What is the first impression you want to present to society when they see you for the first time?
The world that we live in now is much “smaller” as compared to 20 or 30 years ago thanks to globalization.
Society no longer sees a homogeneous race living in isolation, except for some closed societies. People are travelling and working overseas, some will settle in the host country and become citizens, inter-racial marriages are also becoming the norm. We are slowing but surely becoming as one.
Appearance is very important.
It is the first impression the other person makes of you at first glance. If you have a poor first impression, usually, it will take more effort on your part to dispel the prejudice view. For example, in the office, take two workers of the same level in the organization, one is dressed sloppily and the other is smartly dressed. If a client walks in, his first impression would be that the better dressed colleague is the supervisor, and the other is the worker. What if the worker is better dressed than the supervisor? That same client will then assume that the worker is the supervisor at first glance. People will usually assume that the better dressed you are, the higher position you hold in the company. They will approach you first for any queries they have.
When you go for an interview, same rule applies. The client wanting to recruit one candidate just for one position will take into account your deportment, the manner you hold yourself and the way you present yourself visually. Even though you may be better qualified, the other candidate may be chosen because he “fits” the company image. Unfair, but sometimes true.
Another scenario, if you go to the convenience store. You walk in with your shorts and flip flops, and you happen to approach the cashier at the same time as another customer, who is dressed smartly. Chances are he will get served first as you wait for your turn. Imagine, now that you are the cashier, and two people of the same age, same gender, except that one is better dressed and the other looks like a beggar, walk towards you at the same time, who would you choose to serve first?
Outside a restaurant, where you have a queue waiting for an available table, a better dressed couple would most likely be asked to go in first. Once at the table, service rendered to you will also be slightly different (even though the staff will deny it), they may hand the menu to you as compared to the staff leaving it on the table and abruptly walking away. Sad but true, I have experienced this first hand.
How about if you are walking home late at night? You see two young men (sorry guys, can’t use girls here, it will give a different impression!) dressed in chains and leather walking behind you, how would you feel? Threatened? If instead you see the same two young men dressed in suits walking behind you on that same street, you will not feel as threatened, right?
It is perfectly fine to be casually dressed in your most comfortable clothes, that make you look like the beggar’s cousin, when at home doing some messy chores around the garden. If a potential house buyer happens to drive by and stops at your place, his first impression will be that you work the gardens at that place and not the home owner of that million dollar house he is looking at!
Dressing and looking appropriate differs at different places. What you will wear for a wedding reception is not what you will wear to a night out at the hottest night club; beach wear will not be appropriate at the office environment; neither will you wear your pyjamas to attend church!
So far, the discussion as been on dressing right at the proper place There are other factors that will contribute to your overall appearance – weight, hair style, gender, age, physical appearance. These are all external factors. With the appropriate hair style, dress code and deportment, you will fit in with the environment and not stick out like a sore thumb. Most of us would like to belong our surrounding, it makes us feel accepted.
However, there are the exceptions who like to draw attention to themselves as they dress to differ. That is their choice of appearance they want to present to society.
We all have a choice of how we want to present ourselves to society, either to fit in, to draw attention to ourselves or to show off our best assets.