Prejudging Based on Dress

Have you ever prejudged someone based on how they were dressed?  Even if your answer is “no,” I would bet $1,000,000 that you actually probably have.  Every single day we make inferences based on the things we sense.  Unfortunately, the human brain is simply too powerful.  The second we look at something, our visual senses collect data for our brain to process and gather thoughts about that particular thing we see.

As much as I hate to admit it, I prejudge all the time.  Now, don’t get me wrong….just because I prejudge someone, it doesn’t mean my actions toward that person are based off that judgment.  For example, if I see someone with 12 piercing all over their face, and their arms and legs smothered with tattoos, I’m not going to look at them in disgust or treat them like a criminal or talk to them like I’m above them.  I will still treat them with the same level of respect I treat everyone else, but upon first seeing them, I will likely come up with some assumptions in regard to their character.  Unfortunately, it’s just my initial human instinct.  It’s okay to have a natural tendency to prejudge someone based on appearance (we all do it anyway whether we think we do or not), as long as we don’t treat that person based purely on preconceived notions.

About 6 years ago I met a homeless man on the street.  He was a panhandler asking people on the street for money.  Actually, he was selling a newspaper for money.  In our area at the time, we had a newspaper that featured a lot of panhandlers and the newspaper would allow panhandlers to distribute the paper for cash.  I went up to the man without the intention of purchasing a newspaper, but rather to just strike up a conversation for my own amusement.  I was thinking that he was going to be some dumb, uneducated baboon who would simply beg me for money with which he would then spend on alcohol.

Boy, was my preconceived notion extremely wrong.  Despite his battered up clothing, his stained skin, poor hygiene, and putrid odor, he turned out to be one of the most intelligent men I’d ever struck a conversation with.  He initially was simply trying to sell me the newspaper (which I ended up buying), but as I introduced myself and made an attempt to discover more about him, he talked to me in an eloquence that would rival a college professor.  He was extremely brilliant!  He talked about the history of the newspaper as well as a variety of other topics such as business, the weather, and even health-related topics like recent CrazyBulk D-Bal reviews.  His amount of knowledge and seemingly high IQ really shocked me!

Prejudging on image

It turns out that he had been in an accident a long time ago, which had ended up ruining some of his basic cognitive abilities and had ruined his family and financial life.  He ended up homeless and traveling miles away from his hometown, which I found particularly sad.

This is just one example of a time where I had prejudged someone and then upon meeting them, found that my preconceived perception of who they were, was a complete mismatch for who they actually were.  This experience definitely opened up my mind when it comes to judging people based on appearance.  This is definitely something we should all strive to keep in mind moving forward!

Dressing for Success

Successful Dress

To extrapolate a little bit from the previous post, I thought it’d be a good idea to talk about the concept of “dressing for success.”  Yes, as I stated in the previous post, as much as many hate to admit it, first impressions do make a difference.  It’s unfortunate that as human beings we make assumptions about people before even getting to know them on a deeper level, but it’s a sad trait that comes with being analytical creatures.  That’s why I truly feel that it’s important to at least be somewhat conscious of how we dress, given certain situations and circumstances.

When it comes to success, at least in the corporate world, a lot of our influence can certainly stem from how we present ourselves.  Think about it.  From the moment we first walk into a job interview for the first time, the hiring manager or whoever might conduct the interview is taking mental notes about us.  If we appear disheveled in any way, I’m one hundred percent certain that they’ll take a mental note of that……and not in a positive manner.

Good Dress Image

It might be a cliche, but it certainly is true that “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”  That’s one of the reasons why it’s standard tradition to wear business professional clothing when going into a job interview; it appeals strongly to one of our natural five senses – the sense of sight!  It might be a bit unfair that another human being would judge us solely on appearance, but in a competitive marketplace, it’s not always the big things that determine the outcome, but rather the little things.  For example, put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager for a major Fortune 500 company.  You have one final position that needs to be filled.  It’s for a Sales Manager position and you’ve just interviewed 2 candidates.  Both are highly qualified.  Both have the same amount of education.  Both have roughly the same amount of sales and leadership experience.  Both have the same level of energy and people skills.  It’s almost a completely identical candidate except for one thing: one candidate came to the interview in a very debonair-styled, cleanly pressed suit accompanied with well polished black business shoes, while the other candidate arrived in a plain, white t-shirt and tennis shoes.  Which candidate would you hire?  Obviously that’s a pretty extreme example, but I think it illustrates the concept of how our ability to influence others and obtain a desired reward, can balance on a very, very thin thread.  The determining factor of whether or not you stay on that piece of thread, can very well be the way you’re dressed.

Business Dress image

I’m not trying to say that you have to look like a super model to succeed in the corporate world.  You don’t have to undergo surgery and you don’t need to seek out a bunch of weight loss supplements after reading the latest PhenQ review on the web.  All I’m trying to say is that being conscious of our image and what we wear, and how we wear it, can prove very beneficial in succeeding in the corporate arena.  It’s also not just about “looking good,” but also showing others a reflection of our intrinsic values.  Dressing nicely gives others the impression that we have good hygiene and take the time and energy to make ourselves presentable for the job at hand.  Plus, dressing nicely can also give us a mental boost.  Dressing nicely can certainly make us feel good about ourselves, thus boosting our confidence and performance in our line of work!

In ending, dress is certainly something to be conscious about in the corporate arena.  Sure, it’ll depend on your line of work.  Sure, much of our success is due mainly to our character.  Sure, it’s not a good idea to get too caught up in what other people “think of us.”  Dressing nicely, however, can certainly have it’s advantages and it should be something that we consciously think about!

Clothes maketh the man

The first thing we notice when we meet people is their appearance.

What are they wearing and does it suit them?

Yes, we also take note of their personality, but this only happens after we engage in some form of communication with them.

We look at their hair, skin condition, clothing and shoes. After that we look at their body. Do they look like they look healthy or are they on the larger side?

All of this we do in less than a millisecond of meeting them.

If it turns out they have dirty clothes and are wearing shoes that have visible holes in it, then we draw some sort of conclusion from that. Which could be they are not well off enough to buy any new clothes.

If they are on the larger side size wise we may want to recommend they go to the gym with some sort of protein shake. We may even recommend a protein powder like, topwheyproteinisolate for them to use while working out.

If we are brave enough to speak to them about their appearance and they gracious;y listen, our perception of them may change as we find out more about them.

They may end up being highly intelligent and clothing and footwear are things they are just not into and believe clothes and shoes are only needed to protect us from the elements. Being fashionable is not something that would cross their minds.

If the relationship grows into one where there is a healthy does of constructive criticism, then you could be asked more personal questions, such as why people do not talk to them unless they have to.

The answer to the would be simple. The clothes you wear, your hairstyle, your shoes and even you bag/wallet are all used to determine what sort of person you are.

If you wear well cut, clean, business casual attire, you would be thought of as successful. If you wear tired, old clothes with holes all over them, you would be thought of as poor or even destitute.

As the saying goes, clothes maketh the man, so if you want to come across as a successful person, you would need to dress appropriately for each situation you find yourself in.