Dress for the Part

Dress for the Part

Dress For Success, suits. My dear IBM dad insisted I needed one when I headed out after high school to interview for my first job. I did buy one (Evan Picone, of-course) but soon left it behind for an Annie Hall sort of look. The dress-for-success model was never going to be my style. Fortunately, one of the benefits of working in advertising was a very loose dress code. Even then, I pushed it a bit, but not without the knowledge that the world was a stage and I had better dress for the role I wanted to play. It’s funny, I still remember my sweet mom saying, when I was just a tot, at the end of the day, “I’d better freshen up. Your daddy will be home soon.” Ah, the wife role back in the day! I wore a red suit to my dad’s retirement luncheon I loved that suit.

Maybe some people don’t notice the clerk sporting a nose ring, but unfortunately, I am not one of them. The pharmacist with the hot pink hair worries me. It doesn’t pair well with her white tech coat. No, really, I don’t want the dental hygienist with the nose piercing and tattoos to clean my teeth. I am most comfortable with people who dress and look the part of the profession or role they have chosen to work in. I once visited a posh dog-boarding facility. Key employees were dressed in black pants and white shirts. As far as I could see, they didn’t have a dog hair or paw print on them. I immediately wondered how often they interacted with their furry customers, past a cursory head pat.

My teen will tell you that while my style of dress may be odd at times (I love Blue Fish on-sale or on ebay), I do pay attention and dress for the occasion. I never showed up to teachers conferences in torn jeans and a t-shirt sporting a rock band. Other mother’s did, and perhaps that meant they never gave their kid Fruit Loops for breakfast and had nothing to hide. I just wasn’t cool that way.

It’s popular on social media and in the media in general these days to tsk-tsk at any sort of judgment of our fellow people. You know, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” What does that even mean? How else would we start the process of choosing a book? The sheer number of books would be overwhelming if we tried to properly evaluate every one. So we do the next best thinglook at the covers and read the titles. We might pick up half a dozen, at most, and glance through them, and then, finally, pick one. In the world of people, if I am browsing for credibility, I am probably going to shy away from the person with hot pink hair. I find it extremely distracting to talk to a person with a lip ring, and I just don’t understand tattoos.

Of course, a person has the right to have multiple piercings, hot pink hair, and visible tattoos. Just like I have the right to judge who I am most comfortable doing business with. Friendship is a whole other matter. I have a friend with blue hair. It’s well done. It’s kicky. I like it. She works in advertising on the creative side.

What are your thoughts? Do you you judge people by how they look?

Odd Loves Company,


Some interesting statistics— Aaron Gouveia lists seven ways your looks affect your pay

  1. Tall people get paid more money: A 2004 study by Timothy Judge at the University of Florida found that for every inch of height, a tall worker can expect to earn an extra $789 per year. That means two equally skilled coworkers would have a pay differential of nearly $5,000 per year, simply because of a 6-inch height differential, according to the study.
  2. Fat people get paid less: Obese workers (those who have a Body Mass Index of more than 30) are paid less than normal-weight coworkers at a rate of $8,666 a year for obese women, and $4,772 a year for obese men, according to a George Washington Universitystudy that cited data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth in 2004. And other studies indicate obese women are even more likely to be discriminated against when it comes to pay, hiring and raises.
  3. Blondes get paid more: A 2010 study from the Queensland University of Technology studied 13,000 Caucasian women and found blondes earn greater than seven percent more than female employees with any other hair color. The study said the pay bump is equivalent to the boost an employee would generally see from one entire year of additional education.
  4. Workers who workout get paid more: According to a study in the Journal of Labor Research, workers who exercise regularly earn nine percent more on average than employees who don’t work out. The study from Cleveland State University claims people who exercise three or more times a week earn an average of $80 a week more than their slothful coworkers.
  5. Women who wear makeup make more: Not only do people judge beauty based on how much makeup a woman is wearing, make-up adorned women also rank higher in competence and trustworthiness, according to a study funded by Procter & Gamble,Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston University, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. A study in the American Economic Review said women who wear make-up can earn more than 30 percent more in pay than non makeup wearing workers.
  6. Handsome people are paid handsomely: A Yale University study from Daniel Hamermesh finds employers pay a beauty premium to attractive employees. The beautiful workers earn an average of roughly five percent more, while unattractive employees can miss out on up to almost nine percent, according to the study.
  7. If you’re too pretty, it’s a pity: Generally speaking, attractive people make out when it comes to salary and hiring. But what about the exceedingly attractive among us? If you’re an attractive man, don’t sweat it because you always enjoy an advantage, according to a 2010 study that appeared in the Journal of Social Psychology. However, women rated as very attractive face discrimination when applying to “masculine” jobs.

(Forbes – You Are Judged by Your Appearance)


5 thoughts on “Dress for the Part

  1. Ah, very interesting stats. As a blonde, I’ve never found that my pay is particularly higher than others (nor does it help that I’m a tad taller than average, work out regularly, wear makeup, and definitely am not obese!). Oh, well.

    I’m with you on this one, Katybeth. I don’t want my dentist to sport a tattoo or lip ring; nor do I want my doctor wearing lilac-colored hair! That said, “creative” fields (like advertising or web design) tend to attract more than their fair share of “free spirits,” so while I might judge outside appearances, it’s always to myself, of course!! And I have no intentions of following suit, ha!

    • It’s hard to know with the stats. Ha, I bet being blond you made more and had more fun!
      Creative fields have a lot more leeway.
      I stare. I figure the person takes it as a compliment.
      Oh how I love a clever pun.

    • OMG. How can I unsee that? What on earth. As my Mom would say – we use to pay to see that for a quarter at the carnival (sometimes my sweet Mom is a bit edgy.)

  2. I’m pretty old school about a lot of things. Well…..most things. One of the workers at the store, manager perhaps, where I get Nik’s food is full of information & a very nice person. She has a new lip ring. I got past her upper arm tattoos. The nose ring was something I wanted to not notice. Then the lip ring appeared. All I could think of was how much I salivate (sorry, TMI) when at the dentist with this, that & the other in my mouth & how that was not happening to her. Not a pretty picture. I will try hard to not stare at her mouth.

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