Dress to Impress
Posted by: Professor | on October 13, 2010
How to Dress to Impress
What do your clothes say about you
People that care, learn how to dress to impress. There’s a lot you can learn about someone from their clothes and accessories. There’s also a way to size someone up and immediately know their “story.” There is a subtle psychology in the way people dress. Are they trying to conform? Do they know a lot about style and fashion? Are they trying to say something with their appearance? Knowing this can help you tremendously when figuring out how to deal with people.
Most people (especially men) have no idea how to dress to impress. They simply don’t care how other people think of them. There are women who you can immediately tell get all of their clothes from the clearance racks? How can this help you in trying to influence people based on what they wear? The possibilities are endless! Perhaps you can motivate the “clearance-rack” woman with the promise of a sale. Maybe you can influence the “plain-clothed” guy with the possibility of sex (because you know he’s not getting the sex he wants based on how he looks).
What clothing says about someone
Each one of these phrases brings up a distinct picture in your mind. How will you treat each one of these “dressers?” Think about how you might be treated by the way you look. In almost every situation, the way you dress, the more influential you can be in the world around you.
Dressing to impress is not necessarily about putting a tux and a top hat on either. You must dress to impress the audience you seek to impress. You won’t get a cowboy very excited about buying your product if you have a $5000 suit on. In fact, he might not even be able to tell the difference between a $5k suit and a $99 one. In most cases, the simple fact that you have a suit on is good enough provided it fits, it’s clean and pressed.
Before we look into assessing the psychology of other people’s dress, think about you for a moment. What are you telling the world with the way you dress? What one word describes you and your fashion sense? It is of the utmost importance that you get this aspect of your life locked in. It’s also the easiest, provided you know how some of the “secrets.”
Secrets?!! How do I get these secrets? I’ll tell you. There a few great books that give you everything you need. They dig deep into how and especially why you want to dress to impress. If you’re a guy, the best resource is Be Stylish – Specific Advice for Men. Just look past all the pictures of douchebags on this page and look into how developing your style will help you get ahead (and get the girl). If you’re a woman, a great place to start is How to Look Stylish No Matter What Your Size, Shape or Age. This gives specific advice on how to create an imressive look for yourself and teaches how to flatter different body types.
The psychology of clothing
The following are several areas that you might run into when accessing dress to determine strategy:
Wealth. You can obviously quickly assess how wealthy someone is by looking at their clothes. Are they wearing brand name clothing? If you see them often, are they wearing the same outfits over and over again? Is it apparent they are trying to look better than they are? Some people just have that “air of wealth” that floats around them.
Of course you must be careful, some people will try to appear more or less well off. Good places to look for an indication however are the shoes and the watch. Normally even someone who’s trying to hide their wealth will splash out on these items. Likewise, someone who buys expensive clothes outside of their budget won’t be able to afford a Rolex. If you do spot that they’re trying to hide their financial situation then you have already uncovered an insecurity that can be used.
Effort. Are they wearing the same clothes everyday? Are they not bothering to comb/gel their hair? The effort someone puts into their appearance says a lot of things about who they are and what they need. Firstly it tells you whether they are generally laid back, or if they generally worry a lot about what others will think of them. If they look like they rushed to get ready, you know that they like to sleep late. If it’s a man and their shirt is wrinkly, then you know they probably don’t live with a wife or mother. Or perhaps they don’t care enough to dress to impress. Where else can you take advantage of this laid back attitude? This laziness?
Take into consideration the context. If they have left work and their shirt is still tucked in this suggests someone who takes a lot of pride in what they do. Either they have a genuinely cool job they’re simply comfortable in their world. At work however, someone who’s smartly dressed is probably hoping to progress further in their career, whereas someone who’s dressed more casually is likely to feel happy in their current position.
If it’s a female and you’re on a date or meeting her alone, the amount of effort she puts in can be taken as some kind of indication of how interested she is. If she’s just in a sweatshirt – give up. Oh, unless she’s just in a sweat shirt… in which case… played!
Physical attributes. Glasses tell you someone has poor eyesight or maybe is trying to look hip or smart. How can you utilize this? A bandage tells you where to attack should you feel the need. Someone covered in tattoos indicates a few things: they consider themselves artsy and counter-culture, but they also show that they probably don’t (and won’t) have a very high paying job.
There are several reasons that someone gets a tattoo. 1. The tattoo means something important to them 2. They think it will get them laid 3. They want to look hard/fit in 3. They want to mark their independence
Where the person gets the tattoo, as well as what the tattoo is of, will give you some indication as to which of these is the case. If the tattoo is very prominent it is likely meant to be seen and therefore it will more likely be option 1, 2 or 3. If the tattoo is something commonly seen, Chinese writing or tribal, as well as being strongly visible then it is likely to be number 3. If the tattoo is hidden and modest then the chances are that it is more for that person’s own enjoyment.
How fashionable are their clothes? If they are hip and trendy you have someone who is more social and who watches modern programs. The less trendy or acceptable the clothes become, the more you are seeing someone who spends a little too much time alone or in a small clique. Someone who is completely lost touch with their demographic (you know the sort, frizzy hair, bright stripy scarf) probably is in a bad place psychologically and has let themselves go.
On the other hand, a very fashionable person will be very impressed with your name brand clothing. Can you get the sale or date because you know what Gucci is? You better believe it… provided your audience considers this important.
Out of touch people either know how pathetic they are or are completely clueless. If they’re clueless, there is not much you can do to influence them. And really, who cares about having an army of sloppy minions? If they do care, then a little guidance goes a long way. A looooong way.
How grateful do you think a friend or co-worker would feel if you said, “Dude, you have such great features, but the clothes you wear make you look way older than you are. I have to buy a shirt for a wedding. You are coming with me.” So you get a chance to give them at least a few pointers on style and they act like you are the second coming. Sometimes the best kind of influence is genuine kindness…
When trying to dress to impress, jewelry probably tells the most about someone. Consider that anything besides covering the cold or naughty bits takes an actual bit of thought. The pendant someone wears might have deep meaning for that person and gives away any spiritual or religious leanings. You know it’s probably not a great idea to swear in front of the girl wearing a cross…
The most obvious thing you can tell from jewelry is whether someone is married or engaged. If her girl wears a locket it probably contains someone close to her. A charm bracelet represents many people who are important to them. Either of these items shows an element of sentimentality and perhaps even that the person has experienced the loss of loved ones. Always ask about the meaning of jewelry and you might find something great to connect with people on.
Recent activities and hobbies
If you spot mud on someone’s shoe you know they’ve recently been to a field or in their garden. Is it dry or wet? Is there sand? Grass? Cheese? If there is cheese then something weird is going on.
Have they spilled some food on their top? Now you know what it is they like to eat. Are they ingredients? Now you know they cook. Sweat stains might give a way someone is nervous or maybe just got done with some physical activities.
You can tell a bit about confidence from clothes. Are they trying to blend in or draw attention to themselves? A bright pink t-shirt may mean they aren’t afraid to stand out in a crowd. It may also mean they are insecure however and that they dress to impress because they need attention.
A girl’s dress sense on a night out can tell you about how she sees herself. If she seems more covered than the other girls, then she is obviously less confident in her appearance than they are. If a girl has trousers on, but a low-cut top, you know that she believes her breasts to be her best asset. If this is the case, a well timed compliment aimed at her rear or legs might do more to boost her confidence than another comment on the tits.
If someone is trying to stand out in an aggressive way – for example a green Mohican or black nails, then chances are they are disillusioned with society. This is likely either because they have been rejected by their peers. They therefore defend their ego by pretending it was they who rejected society. Alternatively, they may be trying to assert their independence. This could either be because they are having some sort of identity crisis or because they feel repressed in their daily lives. A lot of young people choose to dress in outlandish manners to break free of their parents’ and teachers’ rules and because they are trying to discover who they are. Aren’t we all?
Not everyone has the fight or flight mentality. We all have it to some extent, but when you get yourself into a sketchy situation, sometimes assessing someone’s weaknesses before you must do battle might be your only hope of coming out unscathed.
As stated before, bandages point to weak areas and tell you where to strike if you’re in a fight. Piercings are themselves weaknesses and can be torn from an opponent’s face. High heels or dress shoes put people at a distinct disadvantage if they need to scrap as well as long hair, ties, or anything else you can use to hold on to.
It may sometimes be obvious who or what someone has modeled themselves on and from this you can tell what kinds of things they enjoy. For example, someone in a football shirt obviously enjoys sports. Less obviously, someone who dresses in a long black trench coat could be a Matrix fan.
To a lesser extent we are all subtly influence by what we enjoy watching on TV. Try to think who or what the person looks like. As you can see, from just a quick glance at someone you can tell if they’re married or with a partner, whether they’re living with their mother, how sociable they are, how confident they are, how lazy, how wealthy, how secure in their class…
Do you dress to impress?
Now that we’ve delved into the psychology of what other people wear, it’s time to look in the mirror. What do your clothes say about you? Do they speak about your magnetic confidence or do they tell a story of someone who’s timid or just doesn’t care.
We all want fabulous jobs and sexy lovers, but what you wear will always limit how much of both you will achieve. Let’s say that again: What you wear can only limit what you hope to achieve in this world. The better (or more appropriately) you dress in any situation dictates how much influence you can hope to gain.
How to dress to impress appropriately. There is a fine line between strutting your stuff and being a poser. EVERYONE hates a poser. What does that mean to you? If you’re 40, don’t dress like a skateboarder. If you speak with a New England accent, wearing a cowboy hat makes you look foolish. If you generally have a shy persona, then Kiss boots are going to make you look like an asshole.
You want to stay within your “clique” …but do it stylishly. Great shoes or jewelry can really make you stand out when modesty is the norm. Besides, looking great makes you feel incredible. What should you do?
Throw away your wardrobe!
If the clothes you own say lazy or comfort or “on sale” or boring, throw them away! It’s time to stop dressing like your mom lays your clothes out. It’s time to stop looking like everyone else at work or at the bar. People that look imposing are influential. And given all the things we’ve said here, if you want a better place in life, you need to look like you’re ready for it and will take charge when given the opportunity.