There is a culture of guys should not care how they look! This stems from being “over dressed” or “too” concerned about your appearance is effeminate! Men are not supposed to care about how they look. But is that intelligent to fall for this insular trap?

Men, how important is what we wear?

Is there a cause/effect in how we are treated by the world? Does it make a difference in getting someone to help you in a Department store, or being seated at a good table in a restaurant? Can’t people look through all the superficial and see the real us?

Fortunately, guys, we have some scientific evidence to support what you wear does make a difference in how you influence the world around you. Maybe we didn’t want to believe (but suspected) the real reason that guy down the hall who always dressed great, but didn’t know poop is now a vice president!

When your credibility is crucial, in situations such as job interviews, court testimony, sales presentations and first dates (or even second and third dates) it is important to made a "good" first impression.

"You never get a second chance
to make a first impression"
-- Will Rogers

And I believe that every time you leave your house think of it as going to a job interview! Who knows who you could meet – an acquaintance that’s looking for a new VP, or a beautiful woman, or someone we need to influence – a store clerk or police officer!

Behavioral scientists tell us that the "first impression" is a strong one. And the process of sizing you up is on a subconscious/emotional level of the brain. Your evaluation by a stranger takes 30 seconds or less and can be so strong that it could take as much as five years to erase.

Don’t you think it’s easier to make a great first impression with you appearance and then follow up by showing what a capable, impressive and trustworthy person you are with a winning performance?

We’ve all heard the expression "You can’t judge a book by its cover". If you agree, it’s a good thing you’re not in publishing. Publishing houses have long since proven that a cover may not tell you what’s inside a book, but the cover is the reason that we pick up one or the other off the rack. Until a book is picked up, no sale is made!

A good example of "how you look being more important than what you say" is the first Kennedy-Nixon presidential debate. Radio listeners thought that Nixon had won while TV watchers gave Kennedy the win. Kennedy looked great, fresh and vigorous while Nixon appeared tired and rumpled. The TV audience gave more credibility to what they saw than what they heard.

When I describe someone as an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant you immediately conjure an image of that person, maybe without much conscious thought. When I mention a high level executive you get another, different image in your mind. There is a definite picture of a person with credibility, authority and power – a professional image.

Why not take advantage of the research on human nature and utilize the knowledge to enhance and control how you are accepted?

The research reports that people notice the following about another human being and in this order. Remember this is a prehistoric/subliminal evaluation.

1. Skin color

2. Sex

3. Age

We can do nothing about the first three, but we can work on the next four factors.

4. Bearing This includes height (taller people receive higher starting salaries), head movement (nodding is negative with regard to perception of authority) and body language (smiling is perceived as weakness if over done).

5. Appearance Since about 90% of you is covered by apparel, the clothing you choose makes a significant impact. This is such an important area, and on in which you can affect the greatest impression we’ll discuss it detail below.

6. Direct Eye Contact Don’t stare, but look others in the eye 40 - 60% of the time, otherwise you’ll be perceived as having something to hide or that you don’t know what you are talking about.

7. Speech 55% of communication is non-verbal. It’s not what you say, but how you say it.

"What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

What you wear makes a difference in how you influence the world.

Why not take advantage of this. Since 90% of our body is covered with clothing, the clothing you choose makes a significant impact and one area where we can affect the greatest impression!

Dressing badly can be taken as contempt for other people or the situation you are in. Clothing is a way to show others that you have respect and consideration for the situation. If you have respect for the theatre, you don’t show up in shorts and a T-shirt to a Broadway play. (The same goes for church, a job interview, etc.).

So it’s not a question of being judged. We are judged thousands of times every day.

It’s a question of whether we want to have an effect on that judging or not.

Are we ready to see what we can do to present ourselves in the best package to project a credible, professional image?

"Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich not gaudy
For the apparel oft proclaims the man"
Polonius to Laertes
HAMLET, Act I, Scene III

Andy Gilchrist Author of The Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes The world's most popular site (by traffic count) for men's clothing advice!

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