Courtesy of Eli Dion from Well Built Style
Dressing Well & Why It Should Matter To You
by : Eli Dion
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(Check out Fitness and Why it Should Matter to You)
Since you’re reading this site, I presume you’re striving towards improving your style and fitness and thus, trying to improve the way you look. Some of you might still be skeptical and say to yourselves: “I don’t care about dressing well and looking ‘good’, I’m comfortable in my own skin!” If that’s the case, my goal for this article is to impress upon you why dressing well matters and how crucial it is in your life.
To put it bluntly, first impressions matter and they matter a lot; and like it or not, appearances are a large component of first impressions. Fortunately, you can greatly enhance your attractiveness by dressing well.
Our brains constantly make unconscious and immediate snap judgments about the world around us – often without us even realizing it. This is why first impressions are so essential. When we first meet someone, within seconds, our unconscious brain quickly forms a judgement of this person. These judgments are extremely powerful, visceral in nature and are the basis of “gut feelings.” After our brains have already formed an opinion of a person based on the first impression, we then start to rationalize to re-affirm our gut-feelings in order to avoid cognitive dissonance.
Basically, if you’ve made a bad first impression, you’re swimming upstream to change someone’s opinion of you. A major basis of this first impression and subsequent judgement is based on a person’s attractiveness. Researchers call this the “What is beautiful is good” effect – we immediately have a positive impression of a person if he’s attractive and a negative impression if he’s unattractive.
Why dressing well matters: which version of the same character, “Cal”, played by Steve Carrell, gives you a better first impression?
Let’s not just take my word on this. Let’s see what the research says. Well, the research has shown time and time again that those who are more attractive are more successful in all facets of life.
This is seen in basic, everyday interactions. For example, research shows that attractive people are more likely to receive help from strangers in their day to day lives compared to unattractive people. Also, this study shows that attractive salespeople make more sales and are seen as more knowledgeable and trustworthy than their less attractive counterparts. The effects of attractiveness are much more pervasive than these two examples and transcend everyday interactions. Here’s a few more examples to illustrate just how strong the effects are:
This paper published by researchers at the University of Florida states the following:
- Attractiveness positively affects income – A meta-analysis showed that 68% of attractive adults are above the average mean of occupational success (including income) compared to just 32% of unattractive adults.
- Attractiveness is positively linked to educational success – Attractive people receive more encouragement in their academic pursuits. They receive more positive attention, are treated better by teachers and their peers, have fewer negative interactions and receive fewer punishments. The intellectual and academic competence of attractive people are judged more positively.
Even after intelligence is accounted for, being good looking enhances one’s income prospects! This is likely because attractive people are:
- more popular which creates better social networks leading to more career success.
- seen as less self-serving when trying to influence others – as a result, people are more likely to accept their attempts at gaining leadership positions socially desirable
- more likely to have the co-operation of others.
Finds from another research paper:
- One’s attractiveness affects his achievement and psychological well-being. Life is easier for attractive people because of the expectations from others. Attractive people get more chances to perform, are more likely to be seen to have performed well, and are evaluated less harshly. They are also exposed to more positive day to day experiences (more compliance and agreement from others) than unattractive people. This leads to higher levels of life satisfaction and less stress.
Attractive people are perceived as more:
- Skilled in general and specific abilities
- socially desirable
- competent spouses and less likely to remain single
And finally, a meta-analysis (which is basically a study of many studies which tries to uncover common results between each one) of 68 studies sums up the previous points quite nicely: attractive people are indeed perceived as more competent and this effect is even more pronounced in males!
The take home message from these studies is that your life is greatly enhanced if you’re attractive.
Which version of Cal looks more competent? Which version would receive more respect?
How dressing well can make you more attractive
You’re probably thinking: “Great. Attractive people do better in life. There’s nothing I can do about it!” This line of thinking is absolutely wrong. Look, most of us aren’t 6’2” or have Brad Pitt’s face but fortunately, we have the power to greatly enhance our attractiveness by dressing well (and working out). Multiple studies have shown that personal style greatly influences physical attractiveness. In addition, research has shown that “clothing attractiveness” exerts the same positive effects (effects mentioned earlier in this article) that are caused by attractive physical features that one is born with. Dressing well means wearing clothes that fit, using colours properly, and sending the correct signals to the world – these 3 principles, as you will see, have strong effects on your attractiveness.
Here are some examples of how dressing well can elevate your attractiveness. Even those who are deemed “naturally” attractive can thank their improved style (and fitness) for their good looks:
Look at what improved style and fitness has done for Ryan Gosling.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: from weird-looking to suave.
Importance of Fit
Proper fit is probably the most important aspect to dressing well. A proper fit enhances your positive features and minimizes your flaws. If you’re fit, wearing clothes that are too large masks your physique and makes you look out of shape. If you’re out of shape, wearing ill-fitting clothes makes you look even more out of shape.
Look at the following picture. This model clearly has a V-taper and developed chest, shoulders and arms. The correctly fit on the right highlights these features. The poorly fit shirt drowns him, hides his physique and even makes him look out-of-shape due to the excess fabric.
Bad fit vs.good fit.
You can also use style to create visual illusions: you can look taller, appear to have a V-taper and broad shoulders, and you can minimize that belly if you have one. Conversely, poorly fitting clothing creates negative illusions by making you look shorter and fatter.
Steve Carell is actually decently fit but the oversized shirt and pants make him look like just another over-weight, middle-aged man.
Use of Colour
Because we are highly visual, colours have the ability to alter our perception of reality. Research has shown that colour influences the attractiveness judgments made by others. The proper use of colour in an outfit complements and enhances your unique features/complexion and produces a visually appealing package. In addition, colour also yields psychological influence by associations and affects our emotions – for example, we have an evolutionary predisposition to associate the colour red with dominance.
Here is an example of the powerful effects of a proper fit and proper colour co-ordinating:
King James goes from looking like the court jester…
to looking like royalty.
The overall impression you’re giving to the world
By dressing well, you are demonstrating that you are conscientious and you demand the world take you seriously. You are sending signals of status, importance and competence to those around you. Picture in your mind a man who is dressed sharply vs. a man who is wearing a tank top, sweat pants and sandals. Who is more likely to get the job, receive better service, get the girl or be shown respect?
Take control of your life now
Appearances and attractiveness affect success in all aspects of life but you have the power to improve both through style. We understand that improving your style may seem like a daunting task but we’re here to help. We at Well Built Style will show you that improving your style is not difficult and it doesn’t mean you always have to wear a suit or spend a ton of money to look sharp. We will provide you with the knowledge and tools necessary for you to become the best man you can be so you can have every chance at succeeding in life.
Gentlemen, here’s to your journey of staying fit and looking sharp!