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The Way We Dress

The way we dress has always had an effect on the impression that we make on people. More than four hundred years ago Shakespeare said, “Apparel maketh half the man. ” There are references to the importance of dress even in the bible. This goes to show how the way we dress has always been perceived as impacting our image in the world. The world today is frequently described as a global village. Technical advancement, higher standard of living and a shrinking world have augmented the importance of the clothes that one wears in projecting one’s image.

Importance of dress in projecting our image According to Tia Warren, an image and color consultant, we make about eleven assessments in the first seven seconds of meeting someone for the first time, and seventy percent of communication at this stage is non-verbal (Kelley). Based on a study conducted by them, Easterling, Leslie & Jones observe that the dress worn by an employee “could be a salient attribute of the buyer when involved in the purchase process of a professional service” The first impression that a person forms of another is based on what he or she looks like.

Suppose a person walks into a room full of senior executives waiting to interview her. Before she opens her mouth and says a word, an impression is formed in the minds of the prospective interviewers, based on the way she looks and carries herself. Since “first impression is the best impression”, the way one looks has a major impact on the impression one creates In turn, the way one looks is greatly influenced by the dress that one wears. That is why the dress that we wear is very important in creating that first impression about us.

“The same amount of time you devote to enhancing your public speaking skills and upgrading your technical know-how should also be spent bolstering your looks. ” (Hayes) Dress shows status In seventeenth century Europe certain colors were worn exclusively by the nobility, and others were prohibited from wearing them. One of the demands that arose from the peasant uprising in Germany was that they should be allowed to wear red colored dress that was until then allowed only for use by upper classes. (Biecher, Keaton & Pollman)

There are examples of this in the modern world also. Many companies had, and even now have, uniforms for employees at various levels showing their status within the organization. The terms blue collar and white-collar workers have their origins in the color of the dress worn by these categories of employees. This is true not only in situations that force a dress code on us, but also in all instances where we choose the dress that we wear. For example, suits say that the wearer is “successful, powerful and consistent” (Kelley).

Dress conveys a message about the role that we play One of the most important aspects of drama and modern cinema is the design of the costumes worn by the characters. That is why the costume designer gets a special mention in the titles. The dress worn by the characters in any play, over the ages, has been influenced by the nature and role of the particular character. This is because the dress that one wears is one of the most powerful means of conveying quickly, easily and effectively the nature of any particular character. This carries over to real life too.

Certain types of dresses, colors, styles, and the way the dress is worn, convey a silent but powerful message about the person wearing it. In the Merchant of Venice we learn that Jews were expected to wear a red cap if they ventured out of their ghetto. This identified the wearer as a Jew. In course of time the color red was associated with Jews in Venice. The same thing happens with any dress in modern times too. Although there is no compulsion to wear any particular color or type of dress, we do find that certain classes and types of persons wear certain clothes, which in course of time come to be identified with them.

This is true of color, style and the type of dress worn by an individual. Dress reveals the character of a person A person wearing ill kempt clothes conveys a message of being sloppy. By the same token, a person wearing clean clothes in somber colors and tastefully styled, conveys a message about being a serious and meticulous person. A person wearing flashy colors particularly on sober occasions comes across as being frivolous and lacking in taste. One can use the way one dresses to convey a favorable message about oneself. Dress can be used to project the desired image of oneself to others.

As Hayes observes, one should “”Keep in mind that the image you project must reflect not only where you are but where you want to go in your career. ” Conclusion It is clear that the dress that one wears projects an image about the type of person he or she is, his or her social status, and the role that one plays in life. Many companies have found that the way their employees dress has an effect on the development of business. The image that we project is greatly affected by the clothes we wear. In short, the way we dress influences the way people perceive us.

Works Cited

1. Biecher, Elisa, Paul N. Keaton, and A. William Pollman. “Casual Dress at Work. ” SAM Advanced Management Journal 64. 1 (1999): 17+. 2. Easterling, Cynthia R. , Judith E. Leslie, and Michael A. Jones. “Perceived Importance and Usage of Dress Codes among Organizations That Market Professional Services. ” Public Personnel Management 21. 2 (1992): 211+. 3. Hayes, Cassandra. “How to Dress When Moving Up the Ladder. ” Black Enterprise Oct. 1996: 131+. 4. Kelley, Debbie. Gazette. com. 24th July 2006. “Clothes Case”. 25th November 2006

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