Studies reveal that people who are judged by others as being among the “best dressed of their group feel considerably better about themselves” than those who are grouped as less well dressed. The best dressed are friendlier, more vivacious, and more talkative, they have a more active social life; and they are more popular and more likely to be selected as leaders. Knowing that they make a good impression on others, they are less self- conscious, less self-centered, and less anxious. Since they feel at ease, they behave in a natural, friendly way. As a result, they enjoy greater social acceptance than those whose behavior is judged less favorable.
By adolescence, boys and girls recognize the value of clothing in making a good impression. As a result, they become extremely clothes-conscious and are willing to sacrifice other pleasure to buy the kind of clothes they want. They not only want to create the impression that they are well dresses, but they also want their clothes to tell others what “type” of person they are and what group they belong to.
Effects of being poorly dressed
Being poorly or inappropriately dresses can make a person feel uncomfortable and self- conscious. His un-easiness and lack of confidence adversely affect the judgments of others as well as his level of social acceptance. Feeling inadequate and inferior, he is likely to develop a self- rejecting attitude and to be shy, to be self-effecting and uncooperative. He develops a defensive, non participatory attitude toward social activities, claiming that they bore him. He develops a strong almost fearful distaste of prominence and leadership roles and withdraws from any situation in which he might have to be in the spot light.
Worrying a bout the impression he is making on others causes the poorly dressed person to become tongue-tied. He then gives the impression of being dull or bored. This accentuates his lack of social acceptance and intensifies his desire to be inconspicuous and to withdraw from the social situation as soon as possible. Occasionally a poorly dressed person will talk in a nervous and compulsive way to distract attention from his clothes, or he will apologize for his own appearance and criticize that of others.
Only a person who is well know for achievement, his wealth, or his social position can afford to be poorly dressed if he wants to be favorably judged. Even the most eminent person, however can not count on being favorably judged is others do not know of his achievements or recognize the symbols of his position.
Being poorly dressed over a long period is likely inferiority complex. Should economic adversity or some other condition force a person to adopt a style of dress much below what he has been used to, it will lead to feelings of martyrdom in addition to feelings of inferiority? These feelings are responsible for some of the unfavorable attitudes toward self that are so prevalent among elderly people.Fear of being unfavorably judged by others leads many adolescents and adults to use questionable devices to obtain the clothing they feel is essential to social approval. Many cases of shoplifting and petty thievery, especially among girls, have been attributed to the desire to obtain clothes, costume jewelry, and other aids to personal adornment which they or their parents can not afford. Adults seeking advancement in the business world often borrow or spend beyond their means to buy expensive clothes.