What Your Clothes Say About You

what your clothes sayWhether you know it or not, your clothes tell people you meet about yourself: your confidence, your neatness, and even your mental health. There are people who take interpreting people’s appearances very seriously, and you would be amazed how much you can deduce about a person simply by examining their appearance as a science. Most people do not scour the appearances of others for information about who they are, but everyone forms ideas about other people based on their appearance. Some of the things you can tell about a person simply by looking at them are as follows:

  • Their efficiency. Efficiency is a quality that everyone possesses to some degree, and this degree is reflected in our appearances. It is likely that the more attention to detail one puts into their appearance, the more efficient they are. For instance, when a person is well groomed and their clothes are well coordinated, fresh and pressed, it means that person managed their time well enough to make their appearance detail perfect before attending their engagement. If a person’s appearance is disheveled, it likely means their life is disheveled also.
  • Their level of effort. The other thing that a sloppy appearance can mean is that the person simply does not care to impress. This is even more offensive than a person who mismanaged their time. Someone who has the time and the wherewithal to dress and groom appropriately for an occasion, but does not, is unimpressive. It is those who put thought into their appearances who leave a positive impression on others.
  • Their mental health. This one is a little more open to interpretation, but it is accurate more often than not. Chances are, the worse someone’s appearance is, the worse off their mental health is. It is a basic concept. Someone who regularly has a messy, sloppy or disheveled appearance is somehow distracted from presenting themselves appropriately. It would be silly to assume that more responsibilities somehow come their way. Typically, what is taking place is that their lives are disorganized, chaotic and troubled because their personal mental health or the mental health of their collective support system is low.

Communication through Appearance

appearance communicateThere is a great deal you communicate through your appearance, whether you are aware of it or not. Every person, whether consciously or subconsciously, does an initial visual evaluation on people as they meet them. They look for things they identify with and things they are critical of. They search for ways of understanding information about the person through their appearance. Most people are aware of this on some level, but others are surprisingly oblivious to it. So that everyone is on the same page, here are some things that your appearance tells others about yourself.

  • How neat and tidy you are. This is a given. If there is any one thing your appearance says about you, it is your neatness. Clues to this quality are everywhere in your appearance. The cleanliness and coordination of your outfit, how pressed your outfit is, how groomed your hair is, and the cleanliness of your skin and hair all speak to how neat and tidy you are. Needless to say, people who are not very neat and tidy do not keep many of these details in order.
  • How professional you are. Your appearance will indicate to people your level of professionalism, which is important considering that half the people you meet in life are through work. You want to leave an impression on your professional contacts that you are as professional as a person can be. You can do this by putting thought into dressing and grooming for every occasion. Understanding what level of formality an occasion calls for demonstrates social acumen, and knowing how to execute the right style for an occasion is important. These components speak to your professionalism.
  • How attentive to detail you are. Your attention to detail will certainly be apparent in your appearance. Some people make it their business to notice the small details of a person’s appearance, so don’t be caught slacking in your attention to detail.

Clothes and Apparel

apparel and clothesWhen you are trying to make a good impression on someone, you can be as courteous and cordial as any person can be, yet if you have put no effort into your wardrobe choices, you are very likely to make a bad impression. This is because people are very accustomed to examining a person’s wardrobe and physical appearance in order to understand them. This is not due to vanity or shallow values. We humans have evolved to evaluate one another based on our apparel. In ancient times, apparel would indicate what tribe or group a person would belong to, as well as their social status. This would inform others how to interact with them. These customs still inform the way we regard one another. Making a good presentation of one’s clothes earns respect while making a poor presentation of one’s clothes earns rejection. In order to earn the full extent of a person’s respect, do not neglect the appearance of your clothes. Put thought into choosing them and caring for them.

In order to ensure that your clothes are presentable, you need to put time, money and energy into them. Putting time into your clothes means thinking about what is appropriate for the occasion your are dressing for, planning ahead by coordinating your outfit and preparing all of its components. Everyone’s budget is different, which is why there are clothing options for every price range. Careful budgeting is essential to managing a full and complete wardrobe, and making sure you always have the wardrobe components you need. Energy goes into maintaining a personal wardrobe because going out to shop and try clothes on takes a great deal of energy. When an occasion is coming up that your are taking care to dress appropriately for, it is important to try the entire outfit on at least once, which can also consume your energy. Dressing well is a commitment, but considering the kind of respect it earns you, it is a worthwhile commitment.

Physical Appearance

clothing choicesOur physical appearance is the first thing people use in order to understand what we are all about. We all share this trait, as a person’s appearance tells us necessary information about them. For example, if a man dawning gang symbols on his clothes told you to get out of his way, you would probably be more inclined to get out of his way quickly than you would be if he was a man wearing a Hawaiian T-shirt. The way a person presents themselves is important to how people approach them. We recognize the difference between the qualities of a person’s appearance that they can control and the ones they cannot control, also.

In every culture across the globe, there is value placed on a person’s appearance. People form romantic attachments to other people in part because of their physical appearance, and the value on appearance extends to other relationships and interactions within that culture from there. In cultures that are stricken with poverty, the value placed on physical appearance is lower, as most people within the culture do not have access to any beauty services. But in every society that dawns wealth across the globe, maintenance of personal physical appearance is expected from everyone, and reprimanded when neglected.

As physical appearance relates to clothing, society values a person who has awareness and wealth invested into their wardrobe. In North American culture, we certainly have expectations of people to dress for whatever occasion they are entering, whether it is a social occasion, a job interview, a bar mitzvah or a wedding. We expect the individual to be savvy enough to understand what dress code is called for to suit each occasion. We expect that the individual will coordinate their outfit, see that it is clean and pressed, and we expect them to have tried it on previously.

Projecting Your Image

image projectionThe clothes we wear do not make us who we are, but they do say a lot about us. People are endlessly trying to understand one another, and one primary way of learning about one another is by interpreting each other’s appearances. The outfits we choose indicate to those around us what we value, how we live and how we may behave toward them. This is why it is important to be conscious of what the clothes we are wearing say to those around us. What we wear can have an impact on our reputations, our relationships and our personal success. In order to achieve most goals in life, appropriate clothing is an impassable barrier to those who do not pay attention to how they dress.

In order to project a desirable image with your clothing, you must consider what kind of image you want to project. Are you interviewing for an office job where business casual is the most appropriate attire? Are you attending a black tie event that calls for ball gowns and tuxedos? Or are you leading people on a hike, in which case cargo pants and hiking boots are most appropriate? Every individual occasion calls for a different outfit, and being judicial about what kind of outfit each occasion calls for will do you well in life. Think about what others will be wearing, what clothes you own, what clothes you need to buy and what you want others to think of your appearance at this event.

Next comes assembling and trying on the outfit. Choosing items that are a good fit for your size is essential. Mixing and matching color schemes is important to experiment with as well. Having a sense for which trends are popular will certainly matter to the success of your outfit. And do not forget to accessorize! Never under any circumstance forego trying the entire outfit on before wearing it.

Your Wardrobe and Your Mental Health

mental health and wardrobeHave you ever noticed that there is a big difference between the appearance of someone who is mentally stable and someone who is not? It is not uncommon for someone who is mentally unhealthy to have an ill-maintained appearance, and their clothing usually plays a large part in it. There have been studies done on what your apparel says about you, and one thing that your clothing speaks to is your mental health. There are certain commonalities between the wardrobe decisions of those who are mentally unwell.

Clothes that are unnecessarily baggy or that hide a person’s body can be a sign of low self esteem or body image issues. When someone is ashamed of their body, they try to make it as invisible as possible inside their clothes.

If there is no attention paid to the detail of a person’s wardrobe, as in clothes are the wrong size, mismatching or disheveled, this tends to mean that the person wearing them is generally out of control of their life, which could be for a number of reasons, including but not limited to ADD, ADHD, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or addiction.

When a person has no color in their wardrobe and chooses only plain, dark colors, it can be an indication of depression. Someone suffering from depression resembles someone grieving or mourning, and often consists of colors like black, gray and blue.

This is not to say that a tidy appearance is always a sign of mental health. If someone’s outfit is a little too impeccably coordinated, in color, pattern or otherwise, it can be a sign of OCD. This can also be true of someone whose clothing is never dirty or wrinkled, but always immaculate and pressed, which is a potential sign of germophobia.