Does Clothing Have an Impact on Social Interactions:
An Observational Study in the Classroom
There are many reasons why we choose to wear a particular article or style of clothing. Many of us consider our choice in clothing as an extension of our identity. While many others pick items from their wardrobe that reflect their current mood. There are also many times when we choose to dress a certain way in anticipation of being in a particular social setting. Even people who don't seem to bother with matching clothes or wearing a designer label or walk around wearing clothes that are torn and dirty, are making a statement. What remains to be examined is whether or not there is a clear relationship between the clothing we wear and our social interactions.
The implications of such a relationship could lend itself to a variety of benefits. Imagine knowing that if you are dressed a particular way; you are more likely to get better service in a restaurant. We already know that when showing up for a job interview, there is certain dress attire that will make you more likely to get the job. Why do you think that when you're single and going out, you tend to spend more time getting ready and dressed up? The answer is because we associate first impressions and attraction to our physical appearances.
A variety of studies using empirical reasoning in many different settings, have tried to establish a relationship between the two. Pamela Regan of California State University, Los Angeles was cited in the Washington Post as saying "First, people need to dress appropriately if you want to be treated well, then dress the part," after she concluded an observational study of shoppers, the service they received and the way they were dressed. Published in the Psychological Reports, 2002 her study titled "Customer Service As A Function of Shopper's Attire'" revealed that upon entering a store, it took more than 20 seconds longer for an employee to approach a shopper dressed in...
References: Regan, P. C., & Llamas V. (2002). Customer service as a function of shopper 's attire. Psychological Reports, 90, 203-204.
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