You Are What You Wear

The media was buzzing yesterday with results from a study at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. The gist of this study: designer clothes make people like you.

There is no doubt that I perceive people partially based on their appearance, including what they wear. I think this is a normal part of human nature. But this new study suggests that wearing designer labels may increase a person’s salary and ability to get job recommendations. It seems that all those advertisements of wealthy, beautiful people wearing designer clothes did the trick. Marketers of designer labels, rejoice!

My dad always used to tell me “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” which wasn’t always easy on a non-existent intern salary, but I did my best. It is possible to dress well on a budget. But if we can’t afford the labels, do we even stand a chance against the designer competition?

I don’t think this study suggests anything new that we don’t already know: appearances matter. People react to signs of status and money, and the office is no different than a night club in terms of the “attractiveness” of a job candidate or a potential date.

Remember the scene in “Pretty Woman” where Julia Roberts receives crappy service from the lady in the designer clothing store, because poor Julia is dressed like a hooker? It’s the same principle, really. In my opinion, you don’t need designer duds to go far. But you do need to act, and dress, the part.

An article from The Economist on this study: http://econ.st/fUroyU

An article from Time Magazine: http://ti.me/gwHra7

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