Volume 10

Why You Wear What You Wear: Clothing Cues, First Impressions and Evaluations of Personality Constructs Related to Women’s Business Attire

Rachel Whipkey

This study was designed to examine first impression formation based solely on women’s business style clothing. Participants (n = 101) were presented with one of two photographs depicting a woman in traditional business style or trendy/current business style clothing either on a college campus or in a business environment setting. Ratings of perceived competence and task ability and social attributes were computed, as well as rater self-reports. Participants reported more favorable perceptions of social attributes related to the trendy/current style. Findings also indicated that participants who reported high clothing importance also reported high perceived social, task ability and competence attributes in relation to business style. Results showed no differences of perceived task ability and competence attributes for clothing style. When looking at personal clothing style preferences, comfort, appropriateness and stylishness were the deciding factors of what clothing the participants indicated they wore.

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