I have heard people say that you should not judge a book by its cover, but this statement is only partially true. If you are an author, then you know the importance of having a beautiful book cover. Bookshops display books with their cover facing the readers, and it is the first thing they see. But this article is not about books in the literal sense. It is about you, and the way you present yourself to the world is important.
I have been treated in different ways by the same people on many occasions such that I can control the way that I want to be treated depending on how I present myself to people. There was a time when I was in Queens looking for the address of a student that I was going to tutor. I went to the wrong address. The guy who came out let me know that it was three blocks further and even proposed to walk me there. Before that, though, I met a man on the street who came up to me and asked why I looked so lost. I told him where I was going, and he told me where to go. However, I didn't listen to him. On my way home, I started asking myself the reasons why I did not listen to the first guy but to the second. Was that because of how they presented themselves? I figured out that I judged the information they had provided to me based on their appearance rather than the content of the information.
A similar situation happened to me another time. I was walking in the airport in Istanbul, going to my hotel, when this English-speaking tourist came to me and asked me for directions. I was surprised because I didn't know any place in Istanbul. Then, I realized that she could have asked any other person in the waiting room, but she came directly to me. At that moment, I felt good about myself, but I also started wondering if she would have come to me if I had been less well dressed. I wasn't able to help her find her way, but I appreciated that she thought I could.
I'm one of those who believe that the way you dress says a lot about how you want to be treated by others. So why does the way you dress matter?
Well, it matters because if you believe in yourself, people will believe in you. Taking care of yourself and dressing well makes other see that successful part of you. You don't need to wear expensive clothes to dress well. All you need is to find your style and be consistent with it. You need to look your best in whatever environment you are. This is because when you look your best consistently, you look like you have your life together. That is what you want to show to your employees, employer, students, teachers, customers, etc.
When I talk about the importance of dressing well, I am not just referring to the professional aspect. It is something that extends to all areas of your life since your clothes are a large part of who you are as a person. Not only does it make you feel good, but it can also largely influence your daily and long-term interaction with people.
There are many reasons why you should dress well, but here are few reasons that will help make my case!
- Science says so!
A study by Lefkowitz, Blake, and Mouton (1955) proved that business suits portray a form of authority. In an experiment, they had someone in a city cross the street on a red light. When he was dressed in a suit, three-and-a-half as many people followed him than when he was wearing a work shirt and trousers. Also, Columbia University and Cal State Northridge published a study that examines how clothing may affect one's thoughts. The results found that wearing formal clothes can free people from concrete thinking while boosting their ability to think more practically.
- First impressions count, and you never know who you might run into.
Imagine you get the job of your dreams at a big law firm in Manhattan, but you are still fresh from college, and your old college attitudes have not left you. You dress like a recruited Greek-affiliated student. This might lower your chance of being noticed and promoted.
- Formal wear keeps you productive and develops self-respect.
Dressing in very comfortable clothes gives you a competitive edge and helps you break stereotypes. Stereotypes affect others' opinions on your abilities and intentions any time you're dealing with people from different ethnic or age groups, cultures, or the perceived "norm." If someone is harboring a negative stereotype, consciously or unconsciously, it can be very hard to get off on the right foot with that person. If you dress well, you are not just going to be impressive during your job interview but also help you to gain new businesses or opportunities.
- It shows your attention to detail.
Putting time and effort into your outfit, with matching accessories, can demonstrate your attention to detail. How can this be an advantage? If you take pride in how you look, you will also take pride in the work you do. It also signifies that you can stand behind your job, which could give you an edge.