Waking up in the morning and choosing what to wear for the day can be a daunting task for many people. Staring into your closet, deciding what you "feel" like wearing, especially before you have had your morning coffee, can lead to some choices we regret later. But whether we realize it or not, what we choose to put on says a lot about who we are as individuals. Even if you do not consciously think about it when you slip into your "go-to" outfit, what we wear sends a message to those around us, letting them know how we feel that day, how we "want" to be perceived, and can signal a great deal of socially important things to others, even ones we did not intend.
One might think, "Can people not see through superficial clothing, and just see us for who we really are?" Unfortunately, the answer is no. It has been demonstrated through studies that clothing does make a difference in how we are perceived by others. So whether we agree with the idea or not, what we choose to put on for the day may send mixed messages to people around us. As a result, before you slip into the same jeans and sneakers you have been wearing to the office for the past week, it is important to decide what message you want to send to the people around you.
"You don't get a second chance to make a first impression"
According to research, it only takes someone about three seconds or less to make a "snap judgment" of someone based on what they are wearing and how they are groomed. That's it - you have three seconds to make a first impression. And since someone cannot get to know your personality in those three seconds, first impressions are based generally on appearance.
In this regard, clothing is a way to show others that you have respect and consideration for the situation you are in. For example, you wouldn't show up to someone's wedding in a T-shirt and a pair of shorts, as this would send a message to everyone that you don't respect or care for the people around you. The way you choose to wear your clothes will generally determine how well people will listen to you, tell people who you are as a person, and will often send a signal of trust or in some cases mistrust.
Dressing the part
World-famous late French designer Gabrielle Chanel, better known as Coco Chanel, once said, "If a woman is badly dressed, it's the dress we'll notice. But if she is impeccably dressed, it's the woman herself we'll notice." So it is important not to dress "how you feel" that day, but rather "how you want to feel." For example, deciding which clothes make you feel confident, powerful and positive could affect how you feel and how effective you are that day. Furthermore, your dress code should reflect your personal goals. For example, if your goal is to get a promotion at work, you should be dressing for that position now so people view you in a different light, changing how others perceive you.
What your wardrobe might say about you
Your closet is like an autobiography, revealing everything about you. Your thoughts, feelings and goals; all are hanging inside. Do you have the same shirt in three different colors? Or do all your shirts have stripes? If you are wondering what message you might be sending to the people around you by how you dress, just take a look inside your closet.
Your closet is full of labels and brands
Once in a while we all love to indulge and pick up something from our favorite designers and brand names, but if your closet is filled with labels, it could signal something else. Wearing a label across your chest intends to send a message of power and wealth, while having a desire or need to belong to a certain group of people and trying to hide one's identity. Some research suggests that those who plaster themselves in brand names may not be as confident with themselves as they appear, as they may exude power and wealth to one group, while appearing intimidating and unapproachable to others.
The duplicate buyer
If your closet is full of the exact same style of shirt in every color or print available, it might mean that you are afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. For example such people tend to find a sweater they like and buy it in five colors "just to have," or rationalize it by saying "I just bought 10 of them, so I don't have to think about it." Although one may not realize it, this habit may be sending a message to the people around you that you are over-committed and afraid to change.
Your closet is all one shade
If you open your closet and all of your clothing is the same shade of black or white, it could mean that you are afraid of attention and generally do not like standing out in a crowd. If you always stick to one color, chances are you are more comfortable being around a close-knit group of friends or family, instead of meeting and mingling with new people.