You Are What You Wear

“Early impressions are hard to eradicate from the mind. When once wool has been dyed purple, who can restore it to its previous whiteness?” (Saint Jerome) Throughout life, humans are constantly making first impressions; whether it is walking past a stranger on the streets or checking in at the receptionist’s desk for a long-awaited interview.

No matter the importance, humans make judgments of others on a daily basis. Applied to the business world, first impressions are extremely important because they have a significant role in the opportunities that will be granted and denied throughout an individual’s lifetime. There are many factors that go into the making of a first impression and they all have their own importance. Information observed from cues such as appearance, body language, and even a resume in some cases (as in use in an interview) are all put together to make a first impression. When humans first come in contact with one another, they go into an evolutional pattern recognition mode where their brain files away information for instantaneous recall. Humans communicate 55% visually; meaning that humans judge heavily on elements such as an individual’s grooming, clothing, and body language.

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That only leaves 38% of communication based on tonality and 7% based on actual dialogue. After this information is observed, the individual subconsciously compares these observations to all of the people that they have ever interacted with. And before they know it, they have made a decision about that person; their occupation, personality, social life, trustworthiness, etc. The thought-provoking part about first impressions is that they are usually spot-on and are nearly impossible to change. First impressions are so important because it is the leading factor that determines how an individual will interact with one another. “People do judge a book by its cover.

Right or wrong, it’s the real world. Dressing appropriately in today’s workforce is essential. Your clothes are the first impression you make whether on a job interview, representing your firm to a new client, or making a presentation within your company. Bottom line: you should always dress for the job you want, and for your professional goals” (John T. Molloy). To conclude, first impressions play an extremely significant role in the events that will occur throughout an individuals’ lifetime; and even though every aspect of first impressions are important, appearance is among the most important because it is usually the first piece of information others collect before verbal exchanges are made.

Ergo, it is important to realize that fashion can make or break one’s career and social life as well; it is unassailably essential for individuals to dress in a way that allows them to make a desirable first impression. After all, “the clothing we choose to wear denotes a particular lifestyle we are part of (or wish to join) because it is the first impression that we make before verbal exchanges are made. Fashion is nonverbal communication” (Steven Faerm).