People say we only stand a single chance to make a first impression and that it takes approximately seven seconds to do so. If that is right and people are being judged upon their first encounter with each other, many of us would find ourselves in a difficult circumstance. Most certainly, we are more than just something that can be noticed or understood in seven seconds.
We humans are very complex beings who manage to perplex many well renowned contemporary psychologists with our irrational, unpredictable selves. Therefore, stating that the way someone dresses could be considered a precise description of one`s personality is absurd. Personality is defined as “a person’s unique consistent pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting.” (AlleyDog Psychology Glossary, n.d.).
Given that our personalities consist of multiple durable factors, one could wonder if it can be measured or reflected at all by any possible or technologically sophisticated means. The beauty of our being is the mystery behind our appearance. When two people meet, it very seldom can happen that they read each other like an opened book from their very first encounter. In addition to that, we all have significant self impression management skills whether we are aware of them or not. Meaning, even if we wore a suit for an official meeting does not exclude the possibility of us being fond of hard rock music and video games in our spare time. Just as the cover of a book can seldom be decisive regarding its contents, the clothes one person decides to wear hardly ever reflect the person`s personality. If a woman is wearing a red dress, for some that could mean that she is very feminine, for others that can be interpreted as being too aggressive. In reality, she could have decided to wear that dress because it was the only dry-cleaned one in her closet. One can never know, until she perhaps decides to share the story behind her red dress. A short skirt can be interpreted in some cultures as being sexually attractive; in others it could represent a quite formal piece of clothing that can be worn for an interview. By itself, the piece of clothing someone wears, cannot tell a lot about the person who is wearing it. Moreover, we find ourselves guided by the so called fashion rules more and more often. Fashion is defined by the MacMillan dictionary as “a style of dress that is popular at a particular time” (MacMillan Dictionary and Thesaurus, n.d.).
People choose their garments to be in accordance with a predefined, set trend and not because they think that their clothes could reflect their personalities. In addition, many people choose their clothes to match strictly their physical appearance. Therefore, there is no place left for any type of self reflection. In many religions what people are supposed to be wearing is also a given if not a rule. That does most certainly not mean that all the people within the same religious orientation are the same just because they dress alike. This can constitute another argument in favour for proving that clothes could actually constitute a barrier from getting to know someone better and not an aid. Moreover, many schools and jobs require the port of some sort of uniforms. Most certainly, that does not mean that all the pupils from a school are the same. For example a police officer is quite easily recognisable based on his uniform. However, even though the uniform reflects the function of the person wearing it, it most certainly does not have the ability to tell us whether the police officer is an honest person or not.
Last but not least, clothes cannot be entirely self made, meaning we must cover our body in given, previously imagined and created pieces of garments, which being foreign to our intrinsic world, cannot under any circumstance reflect it. An old saying states that it is not the length of our hair that counts, but the way we think. It would be most certainly amazing if people were more often given a second chance, the benefit of a doubt, a possibility to prove their skills and abilities before being judged based on their appearance. Our society has still a lot to learn when it comes to tolerance and openness towards differences. These differences among people are precisely what should be encouraged and appreciated since they are what make our world so interesting and exciting to discover.
Available from http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/fashion. Internet; accessed 21 March 2011.
Available from http://www.alleydog.com/glossary/definition.cfm?term=Personality. Internet; accessed 21 March 2011.
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