The Way We Dress Affects How People Treat Us


Dressing well is a form of self care. I talked to a friend of mine, and we had a really interesting conversation about how we present ourselves, how people treat us when we dress well and she told me how she believes that dressing well is a form of self care. The words really stuck with me, because they ring so much truth. She was telling me about her experience, in which when she entered a clothing store, she was wearing jeans and a top. During that day, the retail assistant didn’t acknowledge her. The next day, she was wearing a stylish outfit that was very much in her style, and the retail assistant paid attention and approached her to ask if she needed help.

I know this can sound terribly shallow, because shouldn’t someone regardless of the way they look be treated the same? Absolutely, I think we should always treat others fairly. However, it’s also common that we will assume what someone might be like, based on what they wear. As this is most often the first impression. There is psychology behind the way we dress from the colours we wear. As I watched the video here, it does have a point. I do believe that to an extent, the way we dress and present ourselves will affect how others treat us. Clothes are a form of self expression that speaks for itself.

As I previously mentioned, I do feel that we shouldn’t judge someone for the way they dress. However, I also do feel that the way you dress is also an expression for how you feel about yourself. This means, if a person wears jandals, sweats and a jersey all the time, they might not be taken quite as seriously as a person wearing a tailored dress and flats. When we are presented as clean and tidy, we are more likely to be treated with respect, because it shows self care to oneself. Although, when I watched The Pursuit of happyness a few years ago, there is a scene here that shows that ones true character, attitude and ability is through who they are, not their clothes.

It’s good to look at both sides to gain perspective, because on one hand what we wear is important in presenting ourselves. On the other hand, we should be judged by our character and abilities, and not the way we look. We have power in choosing how to present ourselves to the world, through the silent language of fashion. The Huffington Post article says “Your style and the clothes you choose reflect and affect your mood, health, and overall confidence.” I think fashion can be empowering, when we fully embrace our personal style. It creates a natural confidence in knowing who we are.

This is why I don’t tend to wear bright coloured clothing, as most of them don’t tend to reflect my personality or how I feel about myself. I feel most myself when I wear black, navy, grey, brown, dark colours or denim. Black clothing takes up 90% of my wardrobe, because I feel that I suit it the most. It makes me feel clean cut, stylish and effortless. The colour psychology in what we wear can really make a difference in how we feel about ourselves, and how others will feel. I find wearing dark colours makes me feel organised, chic and well groomed.

I remember talking to a coworker, and he said he literally judges books by its cover, and I said to be honest, so do I. I may be more attracted to covers that have an artwork that I like, the colours that they use or a photograph that really speaks to me. We were talking about book covers, but it made me think about how what we wear is similar to the way we look at book covers. We may judge in that split second, what the content may be, in terms of what someone might be like. First impressions are important when it comes to how we dress, and after that it’s really getting to know someone for who they are.

Think of when you went on your first date, your first interview and your first dance. You probably made effort in grooming yourself a certain way, to present yourself for the occasion. In the video above, it talks about how dressing well is not only a sign of respect for yourself, but also for those around you. I do agree, and I also truly believe that dressing well can affect our emotional well being. I remember when I was freelancing, I would still get dressed in the morning as if I was going to an office. It made my mindset more focused on working, rather than staying in my pajamas.

Art by Renée Gouin

12 thoughts on “The Way We Dress Affects How People Treat Us

  1. So true! Sadly.
    People always compliment the way I dress and I have definitely been in that place. I once went to Nordstrom wearing a plain sweater and jeans, and asked for my size on a pair of Gucci loafers, but I was dismissed because, apparently, I didn’t look like I could afford Gucci shoes.
    I went to Neiman Marcus looking for the same shoes right after that, and I was expecting another standoffish attitude, and surprisingly, they received me quite well.
    They did not have my size but they offered to get them shipped to me.
    So, it depends on the sales person in this case, I guess.
    It basically comes down to people’s values.

  2. Good article! I think what it comes down to is that clothes are an extension of one’s personality. It’s not really about making a statement or following trends. I don’t think wearing ‘simple’ clothes are a sign of poverty or low class in any way. Some of the biggest names in fashion and tons of other entrepreneurs wear simple, basic clothing. Wearing simple colors is you telling the world that you like a simple routenic life and do not believe in material possessions. But wearing something ‘extra’ or trendy denotes that you are experimental and like taking risks once in a while.

  3. Sadly judging is something very very common. It happens every minute. Personally I think this stems back to caveman times when in a split second we had to decide whether the sabre toothed tiger was a sweet little pussy cat or actually rather hungry.. so we had to learn to make judgement s pretty quickly and live (or die) with the consequences. Really great post and by the way, I love dressing up and trying to look my best … it’s so much fun even if a failure rather often! Katie

  4. Congrats on your work! I Really hope you keep writing and sharing your words with the world! Hope your 2018 has been amazing! What made you want to share your thoughts and work?

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