Are we judged by our appearance alone? Is what we wear, how we act and what we say judged first above all? Do we take more time in choosing what to wear in the fear that we will be judged immediately?
Walking down the cobbled high street with shops on both sides, the mixture of onion, garlic, dried fish and pepper hit my nose all at once. Holding my breath for a moment scurrying past the delicatessen shops. Near the crossing is a supermarket. Throngs of people can be seen at the entrance. The street has been made one-way some time ago to cater for the ever increasing traffic volume. However lunch hour finds the roads uncrossable, cars and motorcycles are moving at uncontrollable speeds from one spot to the other.
The street is overloaded with people dressed smartly, casually and flamboyantly. But they must be hiding their true personality in the hope that they create a façade aiming to fool every one. The dominance of social media, especially twitter, has had a profound effect on the fashion industry. Its excessive power has gripped billions of users around the world by making no distinction between lifestyle and marketing, it has interwoven itself into our everyday lives. Camille Charriere, a fashion blogger, emphasised that she noticed the change long ago when people started to upload their fashion onto social media insinuating that people became more cynical of their fashion choices conscious that it has already been seen. In the age of the selfie, 39% of women are more likely to engage with a brand on social media, meaning that young people are under more pressure to stylise their social media with fashion pieces that they have not previously been seen in, therefore avoiding judgement.
Whether we chose to dress ourselves in silk, denim, fur or leather our clothes make a huge difference to what people think about us. People make their own assessments in the first few seconds of seeing another – assessments that go beyond how well you are dressed and how neat and tidy you may appear to be. Katie Langford-Foster, who works at OK! Magazine, explains that “fashion has a huge influence on our day to day lives, it effects the way we present ourselves to anyone and what they think of us.” Society tends to be done formulating their initial opinion of someone before they’ve actually spoken to them. Resting their whole judgement on the way the individual looks, talks and acts. Therefore clothing has a direct effect on people’s default assumptions, the better they are dressed, the more respect and attention the person automatically gives. Claire , who works in the fashion industry, admitted that
“clothing plays a huge role in how we are judged and the way we dress is immediately scrutinised. You have to look your best all the time. This effects young people as they then have anxiety and thats a bad thing.”
Researchers have suggested that people care about their appearance so much because of the lipstick effect. During the times of economic recession, women are more likely to purchase products that boost their attractiveness, with the hope that the use of such products would attract potential partners with economic resources. Individuals are thought to care so much about their physical appearance because it is tied to their perceptions of their social status. Maddie, a Topshop personal shopper, said, “people really care about what they are seen in, and what they look like.
“Appearance is a very important thing.”
In our perceptions of people, and their perceptions of us, the mind creates a limited picture that seems clear and real, but is actually built largely on unconscious inferences that are made upon the appearance of the individual. Appearances can only take a person to an introductory stage; people frame an opinion, which the individual feels they have to live up to.
‘First impressions’ became a term for a reason. Everyone knows that appearances do really count on first impressions, and first impressions are what count overall. Physical appearance serves as a channel through which personality is manifested. Physical appearance plays a more important role in personality judgement than ever before, with the rise of social media and they ability to make snap decision of the person.