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Do the Clothes Make the Man?

Everyone knows it isn’t fair to judge a book by its cover, but we do it all the time anyway. We judge people by what they’re wearing, and we use their sense of style to tell us the kind of people they are. Is this a reliable method? No, but we often use a person’s clothes as a benchmark for how we’ll interact with them. Clothes are a very important part of the first impression, and first impressions carry a lot of weight. So even though it’s not necessarily foolproof, do the clothes make the man?

First Impressions

Taking a closer look at first impressions, we know they have a lot of impact on a relationship. If a person is wearing tattered, shabby clothing, we might get the impression that they’re poor. If a person is wearing an expensive business suit, we might assume he’s rich. Either impression could be dead wrong, but they matter, for instance, when the men walk into a department store. Who do you think would get more attention and better service from the salespeople? If you’re concerned about the impression you give to people, you have to be concerned about your clothing.

Feeling as Good as You Look

The man in the tattered clothing knows that he doesn’t look very well put together. He understands that this might give people a bad first impression. If he knows that people might look down on him, he will feel down about himself. On the other hand, the man in the suit feels confident because he knows that other people will think he looks good. In this sense, the clothes do make the man. Most people, except people who are completely unconcerned with appearance, will allow their clothing to dictate the mood they’re in and the way they feel about themselves.

Looking as Good as You Feel

In a “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” kind of debate, it might be said that the clothes don’t make the man, but vice versa. The man makes the clothes. For example, if a woman wakes up feeling particularly sad or gloomy, she’ll likely choose clothes that are dark-colored and not too revealing. If another woman is feeling happy and bubbly, she might put on a bright-colored dress. And if the sad woman doesn’t feel good about herself, she won’t put so much effort into her looks. If the happy woman is confident with herself, she might make more of an effort to create a matching appearance.
Dressing for Success

When people are told to “dress for success,” it basically means that they should dress as though they are successful, and in doing so they’ll be more likely to succeed. Whether you are confident or not, if you dress like you are, you’ll instantly improve your level of confidence. This may be true, and in this sense, the clothes can make the man. But if the amount of effort you put forth peaks with your wardrobe selection, it won’t matter what you’re wearing. Clothing impressions may count, but they do not define a person.

About Author: Michelle Leigh is a fashion expert and freelance writer who loves to cover topics such as style and relationships. She is obsessive about her appearance and refuses to leave home without her cosmetic brush set.

Photo Credit: revolvingdork