is used to make some sort of impression on others. We may wish to portray a particular type of facet such as mature, confident, authoritative, sexy, professional, or even trendy and up-to-date with fashion.
If attending an interview it may feel more appropriate to ‘suit up’, a smart blouse and a tie with a neat and tidy hairdo. If going on a date or a night out people generally tend to dress things up a little; a snazzy shirt, open at the collar, sexy little black dress and high heels!
Clothes also tend to reflect personality, their colours, and styles and how they are combined. Are they brightly coloured suggesting a bubbly personality, or are they dull in colour suggesting a drab personality. When meeting someone the first thing noticed is what they are wearing. So dress style should be carefully chosen as people tend to make assumptions and decisions based on their first impressions.
How we dress may also be a reflection of our moods. If feeling positive and happy we generally tend to wear our smarter more colourful clothes and possibly jewellery. If in a negative mood we may just stick to our darker colour clothes, baggy tops and leggings or joggers.
Our choice of clothing also reflects our behaviour. Are we dressed for the job in hand? Are we wearing ‘sensible’ clothing and footwear, maybe going out walking? Are we wearing sporting clothing, maybe going to or from the gym? Are we wearing our party outfits?
Clothing can speak volumes about us whether we are actually aware of it or not. It is important therefore to consider our outfits carefully if we are to portray the right impression in both our professional and private lives.