Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mature Fashion: Social Psychology & Why Fashion Matters

work and dinner with Grand-daughter
Greetings Fashionistas and Stylinistas;

Why does fashion and appearance matter so much?  One reason, of course, is it is FUN, retail clothing stores love it! this fun is also very profitable (so much they hold four fashion shows every year) and almost every form of business has some reference in their human resource materials regarding a dress code.  If you watched the "Devil wears Prada" and remember Meryl Streep's lecture to Ann Hathaway, every statistic she quoted on the importance of fashion to the American economy, she was absolutely correct (It is all on record).

Although most women know most of this and have a vague understanding that they must dress and style themselves a certain way to create a "good" impression, many do not believe this is applicable to them in any context other than interviewing for a job or a significant social event.  "Rocking My Age", to me, at least, means minimizing as much as possible the negatives of aging and making use of all the positives to live a quality life during the time that is left to me.  I learned long ago in classes and textbooks the statistics, results of many studies, etc. that support my beliefs. However, the most significant reality was observing the truth of these studies in day to day life both in my career(s) and day to day social and personal business interactions.

Many women simply do not realize they are creating an impression every single time they encounter another person and that it will have an effect on them, positively or negatively to a small degree or to a very large one. Dressing with authentic personal style allows a woman to project her personality and qualities in the manner she chooses; basically, she can direct the observer to the impression she desires.  That is a lot of power!! 

Her fashion choices are also part of this powerful tool.  The three major elements of first observations are looking healthy, "put together", and stylish. (I deliberately did not use the word "neat").  In numerous studies, people who projected these qualities were rated higher in all core competencies IN ALL SOCIAL and BUSINESS applications where these studies were performed. (Sorry, I can't remember citations, some from classes many years ago, etc.  If you are interested in reading source data, you can do the research; it is out there)

I deliberately did not use the word "neat" because there was an interesting side note in one of the studies I read long ago; women who dressed super conservatively but  who chose clothing where the fashion was dated, although the interviewee was neatly combed, pressed, and clean did not rate well on judged competencies that involved innovation, creativity, and mental flexibility.  In other words, "old fashioned" in performing the work was mentally transmitted to the interviewer.  Oddly enough, I have noted the phrase "As long as I am neat and clean..." stated in a somewhat defensive manner by several women when discussing my psychological interest in this field. "Put together", although a slang term, really says it all. It says she is neat, her apparel is appropriate to the job, she makes a good visual impression.  To be well put together means using the fashion and styling norms of the times. Needless to say, a more mature woman who dresses "frumpy" has just placed an obstacle in her own way.The implications of this study (intelligence was one of the core competencies) would extend to other business applications than employment. Because I have personally interviewed hundreds of people in my work experiences, I certainly agree with these conclusions.

In my personal life I love fashion and am totally intrigued by its use affecting results that improve my day to day life and let me make the most of whatever I am doing. I also have a lot more fun, which certainly helps me "Rockmyage".


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