Tackling Fashion Sense with Science!


            When my boss first approached me to discuss my blog I was skeptical. The executive consensus was there is not enough “Fashion” in my blog; so today I took the liberty of addressing the topic.

            As some of you may know, in my first entry I described myself as a Marine Biologist. What you may not know is that I graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Biology with fully funded shark behavior research from the University of Hawaii. While the majority of my undergraduate experience was spent mostly shirtless in slippers and board shorts, upon occasion yours truly would don a terrific moisture-wicking Adidas Puremotion polo (formal AND comfortable) and contend with the fraternity folks and business majors.                                                                                             While I do not presume to know the dressing habits of my readers, I simply assume you all are obscenely good looking and well dressed, I do know how to do research. So, when I heard that I needed to inject some fashion forward thinking into my writing I hit upon a mind-blowing idea: Research it.


            A myriad of articles arise when social psychology and fashion are plugged in to Google Scholar. With the help of my neuroscientist/self-proclaimed fashionista sister, however, I was able to narrow my search. My findings are thus:

            A study of the effect formal and informal styles of dress has on the perception of business professors’ trustworthiness, expertise, and likeability illustrated significant variations within genders. For example, a formally dressed man, say one wearing a Ralph Lauren Big Pony Polo shirt or a Puma Golf Merino V Neck Sweater over a terrific Red House silk collared shirt, would be viewed as more credible than a casually dressed male (Sebastian & Bristow, 2008).


            Interestingly enough, this trend is reversed for women suggesting that dressing in a comfortable Columbia Fleece Hoodie will appear just as credible, if not more, than one wearing a classy Red House Ladies Stripe Shirt. Furthermore, the money spent yearly on improving looks does not necessarily return the principal investment, only raising income by 15 cents, at most, in a study done in China (Hamermesh et al, 2002). This suggests that moving up economically does not necessarily correlate with increased spending on business attire. This study, however, did not look at the effects that dress had on perceived confidence levels. Differences in economy and culture from China to the United States could also complicate these findings and it was suggested that this 15-cent margin would decrease in the United States (Hamermesh et al, 2002).  

            In a similar fashion study, electoral candidates’ had more favorable outcomes when the perceptions of his/her looks improved (Hamermesh, 2006). In line with Sebastian & Bristow’s findings, this suggests that style of dress may be used to improve perceptions of an individual although consistency in dress is suggested to lead to a higher likeability in the end (Sebastian & Bristow, 2008).

            While this may all seem very esoteric, we may make several conclusions that are very easy to understand:

 1) Consistency in dress is key to people liking you so instead of purchasing one shirt on clearance, buy five.


2) The way you dress can be used to affect people’s perception of you, which you can use to your overall advantage. I will be using this argument to get my girlfriend to wear an Oakley bikini around more often to improve her credibility.


And 3) Dressing for success is more complicated than it seems. There are probably more studies suggesting an increase in confidence connected with style of dress has more of an effect on increasing income than the actual money spent on products like dress shirts and makeup does.


Here at Proozy.com we all wear what suits our personalities. We like to be comfortable and we like to express ourselves through what we wear, which, in the end, is really what it is all about. I was skeptical about writing a purely fashion article, but now I am happy for the opportunity. I don’t know what you may like to wear, I do not know how you would like to be perceived, but I know that we carry a variety of products for you to express yourself.


Works Cited:

Hamermesh, Daniel S., Meng, Xin, Zhang, Junsen. (2002) Dress for Success—does primping pay? Labour Economics 9: 361-373.

 Hamermesh, Daniel S. (2006) Changing looks and changing “discrimination”: The beauty of economists. Economics Letters. 93: 405-412.

 Sebastian, Richard J., Bristow, Dennis. (2008) Formal or Informal? The Impact of Style of Dress and Forms of Address on Business Students’ Perceptions of Professors. Journal of Education for Business. March/April 2008: 196-201.

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