Beyond body language, you can read others’ personality by the clothes he wears. Just as important, what do you want people to know about you by how you dress? What does your fashion say about you? Fashion talks. Clothes provide the important function of keeping you warm, comfortable, and covered when you’re out and about, but over the centuries, clothing has become a social tool with functions way beyond the practical.
Walking In Your Shoes
Of all the items of clothing on your body, the bits of rubber, leather, and canvas wrapped around your feet can reveal all kinds of intimate details about you. A study conducted by the University of Kansas and Wellesley College found a wide range of trends related to the type of shoes people wore. Of course, there are the obvious things—wearing Ecco or other name brand shoes means you’re probably fairly well-off—but it gets even more subtle than that. Your shoes don’t necessarily expose your political affiliations but they do reveal your behavior in close relationships. Some examples include:
Practical shoes point to relatively agreeable wearers.
- People prone to anxiety prefer new, well-maintained shoes.
- People with calm personalities tend to wear shoes that look uncomfortable.
- Ankle boots are indicative of aggressive personalities.
But there are people who don’t think their shoe choices mean anything. You might think, “I just choose the most affordable pair I see,” but even that sort of thinking points to a certain trend that says a lot about your personality.
Projecting a Good and Bad Image
First impressions are everything, and the clothes you wear play a big part in that, so why do certain items of clothing—a suit, tie, black dress—have the elevated connotations that they do? In a word, history. The classics, like the blazer, oxfords, and pumps, have been around for ages and have gained quite the good reputation in that time. Most importantly, classic pieces of clothing offered functionality and style and were appropriate for all ages and body types.
But just wearing a blazer isn’t everything. Fit accounts for a lot of how others perceive you. In a recent study, researchers considered how minor changes in what a person wore affected other’s first impressions. The research presented pictures of men and women in outfits with very minor differences—mainly, some would wear tailor-made outfits while others would have the big name brand equivalents. The subjects then made “snap judgments” about the pictures they saw. As it turned out, the pictures of men wearing fitted, custom-tailored suits were rated as more flexible, successful and confident. Subjects also saw these men as higher earners.
What you put on says a lot about you as a person. It doesn’t hurt to be a bit more cognizant about what you throw on every day—but it’s not the most important thing, either.
- What a Person Wears: AFSB